I have always loved the concept of farm-to-table dining whether attending one of these beautiful parties, or hosting one of my own. When I moved to Cedar Rapids, I (naively) thought I would never get the chance to do that again. I’m honestly not sure why, the farmers and produce are more plentiful, closer to the tables. The real estate for back yard parties is easier to come by. I guess I was just an asshole and thought the caliber of the chefs would not be up to snuff like the big cities offers. Luckily, I was wrong. Very wrong.
I was serendipitously sent an email mentioning a dinner that was happening in a few short days put on by a chef in Iowa City, Chris Grebner. I quickly found the information and number to call, and snagged the last two slots available. (Then I sent a mean email to close friends taunting them that I had moved faster than they had to get these tickets- aha!) It was at this moment that I stopped and realized, a food experience I had always hoped for was at my finger tips and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
The dinner was held at a pheasant farm just south of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. A short drive past Riverside, and down a few country roads and we found ourselves at Highland Hideaway Hunting. The parking lot was full, and we were the last to arrive. (Notice a trend here? Pathetic. Get it together.) With a purse full of booze of every variety, after being warned to bring our own, we selected the last two open seats, leaving one solo attendee on my left.
Highlights included the following:
The brother of the Chef sat next to me.
The fresh peaches from Sass’s farm for the first course.
The pheasant roulade was technically fascinating and delicious; and I had no idea barley could taste that good.
The freshly baked bread by a guy who works at FUEL and Lincoln Cafe in Mt. Vernon, partnered with the smoothest squash soup I’ve ever tasted.
The lengthy and technical descriptions Chris pre-empted every course with so you knew what you were tasting and why.
Salted. Caramel. Ice Cream. Nuff said.
Lowlights included the following:
Although I tried it, I ended up skipping most of my second course of pheasant. It wasn’t my favorite and I wasn’t about to threaten my enjoyment of every taste up to this point.
And that was about it…
It would be too cheesy here to say “not going back sooner”
Dinner companions were amazing, hosts were sooo generous. And having the rare opportunity to meet each chef and talk to them about what they spent the whole day working on was the best part.
To see more information on these dinners and events, visit http://www.thefarmerstable.us/#
Full photos will be posted… as soon as they are retrieved from my date’s phone. Last minute of course.