Took a group of journalists on a tour today of Fairplex’s own urban farm, which culminated in a specially prepared lunch by Chef David Teig at McKinley’s Grille. Let me tell you, I am still savoring the mellifluous strands of our five-course feast, each one made with organically grown fruits, vegetables and herbs picked fresh this mornig from the urban farm. Oro blanco grapefruit with Moroccan mint and halibut with kumquat confit and oil – oh my stars! Why don’t my garden veggies taste like this? Oh, right. I’m cooking ’em.
Fairplex’s urban farm is about a year old. If you’ attended the L.A. County Fair, you probably saw it next to FairView Farms. Designed by horticulturist Don DeLano, five plots grow everything from chocolate mint to strawberries to cabbage to olives. Teig prepares his seasonal menus for McKinley’s Grille based on the urban farm’s harvest. Things like radishes involve staggered planting for use throughout a few seasons. Strawberries are grown in a vertical patch – on wooden poles three-containers high. Keeps the pests and rascals like rabbits and raccoons away. Teig salt cures the Mission olives growing from three trees. It’s all really cool.
Our menu this afternoon also included greens, mixed radishes, miso vinaigrette; stuffed jidori chicken with sautéed leaks; and pomegranate and berry cheesecake. While this was a special menu, other Teig creations are all part of McKinley’s Grille’s regular menu. If you have an organization or school that is interested in touring our urban farm, contact Mark Drury at McKinley’s at (909) 868-5916.