This past Tuesday I had the honor of joining in the fun at Urban Acres Third Annual Stewards Dinner as a guest of Chipotle. The evening took place at the recently opened Cafe Momentum space in the heart of downtown Dallas and was filled to the brim with the smiling faces of foodies from near and far, local purveyors and of course, world famous author and alternative farmer, Joel Salatin who as the evenings special guest.
After a lovely cocktail hour with passed bites by Matt Ford and Greg Bussey of Americano in The Joule, a brief introduction by the folks at Urban Acres and an explanation of how the evening would go down, it was time to eat!
The first course was presented by Cafe Momentum Chef de Cuisine, Chef Eric Shelton. Partnering with Executive Director of Cafe Momentum and Chef Chad Houser, a beautiful red leaf salad was presented to each diner. The salad was the perfect transition of Winter to Spring flavors with the nuttiness of the farro and the crispness of the vegetables.
Chef Julian Barsotti of Nonna took charge of the second course, tortellini ala ragu – made with lots of porky parts and fresh, handmade pasta. This dish was a sheer winner of the night and patrons were practically licking their plates within minutes of the plates arriving.
The third course was tag teamed by Chef Graham Dodds of Hibiscus and Sharon Hage of Farm to Fork Consulting. Together they created an incredible dish consisting of lamb that had been braised in local honey, accompanied by some fresh veggies and a feta-yogurt sauce. One guest at the table I was sitting at described the dish as “lamb pot roast,” and I couldn’t have agreed more.
For the fourth and final course of the evening, the genius behind Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Katherine Clapner, presented her take on strawberries and cream. Baking fresh strawberries and then combining that with a delicious rice pudding topped with local honey and her own granola, she took the guests tastebuds on an adventure that only she could create.
At the end of the incredible meal, Joel Salatin gave an impressive and thought-provoking speech which was the perfect way to segue to Wednesday’s big event, the Sol Conference! As a first time guest at The Stewards Dinner, it reminded me how important not only what we put into our bodies is but how product is raised or farmed to begin with. I can’t wait for the many more years to come of Urban Acres Stewards Dinner and of course, the Sol Conference sponsored by Chipotle!