For the final dinner of our 2019 Friends of the Café series, we hosted James Beard Award-winning chef Tandy Wilson for a special evening that combined savory with sweet and included personal touches to each dish. Benefitting Project Threadways, the evening featured a brief discussion of Project Threadways by Carolyn Barske, director of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, and an acoustic performance by singer-songwriter Caleb Elliot accompanied by musician Kimi Samson.

Cocktail hour began with passed hors d’oeuvres of gnocchi fritto with tomato conserva, crostini with peanut crema topped with chicken crackling and mint, and crispy meatballs with jezebel. Accompanying drinks included The Fall Indulgence, featuring prosecco and apple cider garnished with rosemary and an apple slice, and ale graciously donated by Blackberry Farm Brewery.

For the first course, guests enjoyed sour corn cake with roasted yellow squash, mint, chilies, sumac, and seeds. The course also featured roasted octopus, soup beans, charged cabbage, bacon, chilies, garlic, and bread crumbs paired with house-made mozzarella on a plate of hearty greens with alici and breadcrumbs.

The second course brought a spaghetti “cacio e pepe” with roasted vegetable ragu, fried bread, parmesan, and parsley.

The third course consisted of roasted pork loin with Nana’s Marinade (recipe below), cauliflower, pomegranate, almonds, parsley and red onion.

The evening concluded with a dessert course of apple crostada with oat pecan streusel.

Thank you to Caleb Elliot, Kimi Samson, Carolyn Barske, our team at The Factory, Tandy Wilson, and all our guests who came together to create a beautiful evening.

Tandy graciously shared his Nana’s Marinade recipe with us to share. 

Nana’s Marinade

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup pineapple juice

3 tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. sriracha

3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp. fish sauce

Blend all ingredients well.

“My Nana used this on chicken all the time, it was delicious every time. It’s also one of those family recipes that wasn’t as well documented as it should have been. As these things go we now have many versions of Nana’s chicken and this is mine. It’s best to marinate over night, and I love it as much on pork as I do chicken. I prefer this recipe for grilling and smoking.”

-Tandy Wilson


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