When the buzz about Foreign & Domestic was heating up about a year ago, I read an article about the Ned and Jodi Elliott, the chefs/owners. While most foodie types in town were most likely stoked about the culinary pedigrees of these two, something else caught my attention. Ned grew up with a vegetable garden, and was an avid gardener. Given my particular proclivities in that direction, I was excited to eat at this restaurant, and meet this gardening chef. (I know there are restaurants with gardens, but I think few are tended by the chefs.)
So, the first time I ate at Foreign & Domestic, it was no surprise that the vegetables that accompanied my main course, were amazing. Everything I had was amazing, but the vegetables were stunning. After another visit or two, I talked to Ned and he told me he was going to put in a big garden at his house. Since he had not gardened in Texas, he had some specific questions about growing seasons here, etc., and I was happy to share what little I know.
So, knowing that the garden was in place, and planted, on my most recent visit to the restaurant, I asked if I could come see it and take pictures, and Ned graciously obliged without hesitation.
And now the part that makes me wish I were a better photographer:
The garden is huge:
Just as the food at Foreign & Domestic is presented in a thoughtful fashion, Ned’s garden is laid out in a well thought out manner as well. It is no coincidence certain things are such obvious edible pairings. The Tomatoes are planted with a companion of Basil, yet, not because they taste good together, but because they grow well together.
The beans and cucumbers are given trellises to climb. The rows of the garden are evenly placed with a timber laid between for walking through, and the irrigation system is neat and tidy.
There are interesting things you might find on your plate at the restaurant, like Lambs Quarters and Collards.
The okra and eggplant are in full flowering mode and should be setting fruit any moment:
A variety of melons planted from seed promises to provide a sweet bounty.
I think you can tell a little (maybe lots) about a person by seeing his/her garden. I can tell from this one, that Ned Elliott cares about good food, and I’m not at all surprised. I’m looking forward to celebrating Foreign & Domestic’s one year anniversary on June 25th, with a pig roast at the restaurant.
Foreign & Domestic, 306 E. 53rd, Austin http://www.fndaustin.com