About a month ago, I was able to go on a wonderful press tour sponsored by Food Dance, the restaurant and natural food paragon based in Kalamazoo.
Firstly, I'm sure everyone can guess that the food was excellent. From the bloody mary to the roasted vegetable lasagna, everything I ate there was entirely delectable. But more than that, it was an interesting experience.
It truly was a "farm to table" tour. We went to the local farms where Food Dance sources their food, including a truly vast garden and a charming farm with lambs, roosters and hens. And these were true free-range chickens - I my legs were pecked by about 2 dozen of them as I walked around the chickens' "yard" surrounding the henhouse.
They were surprisingly cute.
Not only is Food Dance a wonderful restaurant and market (where I was able to find the Bloody Mary mix I've been searching for almost literally FOREVER), but their chef and staff also put on food-centric events and classes. Next week, on Sept. 18, Food Dance is holding a class on food preservation - how to preserve the taste of summer for months - and after that, on October 17, the restaurant is hosting the latest in their Farm to Fork dinner series, this one featuring cheese and dairy. And who doesn't love dairy?
Closer to the lake, I've been dying to try bread+bar by Bit of Swiss. Our writer Jane Ammeson has only great things to say about the restaurant. I was hoping to try it out while in St. Joseph a few weeks ago, but a giant crowd was slightly too daunting - we were starving!
But one day I will have to brave the crowd - their small plate menu looks positively stunning.
And over in Chicago, Goose Island is hosting their 312 Urban Block Party, which unbelievable is celebrating the brewery's 25th anniversary. Goose Island will be rolling out some exclusive rare beers from their secret stash in the brewery, while the Goose Island Brewpub will be roasting a pig.
The brewery promises to keep the following beers flowing: Honkers Ale, Green Line, IPA, 312, Matilda, Sofie, Forecone, Run the Jewels, The Illinois, Boring, Gillian, Scarlett, BCS Rare, BCS Koval Rye, BCS Bramble Rye, Buffalo Trace BCS, Koval Apple Brandy BCS, Big John, and Matilda Lambicus.
I've tried 2 of those. Looks like I have to start drinking more beer - but I just can't be pried away from my beloved red wine.
And while we're on the subject of beers, I must share my recipe for the best sauteed onions on earth—since it's the last gasp of barbecue season, this would be a great addition to the usual fare of bratwurst, burgers and steaks.
1 large red onion, sliced
1 tbs. butter
1 tbs olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 bottle of beer of your choice
Start by sauteeing the onions in the butter and olive oil over medium heat, about 10 minutes, or until the onions start to look translucent. Add the spices and continue to cook until the oils are nearly gone and the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in half the bottle of beer - you want a lighter beer, anywhere from a Belgium to an Ale. A porter would overwhelm the onions - and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the onions and harvest the flavor.
Allow the beer to cook down until nearly soaked into the onions. If the onions do not look completely melted down, cover the pan and add more beer if necessary.
Serve on burgers, brats, hot dogs, steaks or plain.