Farm-to-table dining is ubiquitous nowadays, but it’s virtually unheard of for a farm to actually own a restaurant. Aomboon Deasy, the second-generation co-owner of K&J Orchards, has done just that with Pomet. On cue, the menu features superb seasonal produce grown by K&J Orchards in Winters and Yuba City. Executive chef Alan Hsu — an alum of Benu and upstate New York’s acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns — also showcases local food ecosystem friends, like the quails raised by Brent Wolfe in Vacaville.
Hsu’s memories of crispy salt-and-pepper treats at banquets and food stalls in Oakland’s Chinatown inspired the recipe for his Wolfe Ranch quail dish. The bird is lightly fried in a potato starch batter, then tossed in a salt-and-pepper seasoning with five-spice powder, and simply plated with pickled daikon, jalapeños and basil leaves. It’s well worth an East Bay jaunt to try this excellent state bird dish — and to raise a glass to the ranches and farms that have been so instrumental in California’s modern culinary movement.
Wine and beer pairings: Pomet’s general manager, Kim Kitabata, recommends a J. Lassalle Cachet d’Or Champagne to complement the fried preparation and subtle spices of the quail and pickles. For a red wine pairing, consider a bright, medium-bodied bottle like the Meyer Family Cellars’ syrah from Mendocino County’s Yorkville Highlands. For a non-wine partner, Kitabata suggests the Duchesse de Bourgogne Flemish red ale.