By Kathy Crabtree | CNA Media Team
Looking in the restaurant windows along 30th Avenue and Killingsworth Street, much has changed in the months of social distancing.
Eateries trying to survive the pandemic have added picnic tables, tenting and – as the weather changed – portable heaters.
Others have decided to think out of the box or – in one case – into a box. Naomi Pomeroy and partner chef Lucian Prellwitz have re-established the trendy Beast prix fixe restaurant into the Ripe Cooperative.
They are now providing four-course, restaurant-quality, finish-at-home boxed dinners, as well as a neighborhood marketplace for in-house made breads, soups, sauces, spreads and baked goods.
Naomi hopes the frequently changing assortment of treats, entrees, baked goods and ice cream will become a staple in neighborhood households.
The novel take-home system includes detailed directions on how to prepare all four courses, available in a PDF file and/or video clip. Hand-drawn pictures offer instructions about where the entrées should be placed relative to the appetizers and salads or side dishes. That’s what chefs call “plating,” and Ripe Cooperative offers the advice so diners have the opportunity to experience the nuances of fine dining in their own homes.
On a recent scroll through RipeCooperative.com, the variety of meals included the Field Box of local greens, the Air Box of locally-farmed chicken, the Land Box of sustainably-raised meat and the Sea Box of scallop ravioli, as well as the Child’s Box of peanut butter and jelly.
That day’s Land Box of sustainably-raised lamb came with six pages of exacting and easy-to-understand prep directions and plating pictures. for where the entrée space should be relative to the appetizer and salad or side dish placement.
The box included appetizers of olive oil crackers, smoked gruyere pimento, pickles and olives.
Those were followed by Mafaldine Pasta Cacio e Pepe, ribbon pasta with cheese and pepper. Next was the entrée of Cattail Creek lamb shoulder confit, olive oil smashed fingerling potatoes and fermented chili tomato sauce.
The dessert course featured a pear brown butter tart with chocolate-cherry sesame butter ice cream.
Diners can understand why Naomi and Lucian have earned kudos from the James Beard Foundation.
All this comes with a spendy price tag but Naomi, a veteran of Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters, stresses this is the cost of ethical-quality, carefully- and skillfully-prepared food, as well as a mini lesson in cooking and plating.
She suggested diners pre-order during weekdays, with pickup over the weekend for a perfect way to add extra treats to their at-home dining experiences. And take-and-bake cinnamon rolls work for any weekend breakfast.
“Our spreads, fresh-baked bread, house-made soups and salad dressings remind our shoppers of eating at their favorite restaurants – right in their own homes.”
She added the advantage of the Ripe Cooperative is, “unlike take-out meals that need to be reheated, ruining the experience of a quality meal.”
Other unique services are subscriptions to weekly specials and sign ups for monthly updates and special deals at RipeCooperative.com.
Kathy Crabtree lives near Fernhill Park and enjoys the constant flow of dogs happily on their way to romp off leash. In real life she is a nursing professor. In her dreams she is the creator of a series of mystery adventures of a retired female lawyer/judge of a certain age – to be named at a later date. Contact her at KCrabtree4320@att.net.