Thursday Nov 17 2011
Source takes patrons back to the origins of flavor
By: ToLewis, Granite Bay View
Source Global Tapas in Granite Bay turned one year old last month, and the restaurant, whose name reflects chef and owner Irie Gengler’s commitment to seeking out fresh, local ingredients, celebrated the milestone with its customers. The restaurant arguably sits on the forefront of a culinary movement, dubbed the “Slow Food Movement,” in which chefs and home cooks alike are seeking sustainable, locally-produced products whenever possible. “We are probably in one of the most fortunate areas of California,” said Source general manager Tony Guerrero. “Being here in the Sacramento valley, this is the heartland, where all these great vegetables and produce are grown.” On a recent visit, I had the pleasure of experiencing — and tasting — that concept first hand. My visit was on a Wednesday, which also happened to be paella night, with live Latin music and generous portions of Valencia paella served fresh and hot. Gengler’s version of Valencia paella, a traditional Spanish rice dish cooked for two hours in a 3-foot pan, is made up of smoked chicken chorizo, mussels, prawns, onions, tomatoes, peas, peppers, parsley and lemon. Each Wednesday night, customers can pay $20 for the paella, which is made on-site and served with house-made sangria or any draft beer of choice. Server Kurtis Reece explained this at the table as he also suggested that the best way to experience Source is to try two or three different small plates at a time, to get the most of the tastes and flavors the restaurant has to offer. Server Jenifer Kipgen also visited the table and informed us that with each glass or bottle of wine comes a complimentary mini tapa, after which my date and I replied, “Yes please!” White wine was served with a Medjool date stuffed with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale cream cheese spiked with ginger and dusted with coriander, and red wine was served with a sausage duo of smoked chorizo and teriyaki. After the complimentary tapas, Reece suggested we begin the meal with fresh Ecuadorian shrimp and ginger cream cheese on a baguette, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with cheese and baked brie wrapped with prosciutto and figs. Again, we replied, “Yes, please!” For the next course, we ordered the crab tater tots, made up of fresh Dungeness crab coated with Panko bread crumbs, fried and finished with a mandarin Thai chili sauce. By the time we got around to the paella, we were hoping we would still have room for dessert after going on such a flavorful flight. Of course, we had to order the house-made toffee, which did not disappoint. After our dinner, Guerrero sat down with us for a brief discussion of the meal, the concept of the restaurant and his longtime friend, chef Gengler. The concept of “global tapas” expands traditional Spanish tapas-style, or small plate, dining, with a menu that reaches beyond the realm of Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, Guerrero explained. “Tapas dining is all about sharing the plates,” Guerrero said. “Getting a taste of this, a taste of that, everybody chiming in on what they think of the dish, what stands out the most, what they liked.” Guerrero said Gengler and his wife have been dining that way for years, going from one restaurant to another and ordering different appetizers here and there. It is a relatively new concept in popular dining culture, one which is promoting the social aspect of eating, and one which is catching on quickly. Situated in the Quarry Ponds Plaza along Douglas Boulevard, the restaurant has its choice of purveyors from local farms and wineries located within a 100 mile radius, and Gengler says he takes advantage of that to the fullest. “You can eat 365 days a year from locally raised products,” Gengler said. “We try to keep everything as local as possible.” The restaurant is as modest as is it is casual, blending sophisticated, one-of-a-kind décor and artwork with an open dining room and outdoor patio that matches the social character of its menu. Guerrero said the restaurant has thought about expanding, but for now the owners want to focus on the current location and promote their concept locally. “Here, you can have as good of a meal as in any fine dining restaurant,” Guerrero said, “But in a much more casual, relaxed atmosphere, without being committed to an entrée that is going to cost you $30 or more.” Toby Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.