Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arcadia Farms

I’m going to do something I’ve never done on this website. I’m going to give a restaurant review. I’m talking about Arcadia Farms today because Don and I happened to have lunch at their Phoenix Art Museum location while we were there to see the Museum’s exhibition on Cézanne and American Modernism that runs from July 1 - September 26, 2010.

Arcadia Farms has been a presence in the Metropolitan Phoenix Valley for over twenty years. There are currently three locations. Besides the one at the Art Museum there is a lovely location in Scottsdale (right across the street from my press, handily enough), and one at the Phoenix Center for the Performing Arts, which I have yet to try.

You can almost tell from their locations the kind of artful cuisine the cafes offer. I say cafes rather than restaurants, since only breakfast and lunch are offered, but, oh, what breakfasts and lunches.

Their website says that Arcadia Farms has always used local organically grown, pesticide-free, hormone-free and trans fat-free ingredients in all recipes. As a member of Chefs' Collaborative, Arcadia Farms promotes sustainable cuisine by supporting local farmers and inspiring the public to make healthy food choices.

It’s that organic, locally grown part that bowled me over. Don and I shared half a tomato, basil, mozzarella sandwich made with locally grown heirloom tomatoes, organic basil and fresh mozzarella on focaccia bread, and half an open-faced Croque Provençal sandwich with oven cured tomatoes, roasted asparagus and melted cheese with basil pesto. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet every ingredient was fresh and full of flavor. The greens in the side salad were so flavorful that they hardly needed dressing.

The cafe was offering some special dishes with a French twist in honor of the Cézanne exhibition, like a French Dip sandwich with thinly sliced beef tenderloin on a crusty roll. Or a good old Croque Monsieur -rosemary ham, béchamel and gruyere cheese with roasted tomato-apricot chutney.

Sounds like a good reason to make the trek to downtown Phoenix again.

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