Stonehill Tavern’s Backyard Vegetable Love

Inspiration doesn’t take chef Raj Dixit too far afield from the Michael Mina restaurant group’s only O.C. property

Chef Raj Dixit of Stonehill Tavern, the Michael Mina restaurant at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, is a serious meat cook. But like all the best chefs, he’s equally or more inspired by vegetables.

Dixit’s taking his vegetable love to a more serious level this spring, with even bigger plans as summer crops burgeon. He’s calling it his Backyard Program—all the produce used will be from within a 15- or 20-mile radius from the resort. San Clemente’s VR Green Farms is a main supplier, of vegetables owner Nic Romano grows himself as well as products from other Southern California farms.

The first Backyard Program dish debuts Thursday, May 1: a salad with Easter egg radishes, Soledad goat cheese, and red quinoa ($15). The radishes are from Happy Heirloom Farm in Vista, and aren’t just multi-colored—they’re biodynamic. I’ve been wondering when vegetables grown using this ultra-sustainable, holistic method would appear locally. No surprise that chef Dixit is on the vegetable cutting edge.



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