Gro a Bucket List Meal
The vegetable buffs behind Hot and Hot Fish Club (2180 11th. Ct. S., 205-933-5474) in Birmingham, Alabama, husband-and-wife duo chef Chris Hastings and Idie have garnered accolades, including the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the South, for their menus inspired by the local harvest and artisans of every kind. However, it’s their seasonal tomato salad and pickled okra that landed them on the state’s “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” list. As epicurean bucket lists go, this specialty is only available during summer in the restaurant, but savvy growers can re-create it at home with local heirloom tomatoes or ripe red tomatoes. To inspire others, chef Hastings shares his seasonal recipes online.
Gro a Legendary Brunch
A decade and a half ago, Lula Café (2537 North Kedzie Blvd., 773-489-9554) opened in a small storefront with just a four-burner home stove and some secondhand pots and pans. Today, it’s grown into one of the most respected eateries in Chicago now encompassing three storefronts. A founding member of the Logan Square culinary community and a forerunner of Chicago’s farm-to-table movement, it has become a mecca for visiting chefs, intrepid foodies, and other individuals passionate about the art of eating. Casual, yet sophisticated, the convivial atmosphere complements its legendary brunch (think: blueberry cheese cake bread pudding French toast), as well as one-off, farm dinners each Monday. Back home you can grow some blueberries and try to re-create its fantastic brunch dishes—before dreaming up your own.
Gro Creativity in Your Community
Just off the pedestrian Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado, Black Cat (1964 13th St., 303-444-5500) almost exclusively sources from chef Eric Skokan’s own, 130-acre organic farm just outside the city. As the seasons shift, so does the menu of creative dishes, like a beet and potato napoleon or duck breast roasted in fennel honey. Growing some 250 heirloom and heritage cultivars, ranging from regional classics to exotics, Skokan provides himself with a bounty of daily inspiration. Despite running one of the most buzzed-about eateries in town, on Saturday mornings, you’ll still find him and his wife, Jill, manning a booth at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market, where he doles out recipes, cooking tips, and stories about the farm.