I didn’t quite know what to expect when I was invited out to the Edwards Ranch Estates for the meal of the year, the decade, maybe even the century and I don’t say that lightly. You need to keep reading to fully understand why I feel that way. I had heard stories of the ranch, the farm to table concept, and of course the restaurant in Anaheim. During the course of this blog and the several food adventures I’ve been on, I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed anything like this which is why I’ve dubbed this the my most memorable meal of all eternity.
Set high in the Orange Acres, the Edwards Ranch Estates is home to a bountiful garden. While sipping on fine wines and enjoying the company of fellow food bloggers, we leisurely stepped out for a tour as master sommelier, Michael Jordan, guided us through the fresh produce that would soon be on our plates. As we walked the gardens, the farm to table concept began to come to life. How often do you have a meal like this? Set against the beautiful back drop of the garden, we took our seats and let Executive Chef Michael Rossi begin our 15 course meal.
After a tour of the estate and sampling various produce direct off the vine, we had built up quite an appetite and took our seats at the table. The meal of a lifetime began with a delicious assortment of bread from OC Baking Company and a charcuterie plate of wonderful cuts of meat, pickled vegetables, and grain mustard. It whet our appetites for the courses yet to be served.
Here’s a Suki fun fact: peaches are my favorite fruit. My cousin has a peach farm up in Yuba City and I’m lucky enough to have that connection and fresh peaches whenever they’re in season. I was excited to see grilled peaches on the menu. These peaches were given the royal treatment with a mix of La Quercia Speck, Di Stefano Burrata, wild arugula, and lemon verbena honey. I licking my plate clean. Don’t judge me. I’m a sucker for peaches and burrata.
Ever had a soup so good you wanted to lick your bowl? Didn’t I tell you I was having the meal of a lifetime? I was thrown for a bit of a loop with the Chilled Cucumber Soup. The Hot Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon is the star. The smoky flavor combined with the coolness of the cucumber is a wonderful delight on your palate. The salmon is flaky and I let it sit in a bath of cucumber broth as I savored each bite. Set against the farm backdrop, this truly is a dish that sings.
During our farm tour, I was impressed by the large varieties of heirloom tomatoes that were growing on the farm. After a refreshing soup, we cleansed our palates with two salads – an heirloom tomato and farm beets. The heirloom tomato was simple in presentation with Napa Valley Olive Oil and sea salt but big on flavors and textures. The farm beets were served with Lola Rosa, watercress, red flame grapes, marcona almonds, manchego cheese, and farm valencia oranges. The beets were juicy and we were all battling for seconds.
After five courses of fairly light meals, we were ready to dive into the succulent, more hearty part of the meal. Our table was graced with Tempura Squash Blossom filled with Muscovy Duck Confit and Country Fried Petaluma Quail. The crispy tempura squash blossoms gave way nicely to the fatty duck that lay inside. The texture has a nice finish and is paired beautifully with a mix of garbanzo beans, zucchini, eggplant, and spring onions. Our table savored the crispy fried quail cooked perfectly and served with a side of fingerling potatoes.
Starting to feel full, it was time to cut back and enjoy another light meal. This simple and elegant dish was one of my favorites. The Asparagus Cavatelli is Home Made Pork Sausage, Calabrian Chile, Yellow Squash, and Ricotta Salata. This unassuming dish is full of bold flavors and the pork sausage gave off just enough heat to help us burn a few calories.
Chef read my mind when he brought out these Compressed Farm Melons with Valencia Oranges. I was bracing myself with sips of water and enjoyed this light refreshing palate cleanser. This simple dish took me back home to a time where my Mother would cut up fresh fruits for a nice Summer salad or a dessert with Cool Whip.
This is the part of the meal where I wish I had a second stomach stashed somewhere in my purse that I could just plugin to continue eating but alas life only gave me one and I was sad to stare down at this lovely Certified Sustainable Chilean Sea Bass and only take a few bites. This delicate sea bass is served on a bed of Maine lobster risotto, farm english peas, and farm spinach.
See? This is why I need that second stomach. I was told to save some room for this – a cowboy ribeye. While waiting for this to be prepared, I wandered out onto the farm to watch as it was being grilled, rested, sliced, and served up. My mouth was watering by the time it reached our table. This ribeye was served up with three sauces: Horseradish Cream, Bordelaise, and Oregano Chimichurri. I enjoyed taking a few juicy bites with each sauce.
The ribeye had a few companions – The Farm Panzanella (Jalapeno Cornbread, Picholine Olives, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Corn, Purple Basil), Peas and Carrots (Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Lincoln Peas, Purple Dragon Carrots, Sweet Treat Carrots, and a swiss chard. These hearty salads were a perfect accompaniment to the cowboy ribeye.
The wonderful meal ended with two different desserts – Handcrafted Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches (caramel popcorn, mint chip, and strawberry swirl) and Black Mission Figs (California almond cake and Drake Family Farms goat cheese). Not a fan of any of these, I was a little skeptical but we’re talking about The Ranch here and of course, they turned my fears into pure joy and delight. Who knew?
Now are you convinced that I had the meal of a lifetime? I want to thank Andrew Edwards, Executive Chef Michael Rossi, and master sommelier Michael Jordan for an epic meal.