A fable by Aesop? A (rare) G-rated film from Peter Greenaway? Good guesses, but no, The Cook and Her Farmer is the oyster bar, wine bar, and café tucked within Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. The cook is Romney Steele, whose grandparents founded Nepenthe, the iconic restaurant in Big Sur that just about everyone driving up or down Highway 1 stops at, and where Romney spent her childhood. Her Farmer is Romney’s partner, Steven Day, a former teacher in the Oakland school system who now recruits local kids to work with him.
Along with oysters from Tomales Bay—where Romney and Steven spent a year learning about the bivalve business from the shell out—the menu runs from buttermilk scones in the morning through sandwiches (slow-cooked grilled cheese, the house burger, and “Oakland’s Own Po’Boy”) and salads at lunch to fisherman’s stew, chermoula chicken, and Phoenix steak at night. Grab a seat at the redwood bar, or at one of the communal tables, and dig in.
Photos Courtesy of The Cook and Her Farmer