When you’ve lived your entire life in one place, you begin to think you know it by heart. All its nooks and crannies, the best places for brunch, dinner, for taking a leisurely walk on Saturday afternoon. So naturally I was beyond surprised when I was invited down to the famed Riverpark restaurant for a farm-to-table luncheon hosted by Arm & Hammer and Alison Sweeney. I had no idea that the restaurant was home to a flourishing urban farm, amazing food, and breathtaking city views!
Farmer Sam and Alison (every time I see her I have to pinch myself, I spent so many years coming home from school to watch Alison as Days of Our Lives’ Sami Brady!) gave us the grand tour. Alison reflected on the importance of clean and authentic ingredients – from the plate to our toothpaste. Alison has partnered with Arm & Hammer for many years, she pointed out how with Arm & Hammer you can always tell it’s working because you can feel it.
Farmer Sam, who showed us around, shared that maintaining a garden comes with its own set of complications. The garden is rested on unfilled milk crates, which give it it’s mobility. That means in case of a storm or unpredictable weather, the garden can be transported in doors. The produce from the garden, naturally, end up on the plates served at Riverpark.
Riverpark, owned by Tom Colicchio, presented us with a lovely lunch designed and prepared by Executive Chef Andrew Smith. We started off with burrata served with heirloom tomatoes, stone fruit, charred breadcrumbs and basil. Riverparks urban farm boasts numerous varieties of basil, their fragrance sweetening the air outside the restaurant while adding fresh flavor to the dishes served inside.
Did you know that cheese neutralizes acid and aids in preserving tooth enamel? As if I needed any more reason to eat more cheese! Meanwhile, stone fruit contains high levels of vitamin C, which is vital for gum tissue health. I’ve never had stone fruit with burrata and I absolutely loved the combination. The sweet fruit brought out the sun-warmed sweetness of the heirloom tomatoes and the creaminess of the burrata.
I chose the salmon as my main course, I once read that a restaurant that can cook salmon without drying it out is a good restaurant indeed. Riverpark’s salmon – served with heirloom peppers, zucchini, crispy fingerling potatoes, and rosemary – was perfectly cooked, as if it had been done sous vide. Salmon, a great source of vitamin D, also helps with calcium absorption.
Our lunch was ended on a sweet note with a Summer Fruit Trifle. Strawberries, blueberries, lemon verbena whipped cream, chiffon cake, and a pistachio sacristan rounded out my ideal summer dessert.
Thank you to the Arm & Hammer team for a lovely lunch!