The idea for the shoot was that after an amazing dinner, friends can continue the fun by watching an outdoor movie together. What drew me to Park Ave. in the first place is their private dining location. Although the interior of the restaurant is a perfectly executed non-kitschy mid-century modern theme, they also have this amazing 2 car garage out in the back of the property with the vegetable garden. Inside, they have a table that can be modified to seat at least 12, but I think it can go a bit larger.
Look past the table and you can see these amazing dinner guests. How cool is that!?! This is the perfect place to share dinner with friends. Casual, secluded, rustic but still with an amazing fine dining menu and service. It would be perfect for so many different occasions.
The vegetable garden is basically split in two sections. The first section you come to as you walk to this hidden part of the property is these raised beds full of all kinds of veggies. I think I heard that they grow at least 7 different kinds of basil back there. These gardens are completely available for guests to explore before, during or after their dining experience (although the later you go, be sure to prop a door open. I once got locked out and had to wait patiently for restaurant staff to notice us). I loved watching people stroll back there the day of the photo shoot. People are genuinely excited by the concept and I want everyone to know about it. Talk about eating locally.
Here is a wider shot of this part of the garden. Remember the cool wine barrel ice bucket from my photo shoot? That was actually theirs. It is a working sink they had made to rinse the lettuce after harvest before taking it in to the restaurant to use.
This is David Slay, chef and owner and Kathy Agresto. Kathy is the gardener (I don't know what her actual professional title is, but I can tell she is much more then a gardener) and manages and maintains the garden based on menu direction by David. Kathy was beyond gracious as well and supportive of what we were doing which was basically coming in to her home and moving things raising a reckus. And I accidentally stepped in one of her newly seeded beds! I thought I was going to die. And she's totally gorgeous as you can see from her photo.
This is the other part of the vegetable garden. All of these areas had been recently planted. I want to assure Kathy that there was no more seed disruption while placing the hay bales on the step stones. Some very stealth acrobatics were done to ensure that nothing was disturbed to get this shot. I'm not sure what is planted in there but I intend to make a reservation at the restaurant soon to find out.
These pictures do not do the garden justice. You must check it out for yourself. I haven't even mentioned the food yet, but seriously, it's the best. Inventive desserts using fresh herbs, a delicious cheese plate, to die for steaks, I have never had anything off the menu that I didn't like. I really want to check out their Sunday Fried Chicken Dinner. Their wine menu is also delightful and they hold many events, tastings, etc.
This post could seriously go on and on. Although I didn't get any photos of it, between the vegetable garden and restaurant is an outdoor, park-like area perfect for weddings and other large private events. Their website has more information about the spaces available so check them out if you are planning an event in Orange County. For those of you that aren't local, here is a recipe from David Slay that you can cook at home. But make sure to come here on your next visit to the area.
A huge thank you to David and Kathy of Park Ave. restaurant for allowing us to use your beautiful grounds for our fall photo shoot. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Photos 1-4 and 7 from Sadie James Photography (more on Cheryl soon!)
Photos 5 & 6 via Park Ave.