Our Table to pop up at Zona 78

Eatery changes menu for 2-day showcase of local foods, sources
2013-07-18T00:00:00Z 2013-07-18T09:47:52Z Our Table to pop up at Zona 78Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Zona 78 on East Tanque Verde Road will close out the month of July by changing its name, menu and mission.

But only for 48 hours - July 31 and Aug. 1 - as Zona becomes Our Table: Farm to Fork, a pop-up restaurant that will showcase Southern Arizona and Tucson products.

"Everything on the menu comes from within 100 miles of Tucson, except the red snapper which is from Mexico," said Kevin Fink, Zona 78's executive chef and operations director. "It's a good showcase of local Tucson flavors and talents."

Our Table follows the farm-to-table philosophy that is sweeping the nation's restaurant industry - the notion of using locally sourced ingredients, from dairy to produce to meat.

For Our Table, that means foraging for greens and herbs in Arivaca, getting grass-fed beef from the Starbar Ranch in McNeal in Cochise County, pork from Hopkins Hog Farm in Aguila in central Arizona, and most of the produce from Benson's Sleeping Frog Farms.

Zona 78 server and longtime gardener Kerrah Cutter grew the nasturtium - similar to watercress - featured in a dish that incorporates pork tenderloin, smoked bone marrow foam and amaranth ($17). Fink grew the red oxalis that will garnish a smoked peach puree ($12).

The menu, with prices running from $11 to $19, includes a mesquite-smoked cap of rib eye topped by a horseradish meringue and paired with smoked broccoli dressed in a garlic chive sauce; and a fava bean agnolotti - think mini ravioli - dressed in a tomato broth kissed by mint oil and the Asian herb shisho.

"This is just a way to celebrate really nice food and cuisine" as well as to educate diners about Arizona's indigenous foods, Fink said.

Fink is following the template of Noma, the Danish restaurant that resurrected Danish food on the world stage.

Noma, located in Copenhagen, has two Michelin stars and is regarded as one of the most popular restaurants in the world. By using classic French techniques and locally sourced ingredients, the 9-year-old restaurant dispelled the notion that Danes had nothing to offer the world's palate aside from pastries.

Fink cooked at Noma and adopted many of its philosophies for Zona 78, which also strives to use primarily locally sourced products.

Our Table, like all pop-up restaurants, has a limited shelf life: It will be around long enough to serve dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 1. On Aug. 2, Zona 78 will return to its casual Italian roots with its menu of salads, pizzas and pastas.

"It is just a fleeting moment. It's one time only," Fink said. "If you miss it, you miss it; it's not something you can recreate."

Pop up restaurants have been springing up around the country for years, but Tucson has been slow to catch on. Zona 78 has hosted invitation-only pop-up events in the past.

Last October, V Thai downtown introduced Pop Up Seattle Style BBQ during lunchtime at V, 20 N. Stone Ave. The venture went on hiatus in late May.

If you go

• What: Our Table: Farm to Fork, a pop-up restaurant at Zona 78, 7301 E. Tanque Verde Road.

• When: 5 to 10 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 1.

• Reservations: Not required, but recommended. Call 296-7878.

• Prices: À la carte menu; $11 to $19.

• Details: zona78.com

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642. For Our Table: Farm to Fork's full menu, visit azstarnet.com/calientetunedin

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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