When Cammie from Epicure Catering reached out to me asking if I would be available to photograph this dinner it was truly an honor. The Birds of a Feather dinner began last year and the idea is to celebrate women in the food and beverage industry in Traverse City. So female chefs, servers, bartenders, designers, managers, and more come together to put on a multi-course menu for 60+ guests. The dinner was hosted at one of my very favorite TC spots, The Little Fleet. The menu featured a passed appetizer from Katy Viswat of 7 Monks, an appetizer course from Kristen Karam of K2 Edibles, a salad course from Becky Tranchell of Rose & Fern Cafe, the main course by the season 16 winner of Hell’s Kitchen, Kim Ryan, and the dessert course by Becca Snook of Alliance. Unique cocktails were created by a number of female bartenders, staff members, and owners of local restaurants. The design concept and decor came to life thanks to Darling Botanical and the entire event was supported by a number of other amazing hardworking women. A portion of the proceeds even went to the Women’s Resource Center. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this event. Stay connected via a new FB group for Northern Michigan Women in Hospitality.
When my friend Julie became a mom she was looking for quick, healthy, meal options that didn’t contain any artificial sweeteners or additives. She began making smoothies and pretty soon the idea for her amazing company, The Purple Beet, was born. Now, alongside her husband Ryan and two sweet kiddos, Julie offers smoothie packages that contain only real ingredients. All you have to do is blend them with one cup of a liquid of your choice and that’s it. And there is no ice required because the packages come to you frozen! You can sign up for a smoothie subscription on the website! So when Julie asked me about collaborating with her I was super excited. I get to play with fruits and vegetables and sample 8 different smoothie flavors?! Yes please. We brainstormed the look we were going for, Julie & Ryan created a custom backdrop for this shoot, and then we spent hours carefully styling the ingredients that go into each smoothie recipe. It was so bright and colorful and I always love playing with food ;)
The Gather Series is one of my favorite little slices of Summer. A lavender farm in Northern Michigan, a table full of smiling people, an amazing carefully crafted multi-course meal, and of course wine. Sweetwater Lavender Farm is a magical spot and I feel so lucky every time I get to hang out there. The fantastic vendors for this meal include: Petoskey Cheese, Bear Creek Organic Farm, D&M Design Co., S2S, The Bow Tie Baker. Soak in some Summer vibes....
Thanks to recent press, and their relationship with the sustainable fish distribution company Two X Sea, Nojo has been on my radar as a restaurant to visit for a while. I was finally able to visit earlier this week to photograph some of the pairings between their unique dishes and both Lucky Hand beers.
Nojo has a great story, and is meant to be "a unique neighborhood restaurant specializing in Japanese style skewers and pub food." The word 'nojo' itself means 'farm'... the restaurant emphasizes local, seasonal, and sustainably produced food. They also utilize MANY different parts of the meats they serve. This week, Lucky Hand Black Lager has been paired with a Salad of Beef Tendon, Radishes, Daikon Sprouts, Mung Beans & Kansuri Vinaigrette. I will admit, hearing "beef tendon" threw me, but I like to think of myself as an adventurous eater, so I went for it... and I was amazed. I was worried about the texture. Would it be tough? Chewy? Some other weird consistency I hadn't considered? But it was really like eating a delicious noodle salad. It was probably one of my favorite dishes we sampled.
Speaking of parts I don't normally see on a menu, we also tried duck neck, gizzards, and tongues. This is the kind of eating experience I seriously enjoy and will be back for... a chance to try something new, different, maybe slightly bizarre, but ultimately awesome and delicious.
In my mind Japanese food has pretty much become synonymous with sushi, udon noodles, and tempura. This is unfortunate because, clearly, there is a LOT more to explore. Left: Fried Potatoes, Tonkatsu Sauce, Scallions, Mayonnaise & Shaved Katsuo Bushi. Right: Tsukune, Egg Yolk Sauce (chicken).
Left: Lucky Hand Black Lager. Right: The infamous (at least in my mind) Beef Tendon Salad.