One Hundred-Mile Dinner at Epiphany Cafe (National Food Day)

by Sarah on October 25, 2013 · 6 comments

October 24th is National Food Day: a day of celebrating and promoting healthy, affordable, and sustainable food for and throughout the entire country.cropped-food-day-logo3

As part of the movement, the University of Alabama Environmental Council sponsored a 100-Mile Dinner at Epiphany Cafe–a farm-to-fork restaurant here in Tuscaloosa (and site of the inspirational Roasted Cauliflower Soup I blogged about this week).IMG_6819 (1024x685)

The theme of a 100-Mile Dinner, as may be deduced from its moniker, is a menu entirely composed of food sourced from within a 100-mile radius.  Money from the dinner funds continued efforts by the U.A. Environmental Council on behalf of the Real Food Challenge.


Donations from local farmers, and the generosity of the staff and chefs at Epiphany, made for an absolutely delightful evening. [To be honest, this type of dinner, and this type of cause, are what I miss the most about Austin.]food-day-goals

My friend Leigh-Ann and I arrived to a crowd of people outside, and quickly nabbed seats in the dining room. Food was served family style and seating was similar to a ‘community table’ dinner (both of which I adore). We were lucky enough to find ourselves at a table of six with just two other diners, meaning a higher food-to-person ratio for us. :)

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A first course of local radishes, with homemade local butter, olive oil, and an herb puree had me rethinking my dislike of radishes.

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Or maybe it was just–as our tablemate Elliot so eloquently statedI wanted to take a bath in that butter (so anything I could dip into it was suddenly seen in a different light)

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The surprise course–and the one we kept talking about after every subsequent dish–was a dish of local sweet potatoes atop coffee creme fraiche, with apricot puree and some sort of soy drizzle (maybe).

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Local herb roasted squash came from a local farmer who was at the dinner, and whom both Leigh Ann and I name as one of our favorites at the Saturday market. [Tasting this led to a brief commentary on terrior, as we knew without a doubt, based solely on its flavor, that it had come from his farm.]IMG_6865 (1024x682)

“I have never had kale so good,” was the refrain from the other end of our table, perhaps due to what our tablemate Caroline called “magic soy.”IMG_6869 (1024x683)

Of course, the ‘conversion-worthy’ crispy roasted pork belly probably helped a little bit. [And that conversion? That was me sweeping aside vegetarianism for just a few of those crispy ends.]IMG_6867 (1024x683)

The only dish I didn’t dive into was the ricotta gnocchi with tomato beef ragu. [I nibbled on the gnocchi–very light and airy–but I didn’t want to push my vegetation-focused enzymes too much.]IMG_6884 (1024x683)

Last–but certainly anticipated, as we could see the golden bounty emerging from the kitchen–was the fried Windy Hill catfish with farm egg tarter sauce and smoked beer slaw.IMG_6894 (1024x683)

This was cooked to absolute perfection, with fry that almost fell off it was so flaky. The only thing missing? Ketchup. 😉 [What is it about anything fried that automatically conjures ketchup cravings?]IMG_6897 (1024x683)

We didn’t have an opportunity to sample from Epiphany’s desserts–which include ginger lemon creme brulee--but we left perfectly content and happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better evening: great food, great friends, great cause.