What pairs well with Roquefort? The question nagged at Amy Morton, owner of Found Kitchen and Social House in Evanston, as she worked on the menu for the restaurant’s innovative, 8-course, cheese degustation on March 1. When the announcement of the event was sent via e-blast to the people on the restaurant’s mailing list, Morton said the response was "enthusiastic."
“Our regulars are adventurous, and they expect us to do something that isn’t being done everywhere else,” she observes. “It’s who we are.”
“Who we are” begins with the restaurant’s seating, clusters of traditional two and four- top tables interspersed with a mix of upholstered chairs and sofas arranged in conversation- friendly groupings. Factor in a comfortable decibel level and a creative menu that encourages sharing, and “who we are” is a venue with a clientele that shares the owner’s delight in trying something new.
Morton says she wanted to do a cheese dinner that was all about the cheese for a long time. But it wasn’t until she connected with Lisa Futterman at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread, & Wine, a multi-venue purveyor known for the variety and quality of its repertoire, that she had a simpatico partner.
What Morton and Futterman didn’t want to do was a dinner built around cheese-centric dishes. A composed salad focused on an “award winning goat cheese from California” and a mac and cheese made with a “vibrant Irish cheddar” weren’t going to cut it.…not this time.
This time, each of the eight courses is built around a world class cheese partnered with an outstanding wine and appropriate accompaniments. The Spanish Manchego, for example, is served with tapenade, serrano ham, and a 2008 “Gran Reserva” Rioja, while the goat milk Gouda from Holland is paired with oat cake, an apricot drizzle and a Washington state Viognier.
As for the Roquefort, it didn’t make the cut. In the end, the perfect pairing proved elusive. “Maybe next time,” Morton says. “I’m still working on it.”
Found Kitchen & Social House, 1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL 847/ 868-8945.
Check out the restaurant’s website for a calendar of upcoming events. firstname.lastname@example.org