Wednesday, July 30, 2008

good, clean, fair

A few nights ago I attended a dinner event at Uncommon Ground here in Chicago. The event was entirely based on local farms and products, with Seedling Farm being the main producer. I cannot express how excited I am about how gorgeous this dinner was, how amazing their roof top garden is (complete with honey bees!) or how much I stand behind their decisions of how to do business. The evening started with a tour of their garden on the roof, custom built boxes line the edges and then fill the center of a very large space and contain everything from Pruden's Purple Tomatoes to Chocolate Peppers to a Chicago Fig tree (which is built for our nasty winters!). They served sangria with some sort of beautiful gingerale in it and passed mini crostinis with proscuitto and cherries, lettuce wraps with fresh veggies and some sort of croquetta made with pork. After letting the sun soak into our skin and the plant beds, we went downstairs to the dining room and began the four course dinner.

I've scanned the menu in for you to see, the salmon was out of this world and came out on planks of cherry or pear wood! The first pairing was a house-made melon infused North Shore Vodka with a proscuitto rim, so perfect and lovely.

More so even than the food, what I enjoyed the most was the passion that Helen and Michael Cameron have for their restaurant and for sustainability. It was inspiring to see all the chefs come out from the kitchen to be introduced to the diners and appreciated for their amazing work. Seeing the gardeners and farmers enjoying dinner with everyone, the community made at this dinner, was refreshing. There was really good food, without any of the pretension that sometimes accompanies this type of event. The attention to practices that they can stand behind and speak elegantly about made it worth it for me to be there. I thoroughly recommend dining at either of the Uncommon Ground restaurants in the city and supporting the kind food we all should be eating, the kind that is good, clean and fair.


nancoise said...

Hi Natalie! I hope you got my email "If you knew Sushi, like I new Sushi". I thought you'd enjoy the article. I am so thrilled to hear how you've been introduced to the gastronomic world of sustatainable cuisine. Madeleine and I had a 5 day mother daughter extravanganza and after, when she left to go to camp, I dined for the third time at my favorite restaurant there called Blue Hill, Look it up. The chef, Dan Barber, is the epitome of the East Coast version of my hero Alice Waters. The food was tremendous and all came from the local farm upstate called Stone Hill.
We miss you and hope to hear about your next plans.

Add "Three Cups of Tea" to your reading list as well as "Eat, Pray, Love". Not sure if you read the latter but it is tremendous.

Much love,
Aunt Nancy

nancoise said...

Forgot to add the location of my trip with Madeleine - NYC!