When a restaurant’s whole point of existence is diving into California’s best organic-biodynamic farms and farmers markets, you have to constantly remind yourself to not fall in love with any single menu item, as the next time you visit, it will be a distant memory. While this can be an exercise in spontaneity, the chef and bartender vision remain constants: keep it fresh, keep it vibrant, and do it al fresco.
Such is the case with Momma Wants Another Drink, which doesn’t necessarily pique my interest until I read the blend of native California ingredients: Jardesca Red Aperativa (blend of three Sonoma wines plus herbs), L.A.’s Greenbar Distillery Grand Poppy Amaro, and a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice. I’m a huge fan of three-ingredient cocktails that have a huge depth of flavor, and Momma keeps on giving with so much packed into each ingredient. My only complaint is the drink name, but looking around at Farmhouse’s clientele, I get it.
Moving on to mains, I thought a beer might pair well with the curry-crusted Pacific swordfish, and I can’t believe my order actually worked. “I’ll take your freshest IPA, although please not a double,” and what came back was a surprise; ultra-fresh Modern Times City of the Sun IPA, the brewery’s winter IPA seasonal served right at its cusp of release. At 7.6 percent, the sticky-hopped beer is a cloudy endeavor with some ripe tangerine notes and a minimalist malt approach. What I thought would balance out the shell-like curry crust actually worked incredibly well with the sides. Roast spaghetti squash, broccolini, and cipollini onions, roast maple bourbon butternut squash, and a dollop of spicy harissa married well with the beer.
With a name like Farmhouse, one should expect the cheese stable to be ripe with wheels of deliciousness, and I must say, the selection alone is worthy of a trip. If you’re feeling adventurous, definitely get a taste of Brie a la Truffe which has been layered with fresh truffle pieces from Maison de la Truffe. The gooey cheese comes from the creamery in a hefty five-kilogram wheel that has been halved at its equator and is sold only when it reaches its perfect ripeness. What hooked me is the intense funk akin to putting a 9-volt battery on your tongue, and the rest of the bite finishes smooth and creamy with a bit of truffle crunch. What a fun way to end the evening!
There aren’t too many places in Orange County that have a well-crafted all-around beer, wine, and cocktail program, but executive chef and owner Richard Mead and the Farmhouse gang manage to not only keep things hyper-local, but to uncover the secret of what makes California so special: the food. Catch their new fall menu now, before it disappears forever! Reservations recommended.
Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens is at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar // farmhouserg.com