This past Sunday, I attended Scenic City Supper Club‘s A Homemade Southern Supper event, which was presented by Erik and Amanda Niel of Easy Bistro & Bar and Nooga.com at Everlee Farm in East Brainerd, with sponsors Harvested Here and Riverside Wine and Spirits. This was the fifth event in the series, and each one has been unique. This gathering was indeed special, from the inspired menu and curated beverage pairings to the fact that the weather and setting were ideal. It was a warm and very sunny spring day, but with a light breeze that kept things feeling cool and airy. And the barn at Everlee Farm is set on a lush, green lawn beside a tranquil pond, providing a gorgeous setting for the occasion.
This iteration of the Supper Club was a collaboration among a number of accomplished members of Chattanooga’s creative community. James Beard Award-nominated chef Daniel Lindley of Chattanooga’s Alleia and 5th & Taylor in Nashville anchored the team, which also saw artful contributions from Michelle Richards, sommelier at St. John’s; Jason Greer, executive chef at Canyon Grill; Ashley Bottoms, pastry chef at Clumpies Ice Cream; Trent Brockie, owner of The Local Juicery + Kitchen; and Kaitlin Zermeno and Clara Groene, owners of Petaline Floral.
Of the Supper Clubs I’ve attended, this may have been the best in overall execution. And while the beautiful weather was a lucky break, I think the team deserves a lot of credit for having reached a point where the timing and details seem to just effortlessly flow. As we arrived at the farm, we were offered a welcome “spring sangria” cocktail with Mont Gravet rosé, Lillet blanc, strawberry, rhubarb, thyme and tarragon, with a refreshing probiotic kombucha tea or Yeehaw Brewing‘s Eighty Shilling Scottish ale as alternatives.
The atmosphere was peaceful and serene, and as guests arrived, we sipped our beverages and explored the farm while sampling a variety of hors d’oeuvres, including sausage and cheddar biscuits with chow-chow and Dijon from Lindley; grilled Chesapeake oysters with Main Street Meats lardo and lemon from Greer; and skillet cornbread with spiced honey, bacon pepper jelly and herb butter from Bottoms. Just as some geese flew in and settled on the pond, we moved to the barn’s patio where the table was set for our meal.
The pacing of the dinner was flawless and the food was a delight. The soup course brought us a thick, green gazpacho of cucumber and avocado, paired with “When Doves Cry,” a cocktail in homage to Prince-a mix of Trianon blanco tequila, grapefruit, lime, Stiegl-Radler grapefruit soda and a flourish of Sriracha salt.
The fish course was a remarkable carpaccio of trout from Pickett’s Ranch, mingled with tomatoes, onions, olives, lemon vinaigrette and a garnish of farm-fresh greens and blossoms. This was paired with a lovely and light blend of parellada, macabeo and chardonnay grapes from the Mas Codina winery in Penedes, Spain.
The main course was braised beef from Lake Majestik. Clearly, the knife at my place setting was put there gratuitously, as it was entirely unnecessary; if I just touched the beef, pieces of it melted onto my fork. It was served with sides of wilted ramps and local shiitake mushrooms; roasted turnips, radishes and kale; and mashed potatoes. The course was paired with a pinot noir from the Jérôme Chézeaux winery in Burgundy, France.
The meal was capped off with a fine carrot cake with carrot-ginger sorbet, spiced meringue and pecan crumble, served on a smear of beet with a sauce of cream cheese anglaise. This paired beautifully with an intense, dark dessert sherry made with Pedro Ximénez grapes from the Alvear winery in Spain. I’ve had sherries before, but this Andalusian treat made with dried grapes elevated this wine to a whole new level for me.
Congratulations are due to the entire team that collaborated over this meal. The planners, growers, curators, chefs, creatives and servers-including many incredible volunteers-did an impeccable job of putting together a memorable evening. Chef Erik Niel said in his introductory remarks that this was an opportunity for the creatives in our local dining scene to enjoy camaraderie and companionship while working together in a noncompetitive, supportive environment; and it’s obvious that this is something they thrive on, because this singular evening of food and fellowship was a genuine achievement.
Alice O’Dea has lived in Chattanooga for over 20 years, but was raised among the mucks and dairy farms in rural western New York. She didn’t really learn to cook until midlife. When she’s not puttering around in the kitchen, she enjoys running, cycling, traveling, photography and trying to get food to grow in the backyard of her Highland Park home. You can email her with questions, suggestions or comments at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.