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.

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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.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I want beer slaw. Ketchup would have ruined that!!!

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Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate October 26, 2013 at 1:28 am

This dinner, cause, food, everything, sounds right up my alley. I’m going to go ahead and die of envy now. I’m glad you enjoyed!

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Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli October 26, 2013 at 11:19 am

As your fellow condiment aficionado and #strangebutgood ginger twin, I have to agree with Laura on this one, ketchup would have totally ruined that amazing-sounding slaw! But what I really want is that sweet potato! Coffee creme frachie?! Omg, would have been worth every grumble from this lactose-fearing tummy for sure! Sounds like an incredible night…and I love the added commentary from the other diners! :)

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Brittany @ Freckled Nettles October 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Your event was such a great, unique way to bring a wholesome meal together. If only I lived in a town, like yours, that genuinely appreciated sustainable food! Like Gina, I am going to die of envy! Hope you’re enjoying the weekend, Sarah :)

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GiGi Eats Celebrities October 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I have a new respect for catfish, and it’s all thanks to the Whole Foods I live nearby. They make the BEST CAJUN catfish on the face of the planet, I dream about it. LOL

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Melissa @ Treats With a Twist October 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Sounds like SO much fun! There are several things there that I would never eat or order, yet due to the fun event, I definitely would’ve given them a try!

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