Having dinner at Storefront Company last week, we had just enjoyed a multi-course dinner of some of the tastiest and inventive food we'd had in a long time.
At the conclusion of the meal, Chef Bryan Moscatello set before us a buttermilk cream with apples…and an oak leaf.
I'd ever eaten an oak leaf before, nor a leaf from an elm, ash or any one of a number of other local trees, though after the amazingly enlightening foraging adventure in downtown Oak Park last spring with Nancy Klehm, I'm more convinced than ever that there's a lot of chow underfoot, if only we would stoop to retrieve it.
Though extraordinarily delicate and beautiful, the oak leaf did not have much flavor, though it looked cool, and I found it intriguing that one could even eat such a thing –though eating what is all around us is, there's no doubt, trending.
Noma in Copenhagen, currently lauded as "the best restaurant in the world," is built upon "new Nordic cuisine, which is all about foraging. The chef there, René Redzepi, goes into the countryside to find ingredients like mushrooms, unusual grasses, leaves and flowers to use on his menu.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you should stir fry the leaves that are falling in your front yard right now…but it no longer seems such a strange thought.
At least to me.
1941 W. North