I attended the second Pop-Up Restaurant this past Friday at The Children’s Center, in Detroit. What a wonderful time we had!
The chef was, again, Chef Brad Greenhill, and he really outdid himself this time! He wasn’t the only one though! The folks at the Children’s Center really stepped up! The decorations were charming, the menu was eye catching, not to mention mouth watering and the message was compelling!
Just look a this lovely centerpiece!
And this creative use for marshmallows!
It seemed, when I arrived on a very chilly evening in the D, that this was going to be a United Way reunion night. There were many current, and several former co-workers, which kind of made the night feel like an unplanned holiday gathering! I was truly impressed though, at how many of my fellow attendee’s were there because they worked and/or volunteered with the Center. It does such wonderful work, I am so proud of the people I know helping out there! (More about the Center a little further down in the post!)
I don’t know if you can really see the menu so I will give it to you here. So yummy!
Carrot Soup, with harissa, hazelnut dukka and yogurt
Charred cauliflower, with fennel, pomegranate, mint and walnut
Maltagliati, with mushrooms, melted leeks, truffle and yolk
Porchetta, with cannellini beans, arugula, lemon and horseradish
Olive oil cake, gelato, citrus and almond
Let me start from the beginning, with the carrot soup.
Isn’t it pretty? It was fairly surprising, the harissa, which for those of you that haven’t tried it is a Tunisian hot chilli paste, really gave it some perkiness, and the nuts were just wonderful and crunchy against the smooth sweet soup. I think it was my favorite dish of the event.
Next up was a delicious charred cauliflower salad, with the very fresh combination of mint and pomegranate, it was sweet and savory and tart all at the same time, delicious, and pretty to boot!
The next course puzzled some people, and my inner bossiness came out right away. It was a pasta with what I would say was something like a carbonara sauce, except the egg yolk hadn’t been incorporated. The hot noodles were enough to cook the yolk and make a creamy sauce, along with the cheese, but you had to stir the yolk in right away, rather than waiting for everyone to be served. Several people were wondering, I think, why I was rushing them, but it was worth it in the end. Very silky and tasty!
And after stirring
The main course was porchetta (stuffed and roasted pork, Italian style) which I love, although some people were a bit put off by the rind. I gobbled it up. There was a lovely fresh parsley and garlic stuffing, and it was topped by a tart arugula salad, which set off perfectly the fatty roasted pork. Hidden under the pork was a little gem, a lovely stew of cannellini beans, which was exactly the earthy touch the dish needed. All in all a success!
Last, but sincerely not least was a lovely little surprise. Any time I have had olive oil cake, it’s always been a yellow cake flavored with orange. This was a delicious hot chocolate cake, topped with a melted vanilla bean gelato. It was the perfect end to the dinner, a little chocolate, a little creamy gelato. So delicious!
After our dinner, Chef Brad came out to take a bow. Can you see him behind the marshmallows?
The other, truly wonderful thing about the evening was that there were art pieces by the children who come to the center. Some of it would break your heart, for example, there was a painting by a boy who had no friends, and was bullied. It had a big red X painted over it, but he wished that one day he would have a friend! The artwork was both eye catching and beautiful, as well as making you realize that even today, in this society, children are abused and neglected, sometimes right under our noses.
I signed up at the end of the event for a tour, and I really encourage anyone in the Metro Detroit area to do the same. The information for The Children’s Center is below. I hope you have it in your heart to tour the facility and get involved.
The Children’s Center
79 Alexandrine West
Detroit, Michigan 48201
M-TH: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
S: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
M-F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A big thank you to The Center for the invitation, and for the wonderful company, as well as the chance to see the children’s artwork. I truly was touched!