Tag Archives: Tammy’s Tastings

TT Super Club: Fundraiser for The Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project

Ann Arbor Food

I have attended several charity dinner parties host by Tammy Coxen of TT Super Club. I was always a guess for those events, but this time I had the honor of helping host the event to support my local food project The Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project. The idea around the Sugar Beet Project is to bring back local home garden non-gmo/organic sugar beet growing, and home sugar beet sugar making. Growing beets, and making beet sugar was a tradition that most Michiganders used to do. Sugar was not alway the cheap, and easily available product it is today. I and several other gardeners and farmers are growing sugar beets with the hope to produce sugar from them. The further goal is to increase our production in order to provide a viable source of local, non-gmo (and even organic) Brand of Michigan Beet Sugar.

We raised $316 for the project. The money will go toward securing more non-gmo seed, and purchasing equipment for sugar making like a juicer extractor, a large stock pot, a seltzer bottle, milk of lime, and a large food grade container.

I also brought over two trays of sugar beet starts, which I am happy to say were all planted.

Here are the pics from the meal:

Ann Arbor Food

Raspberry Gazpacho

Ann Arbor Food

Salad of Haricot Verts w/chive oil, Tomato Tartare, Microgreens

Ann Arbor Food

Fave Bean Agnoletti w/curry emulsion

Ann Arbor Food

Rabbit Rillette, warm potatoes, w/shallot vinaigrette, and home pickled vegetable

Ann Arbor Food

Bison Tenderloin, w beets, blueberries, and fennel

Ann Arbor Food

fresh Mozzarella, Banon Capriole, Fiore Sardo, Blue d’Auvergne, w/pickled raisins, creamed raw honey, and sour cherry perserves

Ann Arbor Food

Chocolate Layer Cake w/ganache frosting, edivle flowers w/brandied cherry vanilla ice cream

Ann Arbor Food

Carbonated Cherries, date walnut cake with Rooibos-Orange Shortbread

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Restaurant Hosted Local Food Charity Events: It’s a small wins for Local Food

I have listed two local food charity events this month on my Events page. One is on March 29th host by Seva in Ann Arbor, a vegetarian restaurant landmark. The other is at The Grange Kitchen and Bar on March 30th. Both will donate a portion of the nights proceeds to benefit a Local Food organization. The Grange is donating to  Growing Hope. These are starting to become ongoing events, and an opportunity to support local food institutions, while having a great meal.

Lake Perch at the Grange Kitchen and Bar

I wrote a post a few months ago about how charity/fundraiser dinners say in the form of secret supper clubs like Bona Sera, privately hosted tasting menu events like Tammy’s Tastings, and “Breakfast Clubs,” like fridays@selma provide an opportunity to enjoy locally sourced prepared meals. My hope was that other local food cooks would take up the call and start more of these local food venues to create a grassroots locally sourced and prepared meals. The idea was to transform our kitchen tables into micro, one time or ongoing, local food restaurants.

But I never thought about the obvious, which is why not also ask an already established restaurant to host a charity meal night? The Grange Kitchen and Bar for example donates 10% of their Tuesday sales to a local food organization.

"Pig's Head appetizer at the Grange Kitchen and Bar

I love this idea for a few reasons. For one it does not take that much extra work in order to set these events up. A simple posting on the restaurants web site and say an announcement by the organization receiving the charity is about all the promotion that is needed. 

The other factor is the price. Many charity/fundraiser meals tend to be on the pricy side, and for good reason. The idea is to raise money, and in order to do that expenses and more have to be met in order to collect funds for donation. Some of these local meals can range from $50-$150 or up to $500, which can price me out of these dinners especially if I want to bring Emily along.

I try to attend a few of these events a year to have a special food experience, but more often I do not because of price. I still regret being priced out of the Portland Oregon Farmers Market dinner every year when I lived there.

 I do not want to be negative about these fundraising dinners. There are plenty of people who can afford to attend these dinners, and provide their yearly charitable donation dollars with their attendance. And the meals at Tammy’s, Bona Sera and fridays@selma are better than what can be found at even the best restaurant, and the money collected goes to worthy causes.

What stands out with the Restaurant charity/fundraiser dinner model for me is the minimal/average cost. A meal at Seva can run $10-20 per person, and at the Grange $20-35 for say an entree. I feel these price ranges may open up more people to attend a charity/fundraiser dining event. There may be less money raised per diner, but there may be more diners participating to perhaps equal things out.

Spicy Fried Chick Pea appetizer at Grange Kitchen and Bar

I see the restaurant charity/fundraiser dinners movement as a great small start win for the local food movement. I tend to think of the BIG WIN like an entirely locally sourced restaurant, bigger farmers markets, or better yet a locally sourced region restaurant chain. But in thinking of the big win, I over look the small win like a restaurant hosting a once a month locally sourced menu, or even just featuring a locally sourced weekend dinner special.

Asking a restaurant or a chef to go all/mostly local can be an overwhelming proposition. But asking a chef to take on a locally sourced menu for a night can be a fun challenge, and one which an adventurous chef may take on. And if a local food night is successful and supported, the chef might do it again, even if they are not known as a local food place.

In other words, just about any independent restaurant from large or small, high end or burger/sandwich joint, can be a potential venue for the local food movement charity/fundraiser meal, or at least feature a local menu item like a local sandwich special, or salad.

The big local push in Ann Arbor is for a %10 locally sourced food goal (see 10 percent Washtenaw) A large portion of food is eaten out, so in order to reach this goal, I feel that we will need to get more restaurants to offer some locally sourced food. The charity/fundraiser dinner event can be a way to convince other independent food service establishments to get a taste for going local, while supporting local food/garden organizations. These venues could create a larger demand for locally sourced foods, which in turn will motivate the creation of more locally sourced food suppliers.

Related posts

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/charity-dinners-at-home-the-rising-star-in-the-local-food-movement/

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/selma-cafe-charity-dinner-by-tammys-tastings/

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/tammys-tastings-dining-for-charity-in-ann-arbor/

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/bona-sera-secret-supper-club-night-of-a-1000-drag-queens/

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/breakfast-selma-crew/

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/the-grange-kitchen-and-bar/

 

Selma Cafe: Charity Dinner by Tammy’s Tastings

Another great meal, created and hosted by Tammy Coxen of Tammys Tastings. This meal was to support the Selma Cafe which hosts friday morning meals. Also in attendance was the creators of the  Bona Sera Secret Supper Club. So many local foodies in one place.

My first batch of pea shoot, microgreens were ready, and I brought them along for people to try. Tammy included them with her first course, a mushroom tart. The pea shoots provided a fresh, sweet balance to the richness of the tart. The microgreens were a hit. Jeff McCabe, one of the creators of Selma Cafe who is also hosting the Home Grown Festival, offered me a table at the festival to sample and promote my microgreens. Hope to see you there. The event is in two weeks and he says that there could be 3000 people in attendance. I thought about my microgreen mini farm that currently consists of eight trays in my backyard and realized I have to get a lot more trays going to prepare for this event.

The Meal: It was all great. Big stand outs were the mushroom tarts, the carrot soup with Iranian pistachios, the lamb chop, and the Panna Cotta with peaches, which left us all speechless.

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms Tart (w/pea shoot microgreens)

Ann Arbor Food

Heirloom Tomato Napoleon w/basil oil and fresh mozzarella

Ann Arbor Food

Carrot Soup w/Iranian pistachios, hazelnut oil, maple syrup and chives

Ann Arbor Food

Salad w/roasted fennel and beets

Ann Arbor Food

Confit Byaldi w/lake trout, w/ herb oil

Ann Arbor Food

Lamb Rib Chop w/cassoulet of summer beans

Ann Arbor Food

Cheese Plate w/raw honey, marinated raisins, and preserves

Ann Arbor Food

Panna Cotta w/poached peaches and balsamic vinegar

Ann Arbor Food

Petit Fours

Ann Arbor Food


Tammy’s Tastings: Dining for Charity in Ann Arbor

I just attended a great dinner party hosted by Tammy Coxens of Tammy’s Tastings. The party was created as an intimate dinner party fundraiser to benefit the non-profit organization, Growing Hope.  There were only eight guests at the party who were seated around the table in Tammy’s house. The cost was a fifty dollar minimum donation, but you can donate more if you wish. All of the proceeds after the cost of food will be donated to Growing Hope.

The meal was incredible. The menu and pictures of each of the nine courses are below. Tammy cooks with fresh local ingredients gathered from farmers market, the gardens located at her co-housing development. She uses locally sourced cheese and dairy and even herbs growing in front of her house. Each dish perfectly complimented the next. Tammy introduced each item which added a nice touch to the event. I felt like one of the honored foodie guest we see on those Top Chef shows.

For those who drink, there was a bring your own wine policy. Many people brought a bottle. I am not a drinker, but several other guest freely shared their wine. The meal was very casual. There was a break halfway through the meal and several of us took a tour throw the co-housing developments gardens. This meal was a wonderful dining experience with food on par to an upscale restaurant, or even better. I prefer this casual dinner party setting than a busy restaurant any day. The idea of hosting charity dinner parties is a gem. I hope gatherings like Tammy’s Tastings becomes a growing trend in the local food movement across the country.

The Menu:

Cauliflower Panna Cotta w/Salmon Roe

Ann Arbor Food

Sauteed Squash w/ Blossoms

Ann Arbor Food

Corn Soup w/Bacon

Ann Arbor Food

Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella: with 40 year old balsamic vinaigrette and basil oil

Ann Arbor Food

Salmon-Dill-Potato Pancakes: with mix salad greens and edible flowers

Ann Arbor Food

Pork Tenderloin w/Tomato-Peach Compote and Collard Greens

Ann Arbor Food

Cheese Course: Aged Goat Cheese, Gouda, Gorgonzola: with raw cream honey, blueberries, marinaded raisins and a spicy orange compote

Ann Arbor Food

Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ Beet Ice Cream

Ann Arbor Food

Petit Fours: Blueberry Pate de Fruit (jelly candy) and Yuzu Truffle

Ann Arbor Food