Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Storm Watch

Storm warning on the East Coast

As we all arrive back on the East Coast tropical storms were moving across the Atlantic toward North America. Where will they make land fall? On our table? Nervously we moved toward our next dinner appointment, Allandale Farm in Boston, MA. Leah arrived from Canada, Jim and Annette from California, Ben and Aubrey from New York City and Adam Horbinski our new Wisconsin road recruit arrived from Madison. All eyes on the weather and... Soon the crowded Atlantic was churning wtih four tropical storms. One of these storms "Hanna" decides to make a move toward the Northeast. Our two upcoming dinner events right in the path! Plan B -Tenting, barns… Greenhouses would need to be checked out just in case. Just as alternate plans were investigated it becomes clear that the storm would hit with full force on Saturday, sparing our Friday Boston dinner and our Sunday Hamptons dinner. Oustanding luck once again.

Allandale Farm, Boston, MA

Thick clouds gather as we arrived at Boston’s last farm within the city limits. Farmer John Lee graciously shows us around the sprawling grounds as we debate table sites. Warm winds are blowing as we set the table on a nice green patch. Chef Mary Dumont of Harvest soon shows up with kitchen crew in tow. Jim and Mary go way back. Ten years ago Mary worked as a waitress at Gabriella CafĂ© in Santa Cruz, CA. Chef Jim and waitress Mary - who new Mary would soon quit the front of the house forever and go on to become one of America's most honored chefs. The storm held off as guests toured the varied crops.

Farmer Jim, in dress shirt and tie, showed off his farmer chops to guests and also sported an awesome tattoo of a beet root on his forearm. Mary prepared some of her favorite dishes which included a second course salad titled "Jim's Salad": A favorite Mary remembered from her days at Gabriella Cafe.

A Stormy Crossing

Next day: Storm Day. We drive south to New London, CT to catch the late afternoon ferry to the North Fork of Long Island. After an "All Aboard!" we climb the deck to watch the storm. "Exciting!" says Jim.

Across the North Fork as wind and rain pushed truck and trailer, rolling slowly along under flash flood and tropical storm warning.

In the evening we arrive at Almoncello restaurant in East Hampton to enjoy a great dinner and meet our guest chef Jason. The storm raged on as occasional power outages caused restaurant guests to ooo and ahhh… We skip the late night karaoke, deciding to rest up for our big Hamptons dinner.

A clear day

Many guests had emailed us in the previous days wondering if our Long Island farm dinner would be a washout. With so many tropical storms crossing the Atlantic "The Media" was pushing the panic button. Jim the weather nut reassured everyone that there was no need for alarm… Sure enough Sunday dawned clear and beautiful as we made our way to EECO Farm in East Hampton.

Sand and Museum

After our successful Hamptons dinner we made plans for arrival in New York City late in the day. Before leaving Long Island we made a visit to the Parrish Art Museum to see Jim's art on display. The crew checked out all the sand themed work: Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Ana Mendieta.... Jim Denevan and others.

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