By Brian Eden
Editor's Note: While Suzanne is recuperating from knee surgery, several In Good Taste readers have agreed to share their food thoughts and experiences.
When it comes to making improvements to rowhouse roofs, most of us grudgingly call a contractor. At Jack’s Bistro in Canton, they decided to dial a farmer instead.
Chef Ted Stelzenmuller’s year-old rooftop herb garden takes the Eat Local movement a notch higher. It’s better than farm-to-table. It’s rooftop-to-roasting pan.
Soon, milk crates filled with soil will overflow with chives, scallions, basil, cilantro, oregano, rue and three varieties of thyme. Micro celery and micro amaranth get ready to star in a simply dressed "house salad," while sprigs of rosemary are destined for glory in sous vide steak frites. (Which, unfortunately, does not come from rooftop cattle.)
This isn’t your garden-variety nursery either.
These plants might just be Baltimore’s most pampered perennials. From their perch atop Jack’s roof, they enjoy a waterfront panorama with a view of Fort McHenry. A front row seat for the Fourth of July fireworks. And even a custom-built cabana for some afternoon shade. They’re like Kobe beef without the afternoon massage.
It’s no wonder they taste so good. Fresh flavor comes from happy herbs.
So, while you’re hard at work, toiling in your cubicle, think of the oasis of herbs growing on top of Jack’s Bistro. Living a life of luxury. Lazing about on the rooftop, soaking in the sun and watching the tugboats swim laps across the Patapsco.
Don’t be jealous. Just clock out, head to Jack’s and order the Mango Mojito with freshly muddled rooftop mint. Then sit back and enjoy a taste of relaxation.