On the menu: farm-direct produce
Almost every day last summer, Mark Estee, the executive chef and owner of Moody’s, rode his pink bicycle, equipped with a basket and a bell, to Lisa’s Central Market to pick up produce for the day’s specials.
Estee is one of many chefs – from Spindle Shanks, Se Llama and River Grill, to name a few – who purchase produce from the market.
“I love to go down to Lisa’s,” he said. “I walk in and look around, and it gives me inspiration for the specials I’m going to create for the menu.”
Using produce from Lisa’s Central Market, Estee creates two organic vegetarian courses each night at Moody’s. Because the market sources out to farmers, he said, he knows he will be guaranteed top-notch fruits and vegetables.
“There’s a lot of bad stuff out there,” he said. “Some labels will say their food is organic when it’s really not, but they check all that stuff out.”
According to Estee, Moody’s is “a real big seasonal restaurant” that boasts Northern California cuisine that is fresh and local, which can be difficult at times because their aren’t many indigenous ingredients in the area, except pine nuts.
“Sometimes the stuff at Lisa’s is in season somewhere else, but not in California,” he said. “We’re really into having seasonal food at the restaurant. Like last night we did organic chili relle-os.”
Estee has also made purple mashed potatoes and a kiwi pastry, among other courses, from produce at the market.
Now that it’s wintertime, Estee keeps his bike stored away and drives to Lisa’s Central Market for his inspiration and to pick up produce for the day’s specials.
“What most people don’t realize,” said Tony MacAllister, the marketing coordinator at Lisa’s Central Market, “is that what they eat at Moody’s is from Lisa’s and they could be making those same dishes at home for a lot less money.”