American Products + No Debate for Top Chefs + VA + DC + Little Rock

America the Beautiful

It’s a big American moment, with the glory of Olympic gold still upon us, and the election season promising a bright future for all.  For the chefs across the country that simoneink represents, some of the greatest delicacies are not fancy imports, but America’s finest: made or harvested or simply mighty rare, but all right here in the good old U.S. of A.

David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery goes straight to the head of the American History class for his discovery of the horse-powered Grist Mill at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, which supplies him exclusively with meal ground from locally sourced Virginia corn for his Classic Cornbread and Cornmeal Sable Cookies.

At Little Rock’s Capital Bar & Grill, patrons can indulge in the scarcest and most revered Kentucky Bourbon on the market – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve. Whether tasting the limited 23 Year Reserve in a Bourbon Flight, or sipping the reigning World Spirit Champion’s 20 Year Van Winkle Reserve on the rocks or “neat,” guests may relish in the elusive rarity of this historic pre-prohibition era label.

Charlottesville’s Clifton Inn relies heavily on its own kitchen garden, but, impressive as it is, that fertile plot doesn’t extend to a sorghum crop.  Chef Tucker Yoder gets his supply of this grain, through a unique back-country arrangement: a friend lends his horse to the farmer to help with the milling.  A taste of Yoder’s Sorghum Poached Apples with Smoked Wheatberries, Rosemary, and Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream proves that everyone’s effort is well worth it.

At District Commons, the ham on the daily Pig Board comes from La Quercia. While it may not sound American, the artisanal ham actually comes from a small family-owned Iowa farm that makes its award-winning prosciutto pancetta, guanciale, spiced prosciutto, speck, and spicy
coppa from humanely raised heritage breed meat.  It all tastes even better alongside chef Jeff Tunks’ Biscuits with Vermont Creamery Butter and House-Pickled Cherries.

Penn Cove Shellfish Farm, actually the oldest commercial mussel farm in the U.S., cultivates what Robert Wiedmaier considers to be the world’s most succulent mussels. Harvested to order upon request and delivered three times per week exclusively to Wiedmaier’s restaurants, his establishments have become the first and only in Washington, DC to serve these home-grown mussels. Straight from the cove to any one of Wiedmaier’s kitchens, these fresh morsels are prepared in a variety of styles ranging from traditional to the exotic, with flavors found in dishes like Spicy Red Thai Curry with Peanuts, Basil & Cilantro.

The best chefs and proprietors seek out, value, and serve American goods:  America’s finest, America’s favorites, America’s heritage.