A West Coast Take on Japanese Hospitality
Kyle Connaughton of Single Thread Farms fell in love with Japan while accompanying his father on business trips as a child. Later, he fell in love with his now-wife Katina, and together the California natives moved to Hokkaido, where she worked at a farm and he at a 500-year-old kaiseki restaurant. After a stint in England, where Kyle oversaw research and development at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, they recently decamped to the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County to open up a restaurant with elements of their adopted homes abroad. The AvroKO-designed space includes five guest rooms, roof gardens, greenhouses and an 11-course tasting menu highlighting the Kyoto vegetables Katina grows on the cattle-grazed grounds. “There’s a Japanese principle called shun,” says Kyle, who prepares dishes such as roasted duck breast with kabu turnips, purple komatsuna leaves and preserved pear. It means that “something may be only at its peak for five days, and we’re homing in on that.” The vibe is a relaxed West Coast take on Japanese hospitality, with details to remind guests of where it all began: A variety of dishes are smoked in a donabe (a traditional clay pot) and served on ceramic dishes made by Iga-based artisans.
From “A New Crop of Exceptional Farm Stays” by Christine Ajudua for the New York Times, 2016
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