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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