On December 10, I visited the tiny, cutesy-nostalgic Parks and Rec Diner in downtown Detroit, but I wasn’t there to scarf down some biscuits and gravy or some of its other scrumptious-sounding breakfast fare. I was there for a very special dinner – a pop-up dinner to benefit an awesome local farm, Melo Farms! It is a Yale-based pig farm run by a husband-and-wife team who raises a heirloom breed one hundred percent the humane way: truly free-range, organic, grass-fed, and treated with compassion. Melo Farms has been holding monthly pop-up dinners hosted by different chefs and at different venues in the Detroit area to help raise money for a new tractor. December’s dinner was crafted by the young and talented Chef Larissa Pope, who had us dining on five courses featuring various components of Melo Farms’ pork, including:
-A mixed greens salad with rich and crispy jowl bacon, a fried egg, pomegranate seeds, and a bacon fat and apple cider vinaigrette!
-Pork pâté (my first experience with pâté!) arranged in a lovely plating with a cranberry Cumberland sauce, pickled mustard seeds, and toasted brioche!
-Tender and juicy pork loin with potato gratin, foraged mushrooms and pork jus!
Both seatings of the dinner – we went to the earlier one – were sold out, but given the size of Parks and Rec, ours was a small, intimate-feeling affair. The five-course meal was inventive and delicious, and it felt great to support a farm that is doing the good work and raising its animals well.
To learn more about Melo Farms (which sells its cuts of pork every Saturday at Eastern Market) and to get on its mailing list to become aware of future pop-up dinners, check out its site: www.melofarms.com
and to scope out Parks and Rec’s menu (which looks delicious in its own right), head over here: www.parksandrecdiner.com
Parks and Rec is located in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Building, right next to Republic, at:
1942 Grand River Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226