MICHAEL’S MARKET MEET-UP
WHERE FRIENDS, FOOD & FLAVOR MEET IN SANTA MONICA
Once a month, restaurateur Michael McCarty, owner of Michael’s in Santa Monica, a neighborhood institution since 1979, invites guests to experience the famed Santa Monica Farmers Market, the best way possible, his way. The next outing is set for Wednesday, May 16. This is a not-to-be-missed event.
McCarty is considered by many as the man responsible for elevating California cuisine. Indeed, he is hailed as a pioneer of California fine dining, and is known for his personal connections to local growers of the best seasonal ingredients at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. So tagging along with McCarty, and his newly appointed Executive Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto, also known for his knack for finding the best ingredients at the market, is a real treat.
Meeting at Michael’s at 8:30 a.m., guests are treated to freshly made cinnamon rolls and cappuccinos. Once everybody is awake and energized, it’s time for the two-block walk to the farmers market with the gregarious McCarty tour guide pointing out the produce of the season, while sharing tips for navigating the market and selecting the best ingredients. Along the way, McCarty points out his favorite farmers, pays homage to ingredients of the season, and demonstrates how he picks just the right fruits and vegetables.
Walking alongside McCarty, you feel like you’re in the presence of a rock star, as practically every farmer, along with other chefs, make sure to greet him, shake his hand, and welcome his tour’s guests. Farmers and growers offer samples to taste as McCarty explains what he likes, and how he uses them in the tasty dishes he serves at Michael’s.
And this isn’t just a leisurely three-hour stroll, as McCarty and Kuramoto are actually buying the week’s produce for the restaurant. These will be ingredients to be used in the restaurant’s food, desserts, and in some case, hand crafted cocktails.
After the tour, guests walk back to Michael’s where they are treated to dishes specially crafted by Chef Kuramoto featuring some of the special ingredients they just saw purchased. Each dish is paired with a distinct wine. Guests also receive a copy of McCarty’s book, Welcome to Michael’s: Great Food, Great People, Great Party!
This is a foodie must. Walking through the market with McCarty is a true treat and reason enough for the outing, but the tasty meal and wine tasting that follows really makes this an event not to miss. During our Market Meet-up, we were treated to a meal that included, fresh baked bread, Fries fried in duck fat with aioli, alongside a tasty Potato Dip ala vichyssoise, and a savory Sweet Potato Soup with bacon and caramelized bananas, which was absolutely fantastic. These were paired with a White burgundy and a sweet dessert wine.
The next course featured Rolled Ravioli with potato and Serrano ham. Light and tasty, every bite was a pleasure. Once the suggested wines were done, McCarty brought out a bottle of his own Malibu Vineyard’s Pinot Noir for guests to try. It’s a shame that 11:30 a.m. it’s back to reality. You’re better off playing hooky and just making a relaxing day out of it.
Michael’s Restaurant is located at 1147 Third Street in Santa Monica. Hours: Lunch: Monday thru Friday 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner Monday thru Saturday 6p.m. to 10 p.m. Call 310-451-0843.