A farm-to-table fresh menu, lights strung for atmosphere above a long, communal table, charmingly decorated, and a venue you would never consider dining at, Farm to Table Dinners are all about community, conversation, surprise, and good food and wine.
When you go to a restaurant or attend a dinner party, you generally know what to expect and who you will be dining with. These farm to table events are all about getting out of your comfort zone, being brave, trying new things and meeting new people. And garden-fresh meals from local farms and purveyors, prepared by a chef that is known as much for his biscuits as he is for his gourmet meals.
I have attended several of these in Waco since October and I fall in love with “the dreamy night” every single time.
Mark, on the other hand, is still not quite as in love with these events as I am. In fact, he would probably tell you he doesn’t enjoy them at all. But because he loves me, (and I secretly think he does enjoy them- at least the conversation-community-part-of-it), he continues to go with me. Love for me or love for the event, either way, I appreciate him letting me drag him to the dreamy evenings.
I read somewhere about farm to table dinners- “diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.”
It is actually hard to get tickets to these events and perhaps that lends some mystery and suspense. When I see the event posted, I am freaking out, stumbling all over myself, trying to click the right buttons and get the tickets paid for. Several have been sold out before I could purchase. When I do purchase the tickets- it’s like a score for me! I become elated!
They are announced on Instagram on the accounts of the hosts and through an email. There are only so many tickets available because each event is intimate.
The actual venue and menu are often announced to the participants the night of the event, all a part of the suspense and magic of the evening. A secret society type of evening. All the secrecy lures you in and is a part of the intrigue.
Described as a restaurant without walls, the Farm to Table Dinner Party, in Waco, are planned by Sara Martin, of Kindred Event Studios and coordinated food and wine are provided by Milo and Waco Wine Shoppe.
I would not call the food classic. The menu is definitely different, which is one aspect of the dinner that is so spectacular. It is not just a dinner party. Something magical really.
Sometimes you really don’t know what you are eating. (which is why Mark isn’t so in love!)
Corey McEntyre, chef and owner of Milo Biscuit Company, plans and implements every detail of the menu according to what is available at the farms he sources, locally in Waco.
Some of the venues that have been used in the past have been outside, among the stars, at the World Hunger Farm and also along the Brazos River. We have even dined on the historic Suspension Bridge. Although it was not a Farm to Table; it was catered by Milo.
The last venue we attended was hosted by Jonathon Martin at his studio, Black Oak Art.
The event was originally supposed to be at Gather, a new store opening in Waco, that is a combination of Black Oak Art’s pottery and Kindred Event Studio’s love of entertaining. Gather, The Art of Hospitality, will be mixing traditional southern hospitality with a modern aesthetic. The store was not ready for hosting with construction still in progress. Owners of Gather, Jonathon and Sara Martin, were disappointed to not host the Farm to Table Dinner at Gather. As was I, because I wrote a story about the new store and I am very excited to shop there. But Black Oak Art was just as dreamy.
Black Oak Art was transformed from a dusty, hand-thrown pottery studio into a perfectly quaint dining atmosphere with a lot of hard work within a very few hours.
The meal included a mixture of hors d’oeuvres, family style shared plates, and composed dishes. There was a wine pairing from David Mayfield Selections and also wine was sold by the glass or bottle.
The menu consisted of Shishito peppers, peaches and ricotta cheese served on rye toasted bread, Eggplant Tartines, Gulf Oyster, watermelon with lemon and thyme, and an heirloom tomato salad. And for the main course, Milo served Berkshire pork tenderloin, herbed baby Yukon potatoes, harissa with wilted red cabbage, red onion, feta, mint, dill, parsley. (I don’t know but it was so delicious!)
The final course, and most beautifully done, was a dessert that consisted of a cheesecake-like Fromage, in a mason jar, overturned with fresh blueberry, Cantaloupe ice and a crunchy topping.
Look how dreamy-and it tasted better than it looked. Apparently, Fromage frais is a creamy soft cheese made with whole or skimmed milk and cream. It is similar to some kinds of quark (WHAT???). It has the consistency of cream cheese, but less fat. (so yay!)
This meal was the best yet that Mark and I have had served to us from Milo. And when I say best yet- I mean that we are not used to trying different, gourmet meals-we are a Morton’s steak and potatoes kind of couple!
As I have said, McEntyre is famous for his homemade biscuits. The recipe has been in the family and comes from Georgia by way of his grandparent.
They serve cheeseburgers on biscuits. Fresh chicken, fried and placed on a biscuit. Sausage on biscuits. (duh?) There are other menu items as well– but the biscuits are a must.
You can try these biscuits I speak of at Milo’s food trucks at three locations in Waco, at the Magnolia Silos, on Webster, behind Heritage Creamery, located at 1125 S. 8th Street, across from Baylor, or on Saturday mornings at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, located at 400 S. University Parks Drive. The menu at the food trucks is just as fresh and sourced from local farmers but has more of a downhome feel. Described on the Milo website as “collaboration between southern comfort food and local farmers”, Milo knows how to serve a biscuit.
I asked Corey why he doesn’t serve his biscuits at these fancy dinners and he said he likes to keep it separate, and different. (Sure…but those biscuits!!)
If you have the opportunity to attend a Farm to Table Dinner, in Waco (or anywhere), I highly recommend it. Truly spectacular and a night to remember. Even if you can’t pronounce the menu. Be brave and try it!! (Mark!!)
love and blessings~dd