For Alma’s Ari Taymor, Creativity and Constraint Are a Perfect Pairing
It appears the Los Angeles Times is impressed with this arrangement as well. “Alma at The Standard is probably a better restaurant than Alma,” the Times writes in their review. “More consistent, more evenly paced and more fun. It is filled with people who want to have a great dinner rather than with gourmands looking to tick another famous restaurant off their list. You can have a cocktail if you want one.”
As for Chef Taymor, he sees it as a good sign these challenges have become more or less second nature to his process. “I’ve never done anything else or worked in a restaurant that has done anything else. To me it doesn’t feel like limitations. It’s just, like, the only way to do things. Even though there is a drought we’re still very lucky in California to have the array of products that we do year round. I’ve cooked in California for almost my entire career so this is the set of ingredients and the set of flavors that I’ve come up cooking and learned from. It would be more of a challenge to have products added.”
“Carpentaria is a Mediterranean climate. It’s along the coast, close to the ocean. It gets gentle winds just to keep the temperatures from freezing for long periods of time…It’s a very unique microclimate.”
Besides being able to produce both apples and bananas on the same plot of land – an unusual farming feat – Coleman Farms cultivates a myriad of perennial herbs like anise hyssop, lovage, tarragon, five different types of basil as well as unconventional tropical fruits like zapotes and cherimoyas.
Coleman went onto explain that the real challenges with water shortages have less to do with annual rainfall, as various methods have been developed over the decades to assist in these types of situations, and more to do with the bigger picture within the ecosystem. For instance, the increasing presence of the bagrata bug, a non-native species whose existence in the U.S. can be traced back 8 years to the LAX area. The bug usually feeds on wild mustard in the hills. Since the draught, those plants aren't around so now the bug is putting major pressures on organic farmers. Some farms are known to have complete crops of kale, broccoli and cabbage decimated by the bug in its search for a new source of food.
Taymor’s favorite things are Coleman’s array of lettuces and exceptional herbs. Ingredients like tarragon and little gem compose a first course on Alma’s menu with pear and hazelnuts. Chamomile gets tucked into a shortcake with strawberries and almonds for a dessert.
This time of year Taymor seems most excited about winter fruits, citrus to be precise. Not unlike Coleman finding it difficult to name his favorite thing to grow, Taymor is hard pressed picking out his favorite dish. “We’re doing a really cool rib dish with pumpkin and kumquats and hazlenuts, but right now I just like the diversity of the menu and how it's structured, so I like all the dishes to be honest.”
To make a reservation:
Email us: Alma@StandardHotels.com
Or call: (323) 822-3131