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aug 28 2008

Slow food nation -- a growing trend in "anti-restaurants"

Large scale picnics, gourmet pot lucks, and "underground" restaurants continue to grow in popularity. Newsweek is reporting this week on an organization called Outstanding in the Field, which hosts "dining events" on beaches, farms, and vineyards here and abroad. Chefs "parachute in" and cook up regionally grown ingredients, serving meals outdoors on long tables. The gatherings typically feed about 140 people. Tickets start at $150 a person(!) Events in the U.S. are sold out for the rest of the year, but you can sign up for their email newsletter to have a shot at buying tickets for next year.

The New York Times reported this week on informal supper clubs. A website called theghet.com, lists underground restaurants, supper clubs, and group picnics. The number has doubled in the past year, to about 70 nationwide. For Budget Travel's take on these events, which start at about $30 a head, read "Introducing the Utterly Random Dinner Party."

Many farms are running occasional, on-premises restaurants. As BusinessWeek has reported, you can find these "through state agriculture departments and farmers' groups, such as the New York State Agriculture & Markets Dept. (agmkt.state.ny.us), Vermont Farms Assn. (vermontfarms.org), and North Carolina Agriculture & Consumer Services Dept. (ncagr.com)."

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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