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The Nut Tree


SWoodyWhite
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My sister sent this article my way, sparking memories of a Vacaville restaurant called The Nut Tree. Naturally, she didn't bother to connect the article in any way to a date, so I don't know how current the story is.

The Reporter: The Nut Tree

I found the following paragraph of particular interest:

From it all came a new form of cooking and presenting food - California cuisine. Nut Tree partner Robert Power dubbed it "Western food." Although Power died and the restaurant closed, this brand of Western cuisine lives on.

The Nut Tree was where California Cuisine was born? Take THAT, Jeremiah Tower!

Edited by SWoodyWhite (log)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Oh wow....Mark Power one of the sons is a friend of mine...I didnt' realize they were completely tearing it down....that really did used to be a great place to eat....it deteriorated as the years went by, but I sure have some great memories of that place! :smile:

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From it all came a new form of cooking and presenting food - California cuisine. Nut Tree partner Robert Power dubbed it "Western food." Although Power died and the restaurant closed, this brand of Western cuisine lives on.

Do you have a date for that? My candidate for the the origin of "California Cuisine" is the Potluck Restaurant, Berkeley CA, under Narsai David, ca. 1965.

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I can't claim to have had much food experience at the time, but when I was seven or so I can remember the Nut Tree using very fresh ingredients that were interestingly prepared, without heavy saucing. Working back, this would have been around 1960...earlier than 1965. David may have seen what was happening at Nut Tree and taken it several steps further, or may have come up with similar ideas on his own. For that matter, the Nut Tree could well have been adding their own spin on what they saw others in the Bay Area trying to accomplish. There's a synergy to food that makes the whole "I'm the First!" business rather silly, in my view.

Of course, I was far more interested in the on-site toy store at the time, along with the small-gauge railroad they had running around the orchards. Today I'd be interested in the food first...and then the toy store! :laugh:

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Naturally, she didn't bother to connect the article in any way to a date, so I don't know how current the story is.

It is very current -- I drive by every few days and yes, indeedee -- the trucks have started rolling in.

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I miss it still. I don't remember the food at all; I don't think we ever ate a meal there. However, I remember always stopping by on our way back from Tahoe and having my parents let us ride the train and buy a toy or a polished rock from the gift shop.

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Somewhere around here I have a collection of cards of their recipes that I bought in their gift shop when I was a kid. I remember liking the chicken curry and a fruit salad with yogurt-honey dressing.

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There's a synergy to food that makes the whole "I'm the First!" business rather silly, in my view.

Very true. I don't think Narsai ever was into that game, but I am always reminded of the Potluck when the Alice Waters/Jeremiah Tower thing comes up. I remember the Nut Tree as more of a budget family kind or roadhouse, albeit a few notches above a Savarin or a Denny's. They were also good at marketing. I recall they had a gift shop "outlet" in San Francisco (either at the Cannery or at Ghirardelli Square).

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I remember the Nut Tree as a magical place.....I had my sweet sixteenth birthday there.....i loved the innovational way with food, the fruits, the slightly adventurous (in my young mind and palate) spices and fusion.........the toasted sunflower seeds that they used to sell to dip into with pieces of wholegrain bread, sandwiches, the jack/avocado/tomato/sprout sandwiches..........the shop inside where all of the goodies from all over the West were displayed.........

And i was over the moon when i walked into the nut tree as a (very) young adult and saw (for the first time) my first cookbook on sale on their cookbook shelf. There was always something to purchase to play with in the cookshop...........

Of course I loved the little train, took my daughter on it when she was tiny, flew into and out of nut tree as i was gradually getting over my fear of flying.

and remember the wonderful birds, the aviary, and tropical atmosphere of the restaurant.

we always stopped at the nut tree en route to san fran. it makes me so sad to see it reduced to rubble.

anyone want to buy it with me?

i'll do the cookin' . who's gonna drive the train?

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Hard for me to tell what years you are talking about as to avocado sandwiches. But it sounds like it might have been the inspiration for the fern bar...definitely a CA creation. Sorry for those of you who have such poignant memories.

Edited by IrishCream (log)

Lobster.

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avocado sandwiches: it was late-ish in the nut tree incarnation, when there was outdoor informal dining, you might say, a forerunner of the california cafe style which was to follow. you could sit at a table under an umbrella and watch your kids play, the little train chug through, and have stuff like fresh lemonade, and also the avocado sandwiches, which were made on whole sprouted wheat bread, and contained avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomato and jack cheese, mayo too. the sandwiches were very plump and well filled, the bread soft and tender and very wholesome.......and you got a little paper container of toasted sesame seeds and cubes of jack cheese to dip into them with with everything you got at this point in the nut tree's outdoor life.

alas, i don't remember the happy mouth in san fran......

but i lived at the zoo for a happy month, able to drive past the doggy diner with the head on it (i'm a big fan of that head)......wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, anyone wants to read it its on sfgate.com or my own website........includes a good recipe for roasted duck legs with zinfandel and figs which one veggie reader thought was in very bad taste (ie duck is an animal, and i was living at the zoo........) (man, aren't we a weeeee bit touchy?)

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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to all you fondly rememberly Nut Tree

It is now recently demolished

to make way for a "family fun center?"

Look up "Daily Reporter" newspaper Fairfield, CA

front page picture this week

The Fairfield paper is the Daily Republic. The Daily Reporter is based in Vacaville.

I performed a search, and am unsure which article you are referring to, LLT. Could you provide a link? As it is, both papers are published daily, and your ref to a "front page picture this week" is a little vague.

Edited by SWoodyWhite (log)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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