While in London last month, a lovely colleague took me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Covent Garden called Wahaca, named after the Oaxaca province of Mexico that inspires this food. The restaurant was large, open and airy, and felt more like a modern cafeteria than a neighborhood Mexican eatery. The menu is vast, the dishes small and unique.
While I took some photos of the food, they just didn’t come out right, except for the one above. At first glance, I thought this pile of cans were simply filled with dirt. If you look closely, you’ll notice little plants sprouting from the middle of each container. These are herbs the restaurant grows to use while cooking, but I was so taken with the aesthetics. Clean large produce cans had been filled with rich soil and little plants of cilantro, basil and peppers. Surrounding by even large cans filled with dried peppers and limes, I was transfixed with this makeshift garden, and wondered how other restaurants integrate fresh herbs year-round.
Cut to last night, when I spent a few hour surfing Flickr for other inspirational boutique restaurant herb gardens. I’m touched by the ingenuity of the owners/chefs, and the forethought to foster beauty in both typical and unlikely places.
The back alley of a restaurant. Photo by Chad Johnson.
Vast herb gardens at Palladio Restaurant, Barboursville, VA. Photo by Amy C Evans for the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Growing and drying herbs behind a restaurant. Photo by Rach.
The neat boxed gardens of Brix Restaurant, Napa Valley, California. Photo by Patrick Butler.
The backyard herb gardens at Firehouse Restaurant, Portland, Oregon. Photo by David Rose.
The herb garden behind the Greenbriar Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado. Photo by W. Michel Kiteley.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.