It was a tiny patch of ground that needed something. Seth Harvey decided that he knew what that was.Harvey is the chef de cuisine at Bistro on the Brandywine across the parking lot from Brandywine Prime. The patch of ground is beside the bistro, adjacent to the far side parking area.
Harvey wanted a garden, and property owner Joe Grace obliged him, bringing in several truckloads of topsoil.
That was in April, shortly after the bistro opened.
Harvey went to work outside as well as inside. Inside he was boss of the kitchen while outside he was farmer Seth planting for the kitchen. Four months later, the early harvest is well under way and being put to good use.
"I wasn't sure what would really grow well so I planted a variety of vegetables and herbs," said Harvey. "It would be hard to name anything that didn't really thrive. We've used the zucchini blossoms and the beets and I'm really anxious to make our tomato and hand-made mozzarella once the tomatoes start coming in."
Harvey also planted lima beans, cabbage, jalepeños and a variety of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage.
He also planted mint and that went nuts.
"The mint bushes were going to take over the garden," said restaurant owner Dan Butler.
Harvey said he had to pull the mint from the garden and put "bushes of mint" into separate pots. But that mint is going to be put to good use. The mint along with watermelon from H.G Haskell's farm will go into a summer cocktail, the mojito.
Made with rum, watermelon, mint and lemon leaves a lime and simple syrup
Bistro on the Brandywine is BYOB, but has a liquor license, Butler said, so it can sell the drink legally. He said the watermelon mojito will be sold throughout the summer for $6.50.
Bistro on the Brandywine's watermelon mojito (for 2):
Puree Fresh watermelon and strain through a fine sieve. Combine 8 ounces of watermelon puree with 4 ounces of simple syrup, the juice of a large lime and 2 ounces silver rum. Muddle about 10 to 15 mint leaves and 4 lemon verbena leaves. Pour the mixture over crushed ice and top it all off with a splash of club soda. Top off the drink with a watermelon wedge or lime slice and mint leaf for garnish.
According to some questionable lore, the mojito comes from Cuba. It was a successor to a drink called "El Draque," named after Sir Francis Drake.
The Mojito was made with "tafia," an early form of rum, with other ingredients to soften the harsh taste of the alcohol. Some say the mojito's name comes from mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime. Over the years, the drink became known as the cocktail with "a little mojo" - or, in Spanish, "mojito."
More changes are planned for the restaurant.
Harvey said he's been building the kitchen staff to get ready for the fall. There will be a fall menu and, according to Butler, the to go shop will be ready soon.
Butler added that they will be doing full service off-site catering.