Made possible by FamilyFarmed.org, an organization that forges bonds between locally grown food and the people who grow, sell, and eat it, the Good Food Festival & Conference lets Chicagoans participate in the locally driven Good Food movement. Coming from all over the Midwest, 150 farmers and artisans display their healthily unprocessed bounties while debunking widespread myths that the freshest fruit grows in cans, and chef demos from Frontera Grill?s Rick Bayless, Perennial Virant?s Paul Virant, and Nightwood?s Jason Vincent celebrate the spectacle of cooking. Young chefs can exercise creative muscles and artsy tendons at the children?s corner, which features face painting, a scavenger hunt, and an arts and crafts session. Scheduled workshops, such as Growing a Community Garden or Brew Your Own Kombucha and Sodas, teach casual eaters about their deep-seated connections to the things they chew (additional workshop fees apply).
A little corner of Mississippi stands in southeast Inglewood. An unassuming space on Crenshaw hosts M&M Soul Food, which recreates a huge menu of southern favorites from 8 a.m. through dinnertime seven days a week. Chefs load up plates with meatloaf, smothered pork chops, barbecue ribs, and fried seafood, among other soul-food staples. Then, of course, there are the sides—three of them per dinner plate, not counting the plump corn muffins. The menu also incorporates many dishes that can be hard to find outside a southern grandma's kitchen, such as liver and onions, chitterlings, ox tail, turkey wings, and oyster loaf. Cakes, cobblers, banana pudding, and potato pie obliterate the danger that someone might accidentally walk out with a little belly space left empty. In addition to standard combinations of grits, pancakes, and omelettes, breakfast hours hold out less-common dishes such as eggs with catfish or smoked beef links.
Zuri Wine Tasting's wine enthusiast Tuanni Price and her staff travel far and wide to introduce groups to their new favorite vintages. During in-home tastings, customers can create candy-cane-colored lips with the help of reds and whites such as pinot noir, syrah, and riesling. After setting up a wine bar with the night's choices and glasses, specialists offer information about each selection along with pours. Light snacks such as crackers, cheeses, and chocolate cleanse palates between sips and intertwine delicately with the nuanced wine flavors.
In the past, Zuri Wine Tasting has also organized special events such as blindfolded wine tastings and tastings paired with movie screenings. Wine tours chauffeur groups on a motor coach from Los Angeles to Solvang, where they enjoy a mimosa brunch followed by a tasting at Rideau Vineyard.
Personal trainer Nicole Williams founded Allure Dance & Fitness Studio to bring clients closer to their health goals through fitness classes, personal-training sessions, and intense, empowering pole-dancing lessons. Having dubbed the pole "the new dumbbell," Nicole now draws on more than 10 years of experience training everyone from housewives to celebrities as she brings full-body pole workouts to the masses. Nicole and her coterie of instructors specialize in pole dancing, but also lead personal-training sessions and classes that incorporate kickboxing, plyometric, and cardio techniques. Along with classes, Allure hosts private pole parties to sprinkle some spice into birthdays, bachelorette parties, and routine training for streetlight cleaners.
Since 2000, the baker at Sweet Red Peach has been churning out a mélange of treats from scratch, including custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies, with accolades such as an appearance on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars and winning third-place in the LA Cupcake Challenge. Cake flavors include white confetti, red velvet, german chocolate, and 7-Up—a bakery specialty featuring buttery, lemon-tinged pound cake. Southern-inspired desserts include peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, and banana pudding—a menu standout made with fresh bananas, homemade custard, fresh cream, pudding extract, and vanilla wafers. The bakery also doles out cookies in varieties that include chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, and classic sugar.
Few cities are as celebrated for their cuisine as New Orleans, a fact the chefs at Bourbon Street Fish relish in as they grill fillets of red snapper and fry up tender wings of chicken. Po'boys stuffed with spicy sausage, shrimp, and oysters call to mind the tapestry of cultures that influenced Louisiana, while multicolored beads and Mardi Gras finery evoke images of costumed krewes, blaring Dixieland jazz processions, and tourists pretending to know the words to "Iko, Iko". Catering packages bring feasts of fish, French bread, and gumbo to client's doorsteps, while events such as Steve Harvey's Hoodie Awards and New Orleans Saints viewing parties draw accolades from visiting foodies and crowds of homesick Louisianans.