Posted on April 16, 2010 - by

PastaBAR: Farm to Table Freshness

By Guest Blogger: Molly Cerreta Smith
Originally posted on Foodies Like Us

I am such a pasta junkie that I jumped at the chance to check out PastaBAR, even if it was under the “guise” of attending a promo for the Fresh documentary – and a farm to table dinner prepared by the extraordinary Chef Wade Moises himself (please stay tuned for more on him in a very-near-future article).

Now, I have to admit that since becoming a full-time mom and only a part-time writer, I rarely leave the comfort zone of my immediate neighborhood. It’s been years since I’ve frequented a restaurant in downtown Phoenix, but I was impressed to see the whole area coming alive with hidden gems. And I mean that in the truest sense of the phrase. PastaBAR is housed within a building – you might never know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. Good thing we were.

Chef Wade prepared a special three-course meal the night we dined in collaboration with promotion for Fresh, which is showing this Friday and Saturday only at the Madcap Theaters in Tempe. The dinner came complete with a ticket to see the movie, which emphasizes the importance of re-inventing our food system to forge a healthier, more sustainable alternative by using local produce and meats – something Chef Wade does on the daily.

His menu even states: “PastaBAR uses as many products from as many local farmers, ranchers and producers as possible.” A quick breeze through the website and you’ll find a list of some familiar names — McClendon’s Select, Maya’s Farm, The Meat Shop, Sunizona, and the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, which Wade is now running (more on that in the coming part-two article – you just can’t fit Chef Wade into one little blog!).

The menu that he created to promote the Fresh concept was steeped in simplicity. The first course was braised leeks in water, olive oil and butter topped with hard-boiled egg shavings and breadcrumbs. The mild leeks were intensified by the unique textural sensations of the egg and crunchy breadcrumbs. We were off to a good start.

A delightful medly of tastes and textures

The main course was a pasta primavera packed with homegrown vegetables – sugar snap peas, Maya’s sweet 100s tomatoes, green beans and fava beans – and topped with basil and Parmesan. The homemade, hand-rolled garganelli pasta was perfectly cooked. Elegant yet simple, this pasta dish did not leave me with that heavy feeling that I usually get after eating a plateful of pasta. And believe me, I finished every last bite.

Light, yet scrumptious!

Chef Wade rounded out the three-course meal with each diner’s choice of one of three fresh granitas. I couldn’t resist the cherry-lime, which was mouth-puckeringly tart. It tickles my taste buds just thinking about it. I couldn’t finish it, but I did demolish the decadent cream atop my icy dessert. I’d gladly down a martini glass filled with that stuff any day.

GIMME SOME!

If you are a fresh food foodie, check out Fresh this weekend. You will be inspired to, like Chef Wade, find a fresh, simple and local way to cook, eat and enjoy the fruits of our regional farms. But if you don’t feel like doing it yourself, head to PastaBAR for a heaping helping of farm to table freshness.

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