Urban Homestead by Pasadena creates a true farm-to-table dining room


The term “farm-to-table” jumped the shark some time ago. Yet while most of us probably don’t want to know the name of the chicken we eat, at the Portlandia‘s “Is it local?” Skit, chef and restaurateur Kristina Evans thinks “you have to know who grows your food.”

So Evans teamed up his Montrose restaurant, Rest Farmhouse Inspired, with Pasadena’s small family farm, Urban Homestead, to create a true farm-to-table dish. If you haven’t heard of the Urban Homestead, it’s true to its description: “1/10 acre town farming”.

In 1985 Jules Dervaes, a man with a passion for uncorrupted food and living off the land, planted a vegetable garden outside his 1918 Pasadena home on an ordinary suburban street. Over the years the garden grew and the Dervaes family began selling their edible flowers and herbs, raising chickens and ducks for eggs, installing solar panels, starting a farm box program. CSA and much more. The farm became “indirectly self-sufficient”, providing the Dervaes family with everything they needed, either by cultivating it themselves or by selling what they had grown. Dervaes passed away suddenly in 2016, but his son Justin and daughters Anais and Jordanne carry on his legacy by continuing the property.

The Urban Homestead is not open to regular public tours, but you can sample the fruits (and veggies) of its work at the Rest Farmhouse Inspired or at the summer farm dinners prepared by Evans and the Dervaes family.

Rest Inspired by the farm; Credit: Jessica Hamlin

Rest Farmhouse Inspired is an adorable seasonal cafe and cafe that’s perfectly at home in Montrose Old Town. It started two years ago mainly for Evans to give cooking classes, but she says the community wanted more, so she and co-owner Theresa Rosette became accidental restaurateurs. In order to know who is cooking your food and what’s in your food, Rest Farmhouse Inspired serves delicious dishes with produce from the Urban Homestead and La Cañada Farmer’s Market, as well as salads, sandwiches and cheese. bone broth made from local pasture-raised organic meat, maple espresso bacon, sourdough toast or homemade gluten-free bread and mouth-watering gluten-free and sometimes vegan and / or paleo sweets. Urban Homestead’s Anais Dervaes makes the restaurant’s towering quiches and succulent soups, which always include a vegan option (the $ 7 creamy carrot soup does the trick, even on a summer day).

The menu is French-inspired peasant cuisine that is “authentic and minimally processed,” focusing on what grows locally, Evans says.

In this gluten-free era, the restaurant is committed to not using standard wheat flour in the kitchen; he serves fermented sourdough bread from another baker but is careful to avoid cross-contamination. Its gluten-free bread is dense but tasty, made with a starter yeast from homemade fermented figs.

If paleo or gluten-free desserts make you roll your eyes, know that any rolling your eyes here will likely be for fun after trying one of the homemade treats. A gooey, buttery, paleo, vegan berry crumble bar ($ 5.25) is filled with thick berry jam sweetened with maple syrup and topped with coconut crumble. It tastes like a berry cobbler married to a pecan pie and is to die for not just for a paleo dessert, but for any dessert. The Donut Cake, a Bundt cake covered in chocolate ganache that looks like a giant donut, is apparently so good that Evans tells gluten-free skeptics to try it and if they don’t like it, it’s free. . “I’ve never had a single person report it to me,” she says.

The extensive beverage menu includes organic Papua New Guinea coffee from Montrose-based Food Alchemy and trendy ingredients like grass-fed butter, MCT oil and collagen protein, as well as turmeric, matcha and chai lattes made from scratch (no syrups), homemade sodas and mocktails with tea.

Rest offers a on-the-go fridge and freezer with soups, broths, homemade bacon and cheddar spread, kombucha and Coconut Cult, this coconut yogurt for $ 20 and more in every fridge. wellness blogger. Locally made items like Urban Homestead Jam and Acorn Pancake Mix are for sale.

After the death of Patriarch Dervaes, his children reduced part of the farm activity and suspended dinners on the farm. Now they are back and joined by Rest Farmhouse Inspired.

Urban Homestead Dinner;  Credit: Jessica Hamlin

Urban Homestead Dinner; Credit: Jessica Hamlin

If you need a summer vacation, it turns out you can feel quite far from it all in a Pasadena backyard. The evening begins with appetizers and a drink. On the night of our visit, Evans whipped up bread topped with Gruyere and greens and we sipped on a refreshing cucumber, lemon and basil drink prepared by Jordanne Dervaes.

The family then gave us a tour of the farm, starting with the front yard, which their father always wanted “beautiful all year round”. We smelled of freshly picked herbs and admired a vibrant purple goose’s foot that we would later see in our dinner salad. Everything is grown organically, says Justin, but the family didn’t get organic certification – it’s a lot of work and cost for their small farm. The backyard was teeming with planter shoots and along the walls. We saw large squash, blossoming blackberries, a large avocado and greens galore, despite the recent heat wave that burned some plants.

About 20 of us sat down at a long, family-style table for dinner and set up our own place setting. The evening is BYOB and BYO plate and utensils. Our hosts may not want to do extra dishes, but Evans says the idea came from a book she liked, A pig in Provence, in which a community comes together for an annual festival and everyone contributes and brings their own picnic gear. If you don’t bring your own they will be provided to you, but this meal is worth more than a paper plate and plastic utensils.

Lemon cucumber basil punch;  Credit: Jessica Hamlin

Lemon cucumber basil punch; Credit: Jessica Hamlin

The rosemary butter took the bread up several notches until the family meal was revealed. The spread included braised green beans with garlic and tomatoes; tomato basil pasta salad; green salad with arugula, mustard leaves and purple chestnuts picked at the farm three hours earlier; roasted farm vegetables and local organic pasture chicken; and an exceptional vegetarian option of roasted eggplant stacked with tomato and dream house cashew cheese. Fortunately, there was enough for us omnivores to take part in both entrees.

Much like Rest’s berry crumble bar, the hot peach and blackberry cobbler served here for dessert was perfect. A side of fluffy homemade whipped cream was ready for the garnish.

Other farm dinners will take place on July 26, August 9 and August 23, for $ 125 per person (if reserved seven days in advance; $ 135 less than that). Menus vary depending on what is available on the farm and elsewhere. Reservations must be made in advance online at restfarmhouseinspired.com.

Rest Farmhouse Inspired, 2420 Honolulu Ave., Montrose; (818) 369-7040. Open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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