Lotus Farm to Table in Media is only a couple of years old, but seems to have a local following already. On the main drag in downtown Media, the bright colored sign out front and cozy yellow tables draw potential diners inside. The setting is Asian-inspired, and when you step inside, it feels like you are walking into a spa. It's quiet and serene, despite the diners at other tables. There is a single bud in a small vase on our etched Asian table. The owner Courtney (also our very hospitable server) studied in China and has a passion for teas, health and well-being. She was more than happy to offer up details about her restaurant.
Courtney explained to us that the food served is 90% local, helping out those farmers who are organic, but lack the ability to certify as such. The meats are grass-fed, and the chicken is free-range. Fresh produce is delivered every morning from local farmers in zippered bags. The menu lists all of the local farmers in detail. At first, Lotus was a tough sell for my 10 year old, as there were no children's listings on the menu. We asked Courtney if there was anything available for kids, and when she mentioned the Grilled Cheese....SOLD!
Since the teas looked so inviting, I had to try the Chinese Green Tea. Tough decision since there is an entire page full of hand rolled teas. I made a good choice though. This was no Lipton. I've never had a tea served like this. The little glass server and porcelain teacup were precious.
After perusing the menu, I decided on the Corn Soup- Pickled Corn, Hominy, Shitake to start. I had no idea what hominy was, and I don't like the idea of something pickled in my soup. Indeed, this soup had some strong flavors for something that looked so simple. It was a fairly small portion, but it was uniquely good. The corn tasted fresh off the cob and I especially enjoyed the shitake mushrooms garnishing the soup. However, I was not quite as fond of the lavender pieces. Every once in a while I would find an unsavory chunk. Meanwhile, my daughter was soundlessly devouring her very tasty looking Grilled Cheese, and I insisted on having a taste of what possibly could have been the best grilled cheese ever. The grilled cheese was served with a side of golden watermelon. I never knew watermelon could be anything but pink. I'm going to have to find me some of that golden melon.
August is Tomato Mania month at Lotus. The restaurant is featuring varieties of heirloom tomatoes grown on local farms; Green Zebra Farm and E. Fudd & Son Farm. There are cherokee purples, great whites, black krims and bull’s heart. The menu changes often. One of the specialties on the menu was the Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad- Summer Herbs, Vanilla Bean Vin. I never would have thought to pair watermelon with tomato, but the flavors were outstanding together, and it was so very fresh. The portions are a bit small for the price but it's worth it when you consider the attention that went into each dish. Dessert was a tasty Pot de Creme- Chocolate Custard with Cookie. My daughter snatched the chocolate cookie away before I had a chance to shoot a photo, and unfortunately, I had to share this with two and was left wanting more. In fact the lunch was so light and refreshing that I didn't feel stuffed, but I wasn't leaving hungry either.
The inside of this place shines, but on days with nice weather, there are two small bistro tables out in front, and every Wednesday Lotus participates in Media's Dining Under the Stars. The cuisine is very creative and inspiring, and I felt as if I was in a different world from the moment I walked through the door. It was a relaxing, healthy meal. I checked out the dinner menu to see what the offerings were should I return, and was pleased to see that there was a Vegan meal of Barbequed Tofu, vegan creamed corn, dinosaur kale. Oh, and better yet....Lotus is a BYOB!
With a changing menu, fresh, local choices, and a variety of menu items (and Vegan choices) for lunch and dinner, what's not to love? This place is too unique to pass up. I'll be back!