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Food Find: Outstanding in the Field by Sugar & Olives

Many of my fondest memories over the past decade revolve around food.  I am fortunate to have had the privilege of dining at award winning restaurants such as Masa, The French Laundry and Blue Hill at Stone Barns but more times than not I find myself preferring the smaller, local restaurant and food experiences versus the ‘super special occasion’ venues.

outstanding in the field

Last year’s Outstanding in the Field hosted at The Hickories

Case in point:  Last year I got a last minute invite to accompany my serious foodie friends to one of the coolest culinary experiences, Outstanding in the Field.  Every year, “Outstanding in the Field” travels across the country (from CA to the east coast and then back to CA) and hosts ‘pop up dinners’ in the most beautiful and picturesque locations such as vineyards, beaches, rooftops, mountains and farms.

This September 8th, the roving culinary caravan stops at The Hickories in Ridgefield CT, a simply beautiful farm run by Dina Brewster, who could not be a more gracious hostess. The guest chef will be Jennifer Balin from Sugar & Olives in Norwalk, along with her crew, who she refers to as lovely and very loyal. Sugar & Olives is known for sourcing the finest local food and products, and serving them in a creative but simple way. The restaurant’s focus is to cultivate the relationship between families and farms and to educate the end user (the consumer). Sugar & Olives also offers cooking classes to folks of all ages with the mission being: eat good food, know your farmer, love to cook. Her restaurant has earned three stars from the Green Restaurant Association, and has been named one of the greenest in the country.

Outstanding in the Field 2014

Outstanding in the Field 2014

Should you obtain tickets for this event, you will arrive at 3pm where a cocktail hour awaits you.  Loads of local-ish wines and beers and passed hors d’oeuvres are served.  After an hour or so of mingling, Dina takes the lucky group on an educational walking tour of the farm (be careful not to touch the electric fences on the property!) before you sit down to a multi-course, family style dinner paired with more wines.  Since the entire event is outdoors, the party is over when the sun goes down.

oitf candle

Tickets for this event are hard to come by (It is my understanding that last year they were sold out in a few hours), so mark your calendar for March 20 at 2pm ET (when tickets first go on sale).  There is a second dinner at The Hickories on September 9 where the guest chefs will be Holly Michaud & Scott Ostrander, Mama’s Boy in Norwalk. (I personally haven’t dined at Mama’s Boy but I’ve heard wonderful things and the ‘southern’ restaurant menu looks amazing.)

For tickets and more information visit Outstanding in the Field.

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