On Wednesday, September 12, the Gracie’s team moved from Providence to Portsmouth for a spectacular evening with the Outstanding in the Field tour. This year’s dinner was held at Aquidneck Farms on what could only be described as a picture-perfect setting with the table for 150 guests extending down to the western bank of the Sakonnet River. Gracie’s Executive Chef Matthew Varga’s menu managed to far surpass the wonders of the location in it’s perfection, and Pastry Chef Melissa Denmark’s fruit tart may have been one of the best desserts I’ve had all year (I was invited to sit for dinner as a guest of Gracie’s).
Farms represented by Varga’s menu included Blackbird Farm, Pat’s Pastured, Matunuck Oysters, Schartner Farms, Saltwater Farms, Aquidneck Farms and Shy Brothers Farm. The menu was paired with Napa Valley wines from Jonathan Edwards Winery, based in North Stonington, Connecticut, and included the debut of Gracie’s two private label wines, one based around Jonathan Edwards Connecticut Cabernet Franc and the other on Connecticut Pinot Gris.
Here are twenty-eight select photos from the evening. You can also view photos from the 2010 and 2011 Outstanding in the Field dinners. For the full set of 181 photos from this year’s event, please see this Eat Drink RI Facebook album.