Last week, we had the pleasure to participate in a 50-mile radius dinner at the Cass House in Cayucos. This sort of dinner, where all the components served are sourced locally, and most are organic, is particularly gratifying to be able to support. When the food is great, the setting beautiful, and the people terrific, so much the better.
The Cass House Inn & Restaurant is a historic building on the main street in the tiny seaside town on Cayucos. Formerly the mansion of ship captain and Cayucos first citizen James Cass, it has been a bed & breakfast for the past few decades. Last year, new owners Gary and Nancy Bagnall began a complete restoration of the house, and it reopened early this year to much excitement in the local community.
The Bagnalls hired Chef Jensen Lorenzen and General Manager Grace Wingett to run the restaurant. Formerly the proprietors of Papillon in Los Osos, Wingett and Lorenzen came in with a growing reputation in the local foodie community. At Cass House, their menu focuses on local and organic foods, and the restaurant has been getting great reviews.
For the 50-mile dinner, all the ingredients (produce, cheese, fruit, herbs, bread, meat and wine) were sourced from farmers within a 50-mile radius. One of the pleasures of the dinner was getting listen to them talk about the struggles of finding all the components. Our protein was braised goat!
We were proud to support the mission of eating locally by featuring four Tablas Creek wines to pair with the four-course meal: our 2006 Vermentino, 2006 Bergeron, 2005 Mourvedre and as a special treat, the 2005 Vin de Paille "Quintessence". The setting (above) in their garden was gorgeous, and the meal full of good cheer and good company. We sat next to Bill & Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm, which is always a pleasure.
The awareness that all food has a place, and that the place has an impact on how that food tastes, has been known for decades with wine as terroir. If we can have more meals where we support local farmers and reduce the environmental impact of transporting food far from where it was grown while exploring food's sense of place, sign me up.
As for the Cass House, we'll be back. Soon.