Brrr. It was brisk — and getting brisker — so the smart folks bundled up for The Long Table Dinner in the 100 block of Central Street.
Dining al fresco when the temperature is dipping into the 40s might not seem like such a good idea, but the alcohol helped.
The occasion was the recent Sunday evening Long Table Dinner set up in the middle of Central Street in Knoxville’s Old City. This semi-annual event benefits a different nonprofit each time. It was a sell-out at $125 per head, benefiting River & Rail Theatre Company, which is raising money to renovate a space at 111 State St., and turn it into the Old City Performing Arts Center.
The Long Table Dinners are a group effort. This one involved chefs Jeff Carter from the now closed Crown & Goose, Blake Sallie of Paysan Bread, Jesse Newmister of Tako Taco, Jeffrey DeAlejandro of OliBea and Paul Sellas of Rebel Kitchen. Additionally, wine was provided by the Old City Wine Bar, beer by Pretentious Beer Company, liquor by PostModern Spirits, coffee by Vienna Coffee Company and music by Jig & Reel.
But first, cocktails. Or, in this case, hot toddies!
Steve Jenkins and Mickey Ketron enjoying the warmups.
Each toddy contained spiced apple cider with UpRoot gin and chamomile liqueur.
Here are those ingredients. (Who ever heard of chamomile liqueur?)
Logan Mahan, center, with Amelia and Joshua Peterson. They all are with River & Rail Theatre Company. (By the way, tickets are on sale now for the group’s Christmas play, “The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby.” Get tix here: https://www.unusualtale.com/)
From left, John Cherry, Jed Diamond and Liz Stowers.
From left, Bonna Nash, Mary Ellen Brewington, Eddie Mannis, Blake Gibson and Archie Ellis.
These passed cheese pastries by Chef Jeff Carter were fantastic.
Darrien Thomson and Chyna Brackeen.
From left, Dr. Bedford Waters, Jim Harness, Rick Kennedy and Gay Lyons.
Carolyn and Chad Boetger.
Kim Henry, left, and Cindy Blackburn.
Katy Wolfe and Joshua Peterson.
Time to sit!
Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro with wife, Krissy, and son, Oliver. (She wisely brought a blanket!)
You can’t beat Paysan Bread! We buy some every Saturday at Market Square Farmers’ Market.
Ian Bolden serving beer — Saison Saisoff — from Pretentious Beer Company. We also had wine, a 2016 Sauron Verdejo from Rueda, Spain. It was a light organic white wine that I really liked.
Matthew Cummings of Pretentious Beer made a few remarks. Eddie Mannis, right, was the emcee for the evening.
I stuck my head into the Crown & Goose where Chef Paul Sellas was helping with plating of the first course.
The Crown & Goose also was the designated restroom stop. I liked the way they handled the tricky gender situation!
Meanwhile, back out on the street, Brad Poyner was bringing more beer — “Perpetual Dreams of Strawberry” — from Pretentious Beer Company.
And the first course, by Chef Jesse Newmister, was served.
It was a pork and elderberry galantine served atop braised kale with toasted sunflower seeds, a soda bread crostini, buttered popcorn veloute and a cherry cola glace. Yep. Pretty darn good. The strawberry flavored beer was a perfect match for the cherry cola glace.
Chef Newmister making a few remarks about his dish.
Sue and John Clark were sitting beside us.
It was about this time that Alan Carmichael, my sweet husband, decided he wanted a bottle of red wine. (Healthier than beer or white wine, he insists.)
Fortunately, our table was set up right outside a wine store!
Mark Herzfeldt-Kamprath helped him find a perfect bottle.
So, it cost $48. Small price for health and happiness.
Get a load of the second course by Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro! It was served with a 2017 Cortijo Rioja rosado, an interesting rose.
It had a smoked North Carolina trout crouquette served in a cannellini bean and sweet potato puree, with yellow beet and ginger salsa verde, and amaranth, which is that grain in the bowl. Oh, and, get this – a duck fat roll!
Chef DeAlejandro explaining the amazing dish before us.
Some of our nearby dinner mates, Diane and Jim Rocco.
By this time, it was getting dark and very chilly. Perfect time for Chef Paul Sellas’ beef course, don’t you think?
This was Mitchell Farm beef strip served with celery three ways, onion soubise and homemade steak sauce. Wine was a 2016 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem from Pays d’Herault, France.
Chef Paul Sellas at the microphone.
Sommelier Matt Burk of Old City Wine Bar talked about the wines.
Dessert was a S’mores kit: handmade graham crackers and marshmallows with unrefined chocolate called “Salty Guatemala” by Unrefined Chocolate of Knoxville.
To go with the s’mores: Roggenrauch German Rye Ale from Pretentious Beer.
Some folks made their s’mores on the handy fire pits provided.
All night, the music provided by the Jig & Reel was great. Here’s a short sample: