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Welcome to our brand new blog! 

Interested in more behind the scenes content from us at Elizabeth's? Curious about why and how we do what we do? Intrigued by the world of fine dining? Welcome to our blog, where we dish on all things Elizabeth's. 

Blog #2: Gratitude Lends to Greatness
By Emma Rose 
5.29.24

“To make good food, you also have to respect the ingredients. Always I think of the farmers, working really hard to plant, to water…all of this hard work they do to deliver fresh to my kitchen. A lot of people don’t pay attention to all that is behind a single ingredient. Every piece is like a gem. Every piece of produce is like a diamond to the farmers, so I need to treat it like diamonds”. 

- Francisco Hernandéz 

In October of 2023, I sat down and interviewed our Chef, Francisco Hernandéz, about his craft. What was supposed to be a thirty minute interview stretched to an hour, and I often go back and listen to our conversation when seeking inspiration. Chef described his respect for ingredients, not necessarily because of the subjective merits of the individual ingredient itself, but because of the care, time, and labor that goes into cultivation. 

 

In a similar line, our sommelier, Michael Markarian, has shared that he does not judge wine on a subjective “good versus bad” binary - he believes that there is an appropriate audience for nearly every wine, and by nature of hard-working families taking the time to grow the grapes, maintain the vineyard, and engage in the months to (more likely) years long process of fermenting, aging, transitioning from vessel to vessel, bottling, labeling, and distributing wine (especially across international borders), wine is something special and to be appreciated. The only wines that he does not hold the same high regard for are those mass produced (which isn’t inherently a negative) and artificially manipulated with additives to the point of hardly being wine anymore. Similarly, sommeliers, servers, aficionados, and others involved in the beverage world spend years honing their knowledge of vineyard conditions, soil, grape varieties, and vinification practices - there is something unique and beautiful about a field that rests on a foundation of appreciation for what goes into the product, as opposed to solely focusing on the end result. 

 

It is care and craft that render ingredients great - qualities that are material and lived for the farmers, cultivators, and makers of a product, be it an heirloom carrot or organic red wine. Many of the hallmarks of “fine” food and wine rely on abstract, immaterial, narrow senses to determine “good” or “bad”, but what if we detach ourselves from this labeling? How can we further connect with what we consume? If we were to do so, we might begin by acknowledging the farmworkers in the United States and across the globe who are underpaid and working in unsafe conditions to feed us. We might boycott certain products (if we have the means to do so) or better yet, find a way to effectively assist these workers in advocating for and achieving their needs. We might look at how billionaires are buying up a majority of the United States’ farmland, destroying the livelihoods of small, local farmers; harming the soil for the sake of quick, high-yield crops; genetically engineering our produce to be definitively worse in flavor and quality without being more affordable or nutritious; and exacerbating climate change. (Corporatized and monopolized farming also contributes to massive harm done to animals, who spend their lives in cruel conditions, creating dangerous health outcomes for both the animals and consumers of animal products). Perhaps we would engage with our local beekeepers, who support crucial pollinators, participating in a symbiotic relationship that keeps hives healthy. We might spend more time with our food and drink, savoring each bite and sip not simply because it is delicious, but because multiple people have dedicated their lives to ensuring it reaches our plate.

 

There is no wrong way to be involved in what we consume when it comes from a place of love and appreciation. From a service perspective, I am consistently impressed by the ways the guests at Elizabeth’s seem to share a great sense of care and appreciation for what is in front of them. While veganism does not necessarily equate to wellness or health, there is something about this place that attracts guests who are willing to listen and engage with their food in a way that challenges traditional norms of eating in a restaurant: fine food does not have to be “unhealthy”, and people want to know where we are sourcing ingredients, expressing curiosity about farming and foraging practices. It is our privilege to share these ingredients with you, prepared with respect and admiration for those who have shared them with us. 

Blog #1: Elizabeth's Gone Blog
By Emma Rose 
5.14.2024

There are little spaces where one finds themselves not being marketed to, or as a test subject for branding and marketing, or is identified as anything else but a consumer. Marketing has taken over the most intimate spaces of our lives and bodies - from the way you travel, the places you travel to, the produce you find in the grocery store, the popular menu items found in the average downtown restaurant… it never ends. If marketing is done well, you hardly notice it, or are completely unaware. When it’s done wrong, it may sour your tastes for the entirety of the business, regardless of the quality of the product or services. 

We’ve all been victims of bad marketing at one time or another - but what happens when you’re the perpetrator of bad marketing? Or, more specifically, what happens when great marketing expires and fails to keep up with the passage of time? 

 

“Elizabeth’s Gone Raw” was a memorable title, one our business was proud to wear for over a decade. When our dining experience was fully raw, it was accurate. In all honesty, the name was a big part of the reason I applied for this job - I was drawn to that name, as were many guests, for a reason imperceptible - that is the hallmark of good marketing. 

 

Most people are familiar with what happens to an apple that’s been cut open and left out to brown - a process called oxidation, something many other fresh ingredients are prone to. Like an apple core left out, the name “Elizabeth’s Gone Raw” oxidized. Once inviting and crisp, the title became troublesome: gnarled, soft, and weak. It was confusing for diners, whether they were regular or potential; whether they were raw or trying to avoid raw food. It made us the target of many prank phone calls, and, truthfully, the butt of uncomfortable jokes. The name became a distraction rather than a signal of who we are and what we do. 

 

Fine dining is an industry that is reflexively resistant to change. The boundaries of acceptability are rigid and perhaps best illustrated by the meticulousness of a set table: forks on the left, knives and spoons to the right, with water and beverage glasses hinged at the top of the knives. There’s only about two inches of interpretation available - if that. Perhaps the ultimate project of Elizabeth’s now is to modernize without trivializing: we’ve kept the silverware in place, but we don’t behave as if everyone should know how and when to use it. Our mission is to maintain accessibility and sustainability - if we are to take this endeavor seriously, we have to be ready to greet change like an old friend, not just passing through, but transforming us in the process. As the indomitable Octavia Butler once wrote: “All that you touch/You change. All that you Change/Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change”. We thank you, everyone who has ever dined with us; who takes the time to read this. We hope that when you are welcomed into Elizabeth’s, you find yourself somehow positively changed by the experience. We know that we will be changed, too. 

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