I got my first lesson in ramps from Chef Dan Weiland about a year ago. It started with the question "What the heck are ramps, Chef?" after seeing them all over the Forbidden Root menu last April. In case you, like I was, are living in the dark, ramps are a wild leek with a flavor resembling a balanced mix of garlic and onion. These super flavorful little plants are highly coveted during the short window of time they bloom every year (lovingly referred to as "ramps season" by chefs and foodies). If you see one featured in say, an omelet with pecorino cheese, you should order it. Trust me on this.
The conversation a year ago didn't end with a stomach full of a delicious ramps omelet, though. It went on to reveal something more important: Chef Dan's care and appreciation for sourcing seasonal, local produce for the menu at Forbidden Root. The ramps? Foraged by an old friend. The cheese? From a dairy farm in Wisconsin. The asparagus? Fresh from the farmer's market earlier that week. It was clear to me that the connection from farm to table was an important one for him:
"It takes the romance away from the craft when you've got a guy with a dolly coming in, 'Hey here’s your stuff, sign here'; you feel more connected to the food at the market when you can see the farmers and their tomatoes or squash and think 'ah, that's beautiful'. With ramps season or asparagus season, I know I’m gonna have these things incorporated in like five different dishes, because the season is fleeting. Let’s carpe diem this shit, ya know? Make the most of it."
One year later and Chef Dan has kept his promise: we've got fresh asparagus and ramps, along with fresh cheeses and meats from local purveyors all over the menu at Forbidden Root. For a special taste of spring, we hope you'll try our Spring Beer Pairing Menu on Wednesday May 9th. Yes, ramps might just be the star of the show here...as they should be. 'Tis the season after all.