SUSHISAMBA, a restaurant group with six venues around the world, just became the first “bricks and mortar” restaurant to appear in the virtual world of Second Life. The restaurant launched simulated versions of its two “real” Manhattan outposts, complete with avatars of actual bartenders, managers and chefs. The virtual restaurant plans to offer Sushi+Sake 101 classes – among other merch to be sold online – that visitors will pay for in Linden dollars, Second Life’s currency.
So, should we add a BeenThereAteThat category for virtual food? Hmmmmm…
The hottest trend in foodom is to get closer to the source – whether you grow your own, “adopt” a tree, follow the “locavore” creed of eating food produced within 100 miles of your home, or patronize restaurants that gather ingredients from their very own farm.
The latest Gourmet magazine gets on the bandwagon, including a feature story about one London chef – Oliver Rowe of Konstam – who sources his ingredients from within the 610 square miles covered by the city’s public transportation system!
Both in the magazine and online, you’ll find a detailed listing of U.S. restaurants serving “farm-to-table fare at its finest.” Included are pioneers, like Chez Panisse, Merriman’s and White Dog Café; hotels and inns, from urban to rural; restaurants only open part of the year (Hell’s Backbone Grill, anyone?); and even the new wave of bartenders who are concocting super-fresh drinks from scratch at spots like Cyrus and Eve (found in the “Farm Connections” section).
One San Francisco venue too new to make the issue is Spruce, where chef Mark Sullivan sources produce from the restaurant’s own 5-acre farm. His amazing Spearmint and Harvest Greens Ravioli, Citrus and Parmesan is the epitome of “farm to fork.” Sullivan is definitely a believer. “It feels so good to give diners food that was just picked that same day,” he told me, “They can definitely tell the difference.”