Outstanding in the Field: Enjoy the Recap of My Culinary Adventure Dinner Set in the Fields of Cardo’s Farm in Denton,Texas & Oak Cliff Cellar Wines

“Our mission is to Re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.”

Wine and culinary adventures are my passion! Whether it’s in my backyard or traveling across the country, I’m always looking for my next foodie destination. Recently, I was able to follow my passion yet again to one of the coolest and unique adventures so far!

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Outstanding in the Field is a traveling culinary experience without brick and mortar honoring the hard work of the farmers that cultivate our food and connect us to land where it is grown.  A lovingly restored red & white retro bus literally travels around the country with the core staff, sets up an outdoor kitchen and workspace, and along with regional chefs, create a meal literally from the farm within feet from the table.
IMG_4181 The charming and historical town of Denton, Texas was the next culinary destination for the team traveling in the red & white retro bus. Cardo’s Farm was the host for this October event. Cardo’s Farm Project   “builds community through agriculture by growing healthy food in harmony with the natural environment, offering farm-based educational opportunities, and using our farm for the personal restoration of youth and adults” which is their mission statement.


The weather was amazing on this October day of the event. Pleasantly warm and breezy during the day and sweater weather in the evening. A very long row of tables covered with crisp white table clothes, snaked its way right next to the fields of the farm. It appeared to be set for around 200 + guests.


Farm Dinner Destination Texas-style!

My dear friend, cousin-in-law and fellow foodie, Monica Sharp, met me in in Denton. We were both thrilled to be able to experience such a cool event together! Monica is passionate about food and wine which has led her to be apart of several destination dinners and supper clubs in the Austin area for fun as well as non-profit organizations to benefit children in need. Outstanding in the Field hosts farm dinner all around the country! Monica and I decided to attend this one in Denton,Texas because we knew it was going to be great! Check out their schedule for all of their upcoming 2014 Tour across America.



Plate Traditions

Part of the tradition of Outstanding in the Field is to bring your own plate. If you forget, no worries! They have a collection of plates to share.




Monica and I arrived early so I could get a few photos in and check out the farm.



Cars and small bus-loads of people began to arrive! You can sense that everyone was excited about this event by the all of the smiles and laughter.


 Creator and Founder of Outstanding in the Field

Founder of Outstanding in the Field, Chef Jim Denevan and organizer Leah Scafe-often referred to as the glue that holds OITF together-take a few minutes to introduce themselves, talk about the history of OITF and about Cardo’s Farm Project.


HOST FARMERS: Amanda Austin & Marie DeNoon, Cardo’s Farm Project
GUEST CHEFS: Jeana Johnson & Colleen O’Hare, Good 2 Go Taco & Mot Hai Ba, Dallas




About the Farm

Before  we sat down to dinner,
Amanda Austin Cardo’s Farm Project  Co-founder and director talks to us about the Cardo’s Farm Project  which “builds community through agriculture by growing healthy food in harmony with the natural environment, offering farm-based educational opportunities, and using our farm for the personal restoration of youth and adults” which is their mission statement. We all to a tour of the farm, walking the land to see where part of our dinner was coming from that evening

JR’s Wines are food friendly and are great for pairing with great foods!

Crisp and Refreshing un-oaked Chardonnay & Award-winning Mourvedré

As the guests arrived, appetizers were passed and everyone was treated to Oak Cliff Cellars Wines which are handcrafted, highest quality artisan wines made in limited quantities. The 2011 Sonoma County Chardonnay   was being poured by Dallas-resident Jim “JR” Richardson, the owner  of the artisan Oak Cliff Cellars wines of Napa Valley.  JR is very passionate about winemaking and was pleased to be able to share his wine with the dinner. Monica and I were lucky to join him at the dinner table and enjoy Oak Cliff Cellars 2011 Mourvedré pairing as you will see in the  upcoming photos of the dinner.


About the chardonnay!

This Oak Cliff Cellars 2011 Sonoma County Chardonnay was a mouthwatering and refreshing un-oaked chardonnay. No oak means that the flavors and aromas of crisp and juicy green apples, tart lemons,aromatic lemon zest and juicy melon are front and center which makes it very food-pairing friendly. This wine is perfect for pairing with a variety of foods and creamy cheeses as well Asian cuisine that was featured at this dinner.



JR was busy pouring the wine for the dinner guests. I must admit, I really,really love this un-oaked chardonnay and I can see that everyone else did too!




 Armadillo Ale Works

 A unique, artisan-crafted beer located in Denton, Texas


 Bobby Mullins Co-Founder, Chief Brewing Officer and Yianni Arestis Co-Founder,Chief Executive Officer were on-hand to give us a taste of The Farm House Ale, and American-Belgian-Weizen hybrid that Named for the Greenbelt Trail in Northeast Denton, crisp citrus flavors shine bright in this light-golden brew which also pairs well with Asian cuisine.



 The OITF chefs are a working hard to prepare the amazing meal ahead.

The guest chefs Jeana Johnson & Colleen O’HareGood 2 Go Taco  Farm to Taco Dining in East Dallas

      & Mot Hai Ba,a north Vietnamese Cuisine of Dallas have created a menu with local ingredients. Enjoy browsing the following photos of the farm dinner at Cardo’s Farm……

The Menu was a Rustic Asian-inspired dinner using ingredients from the farm!









Warm & savory pastry wrapped around local ground pork and wood ear mushrooms


Crispy Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters and a spicy Thai-style sauce for dipping


Lemongrass Beef wrapped in Betel leaf



Everyone is now seated and the entreés will soon be brought out by the chefs to pass family-style.






Our end of the table was very lucky to have Chef Karl Holl, OITF chef service member and bus driver, deliver our meal! He has been a chef de cuisine and has worked as a chef all around the country, but currently travels with the team.

First Course:Vietnamese Pomelo Salad with Cardo’s sweet Genovese Basil & Arugula tossed with an amazing fish sauce based vinaigrette


Second Course: Chargrilled Pork Belly & Pork Meatballs,vermicelli,broth and Spicer’s Asian Mix





 The perfect pairing of the evening with Wild Diamond Mourvedre!

JR also included the award-winning Oak Cliff Cellars Wild Diamond Mourvedré 2011 to pair with the main course of braised oxtail.

Main Course: Braised Local Yocal Waygu Oxtails  with a hint of star anise  & Cardo’s Baby Turnip Green and braised greens  &                                                                                                                                                                                           Cardo’s Baby Turnip Green and braised greens



This earthy,medium-bodied wine has flavors and aromas of rich,dark blackberries and warm spices like nutmeg and clove which complement the main course of braised oxtails with a hint of the star anise. The rustic tannins provide a good backdrop for the fruit flavors with a slight peppery finish.

The local fall root vegetables give this dish added earthiness to this rustic fall comfort meal.

2011 Wild Diamond Mourvedre will be an exceptional pairing with hearty fall and winter meals and would be great included in holiday celebration dinners!




What an honor it was for Monica and I to “hang out” with JR  at dinner and share in the enjoyment of the meal and Oak Cliff Cellar Wine pairings!  This was one of my most memorable wine and food adventures! How often do you get to have dinner on a farm right next to the land the food was grown and partake in  great conversation with the creator of amazing wines! We were lucky ladies that evening!



Everyone of the guests were enjoying the wine pairing courtesy of Oak Cliff Cellars Wines!















Jimmy Serlin, Service Member and Bus Driver

Jimmy runs our service station, and educates our staff about wine and beer. Jimmy is originally from New York, but has been cooking in restaurants all over


The sun has set on this amazing farm to dinner event and it’s time to pack up the bus and head to their next location somewhere across America!

Monica, we had a great time, didn’t we! CHEERS until our next food and wine adventure!




How Can you attend this unique Farm to Table Event anywhere in the country? Go to www.outstandinginthefield.com for details!

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