Eat & Drink This Now: Cultivation Kitchen

Fireside chats with organic pinot and local lager. Photo by Greg Nagel

A greenhouse isn’t typically a place one should try to eat, as they’re generally hot, humid and full of plant-based organisms rooted in various earthy soils. But Anaheim has a new eatery occupying the glass house inside Farmers Park, where instead of growing plants, Dale LaFlam is cultivating a cool spot to grab a bite and some drinks.

Cultivation Kitchen recently opened with a fully organic/non-GMO menu of piled-high salads, sandwiches and a bevy of sides that very much resemble something one might find in a Newport Beach bistro. “At first, I wanted to start with a smoothie bar-meets-coffee bar type of concept, and it kept growing from there,” says founder LaFlam. As his first restaurant concept grew over the past 18 months, he added wine, beer and a full menu.

Some herbs are actually grown tableside. Photo by Greg Nagel

The food hall, which sits next door, has been home to many chef-driven starter projects, but Cultivation seems more like a glass-slipper-fitting-Cinderella kind of story. “I was looking for a developer to partner with originally—until I saw the space, and it couldn’t have been more perfect,” LaFlam says.

The high-vaulted ceilings and cozy plant vibe fits organically into the bright, airy space, and the outdoor area feels as comfortable as a friend’s back yard. And the glass windows allow plenty of light to spill in from all angles. “Then there are fire pits and games,” LaFlam notes as he lights the gas flames while the late-spring sun goes down. The green Adirondack chairs are a great spot for grabbing a local beer; all pint and tall-boy cans are from local breweries, plus there are four Beachwood Brewing taps, organic wines, kombucha, teas and, of course, Cultivation Kitchen’s house-brand coffee, perfect for sipping next to a fire or while you’re tossing bocce ball or cornhole.

The Greenhouse Salad with hippie-dusted tofu addon. Photo by Greg Nagel

If it’s your first time there, picking where to start might be difficult. Executive chef Joshua Korn’s menu runs with bowls, salads, sandwiches, mix-and-match dinner spreads, breakfasts, smoothies and shareable plates, then riffs with several offerings that are truly fresh twists.

Sunflower hemp hummus. Photo by Greg Nagel

I started with the hummus, which is served Israeli-style with a few crisps and lightly baked chickpeas swimming in the creamy Levantine dip. Cilantro, pomegranate, Za’atar spice and extra-virgin olive oil round out the plate.

Sustainable salmon and a few sides. Photo by Greg Nagel

Salads and healthy plates can be built around a protein, whether it be hippie-dusted tofu that’s wedged and grilled; the juicy, organic chicken; chimichurri-rubbed, grass-fed beef; or flaky, sustainable salmon.

Then there are the sides: a total of eight choices, any of which can quell the pickiest of eaters. The Okinawa sweet potatoes are farm-fresh, as are the ultra-heathy ashwagandha and shaved Brussels. There’s also some really bright, rainbowy carrots, each drizzled in layers of perfectly matched sauces such as an Aleppo yogurt made in-house, then given added texture from shaved nuts.

I still need to visit for breakfast; they had me hooked at the words blood orange ricotta pancakes.

Cultivation Kitchen, 350 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 603-7076; cultivationkitchen.com.

 

Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!

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