Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Slim Pickins
restaurant review

May 5, 2009

Gout weed ravioli and various leafy greens served at the Slim Pickins restaurant opening, Debra Solomon, culiblog
Ground-elder ravioli & goutweed pesto with locally foraged kale flower, spinach and mint

Within hours of the posting Slim Pickins was already fully booked. Plagued at its very inception with limited seating, the urban kitchen garden restaurant located on the edge of a raised bed was forced to devise a waiting list to accommodate the throngs of curious eaters. Recalcitrant guests unable to obtain an invitation to the first seating announced outrageous plans by SMS to drop by a day early, creating extra pressure on the kitchen staff. And due to the mid-week test run, in-situ stocks of chamomile blossom were running too low to serve the requisite four cups of tea. Menu adjustments at the opening would have to be made.

To further up the stress levels, the weather, which during the preceding week could have been described as balmy, began Sunday with rain showers. Trying at all costs to avoid cancelling the opening, satellite photos of the weather conditions were repeatedly consulted and Slim Pickins opened nearly three hours later than originally scheduled.

Gout weed ravioli and bright lights chard served at the Slim Pickins restaurant opening, Debra Solomon, culiblog

But like most projects blessed with the loving attention of perpetual worry, it all came together, some sunny weather, smiley faces, pink prosecco, and newly innovated techniques for preparing unwieldy ravioli in a rice cooker. Nectar sweet kale flowers foraged from the neighbour’s plot and a few plucks of Slim Pickin’s own bright lights chard complimented an opening amuse gueule of ground-elder ravioli with goutweed pesto. Another neighbour’s garden unwittingly supplied a handful of mint leaves for the tea when Slim Pickins’ own chamomile stocks proved insufficient.

The childrens' table at Slim Pickins' restaurant opening, Debra Solomon, culiblog
Children’s seating available upon request

At the kids’ table, guests enjoyed their ravioli and the experience of using a spork for the very first time. Later the youngsters got busy transforming a recently prepared bed into a mud pool, bringing in extra water to get the consistency just right. When the mud was deemed perfect, the young guests took turns standing up against a wall while the other one slung a sloppy hand full straight at his face.

Tea was served.

Slim Pickins garden restaurant receives a score of 8,75 watering cans (out of 10) for delicious food and ambience. The ravioli was perfect in all respects despite early predictions of disaster due to a bit of backpack-mushing during the bike and ferry ride over. Bonus points for the ad hoc addition of kale blossoms to the ravioli plate brings the score to a total of 9 watering cans (out of 10). Improvements can be made in the area of decreasing preparation hecticity and amplifying garden food production, but there is every reason to believe that these hiccoughs will disappear by next Sunday. Reserve now via this blog as seating and in-situ chamomile supplies remain limited.

Illustrious guest eats ground elder ravioli with goutweed pesto at Slim Pickins restaurant opening, Debra Solomon, culiblog
Concentrated ravioli enjoyment

Slim Pickins menu for Sunday, May 10th 2009

- a tabouleh of bishop’s weed and locally foraged mint served on a
- micro salad of bright lights chard, borage flowers and radish sprouts
- a cup of full blossom tea with chamomile and borage flowers and a hint of locally foraged mint and fennel leaves

Culiblog author and Slim Pickins garden restaurant proprietor, chef and head gardener, humbled by the flavour of her own ravioli, Debra Solomon,
Culiblog author bowing her head, humbled by the unabating deliciousness of goutweed pesto

Slim Pickins serves cuisine végètal amuses gueules and is happy to accommodate vegans. Vegan (and other) guests may be requested to bring organic fertiliser or worm castings as a form of payment.

Plated goutweed ravioli with ground-elder pesto and foraged kale blossoms at Slim Pickins garden restaurant opening, Debra Solomon,

debra at 14:03 | | post to


  1. Beautiful writing… and food.

    Comment by dad — May 5, 2009 @ 20:28

  2. Beautiful Debra. . .writing. . .and food.

    Comment by Auntie Sheba — May 5, 2009 @ 20:48

  3. Merçi beaucoups le Papa et la Tante Sheebs. Do you think anyone is getting the fact that goutweed, ground-elder and bishop\’s weed are all the same weed?

    Comment by debra — May 5, 2009 @ 22:04

  4. Bonjour from Paris:
    Debra, what energy your writing has! And the food sounds, as usual, tasty and healthy. Now, where is Slim Pickins?

    Love, ton autre tante, Suzon

    Comment by Suzon and Harry Kornblum — May 5, 2009 @ 22:13

  5. Wow so funny… If I was there … Yum-O….!!!
    Go Little Garden Go… !!!

    Comment by Jeff Pool — May 5, 2009 @ 22:59

  6. Allo Allo Tante Suzon! (et mon oncle Harry),

    Slim Pickins is situated on the corner of one of the raised beds in my garden, in Amsterdam North. If you take the Thalys from Paris to Amsterdam, and take the Buikslotermeer ferry in the back of the station to the other side of the IJ, you’ll be here in 4 hrs (door to door) plus a 3 minute ferry ride. My garden is exactly at the ferry landing (plus 50 meters).

    I can see the water here when the ferry comes and goes. It comes and goes all day and night long. Obviously if you come from Paris, you may want to stay a few days with me. Give me fair warning and I can assure you you’ll be quite comfy. You’re more than welcome to stay and I’ll consider waiving my request for organic manure or worm castings considering the distance you’d be traveling.



    Comment by debra — May 6, 2009 @ 2:16

  7. Jeff, you with your big garden could feed a veritable army. So my neighbour at the gardens here, I think he used to be in the (legalised) weed growing industry, arrived the other day by car (unusual, we ride bikes here), flipped open the car boot and what should we find? Thousands of euros worth of organic liquid fertilisers from the weed industry.In big jugs, buckets and bottles.

    “I heard you’re growing vegetables. You may be interested in these, all certified organic.” After a very hard sell I bought a liter of liquid fish and liquid algae fertilisers for 4 euros. I don’t exactly know what to do with it, but the mafia factor was a selling point, I can tell you.

    He’s moving to Chile next week.

    Comment by debra — May 6, 2009 @ 2:26

  8. Sounds delicious! Now, who is the person with the perfect hair in the picture. I need their coiffure regime. (concentrated ravioli…)

    Comment by mamacita — May 7, 2009 @ 19:31

  9. Dear Mamarooney,

    To get perfect hair, you need to follow the Slim Pickins regime, just like everyone in the pictures. That\’s the result of a goutweed!

    Abrasos y muchos besos fuertes,


    Comment by debra — May 7, 2009 @ 22:17

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