3750 Taylor Rd.
Loomis, CA 95650
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm
This is undoubtedly the Disney Land of nurseries. We went to High-Hand – the name references a high-hand in cards - for lunch on a Sunday afternoon and found it bursting with people. The restaurant structure resembles a barn converted to a solarium. The walls on two sides are open to the nursery and the entire thing is topped in glass. Bright yellow and orange umbrellas dapple a completely outdoor section of seating and inside old world charm competes with new world functionality - rolling metal doors lock down the facility when it is shut. Upon arriving we were handed a beeper as the host told us that we should expect a twenty minute wait. Neither of us was upset, we were looking forward to exploring the nursery.
The grounds, departing from the restaurant to cover a broad expanse of land, looks more like Pleasantville on steroids than a plant nursery. There are fully grown trees with black Mondo grass and Sedum Ogon tumbling from their planters. Shrubs are stacked like presents in a tantalizing array of colors and shapes - like a Bengal Tiger rooming with a King Penguin these specimens share living quarters for the sake of the show, in blatant disregard of natural order. We were startled by a life-size bronze boy pushing a cart through a patch of petunias. Even someone with no interest in plants could appreciate this show. We explored the isles of Echinacea and Acorus grass, bright red Roses and yellow Peonies. Across the yard we came to another barn-like structure that contained mountains of ceramic pots in glistening umbers and navy blues. By the time our buzzer went off we were dizzy from all of the marveling we had done.
The food however, was not to be upstaged. I was prepared to bet that the ambience had taken precedence over the cuisine, likely relegated to a third rate chef and iceberg lettuce. Me of little faith – our lunch, much of it grown on location – was delicious. My green-bean salad in pesto was delicate and well thought out. Roberta’s prawn salad was equally fresh and interesting. It is rare to be able to interact with nature and a garden while dining out. High Hand offers a uniquely intimate experience - eating in the midst of a nursery, flanked by the grounds growing supplying our meal. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.