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Restaurant Opening: Forage in Silver Lake calls all home gardeners

February 3, 2010 |  9:00 am

Forage1
Fresh gets fierce at Forage, the new restaurant that opened Friday in the old Town & Country space on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. The chef-owner is Jason Kim, who worked as a sous chef at Lucques. His partner in the endeavor is chef de cuisine Amanda Bacon, who also worked at Lucques as well as at Canelé. More recently, Bacon was the assistant food and wine editor for The Times' magazine.

Forage creates all its dishes using ingredients from local farmers markets, so the veggie-heavy menu changes often. Right now, diners can treat themselves to chicken pot pies with greens; braised Niman Ranch meatballs with grilled bread; cauliflower and curry soup; chimichurri-rubbed flank steak with tomatillo salsa; and jalapeño slaw, among other made-from-scratch dishes.

Central to the restaurant's concept is its "foraging program," through which Bacon and Kim, along with the help of a friend named Eugene Ahn, encourage diners to bring in fresh fruits and vegetables from their gardens. Then, Kim and Bacon will create a dish, pastry or drink around those ingredients.

"We ask people to come in and we'll do a tasting in the kitchen, then we can figure out how to use it that day -- maybe in an agua fresca -- or maybe we give it to our pastry chef and it becomes a pie tomorrow," says Bacon. "Or it's super fresh and we throw it in a salad right there. Then we work out a little barter and trade system with the forager."

Their first forager came in Tuesday. Her name was Sonya. "She brought 15 lemons, and for those she got some cookies and a slice of flatbread," says Bacon, who added that the lemons were made into lemonade and are currently on the menu as Sonya's Silver Lake Lemonade.  In that way, anyone who brings something in gets a little shout-out on the menu. 

Forage is also opening what Bacon calls "a bakery outpost on the Eastside." The restaurant gets daily deliveries of fresh bread from Breadbar and will sell it retail to bread-hungry Silver Lake-ians. "So people can finally stop driving west for bread," says Bacon.

3823 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 663-6885; www.foragela.com. Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Monday.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo credit: Joanne Kim / Forage

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