Best Place to Meet the Farmer - 2008
Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
Ever heard the phrase "Think Globally, Act Locally"? Turns out it applies to eating, too. Somebody even coined a word for people who consume foods that were produced close to home — say, within a 50- or 100-mile radius: locavores. The motivations behind it run the gamut from environmental friendliness (less fuel used to transport the food) to culinary superiority (as in, this stuff tastes better and is more healthful because it's fresher and in season). Either way, who are we to argue? After all, "locavore" was the New Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2007. It also happens to be the name of the fantastic dinner series started up by chef James Porter of Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar. Focusing on using only Arizona ingredients, Porter cooks up multi-course feasts paired with Arizona wines. As a special perk, guests get to actually mingle with the local farmers, ranchers, and producers whom Porter supports. Even better, extra-motivated types can visit a local farm a few days before the event to help pick out the veggies. Needless to say, these Locavore dinners have become quite popular with the sustainability-conscious gourmet crowd, which tells us there must be something to that whole notion of "local tastes better."