Monday, August 27, 2012

Pedicures, Pork, and Photographs

What's better than getting away with your girlfriends for a weekend?

Coming home to 3.5 inches of rain!!!


But you've heard enough about rain and the lack thereof, etc., etc., right?

Well, I have, so there you go.

This weekend I was so, so lucky to go up to Galena with two of my good buddies to celebrate Kathleen's big birthday coming up (I won't tell you her age, but it has a four and a zero in figure it out). Between the three of us, we have ten kids, so getting away without our little friends is tricky. So, on Friday, when they came to pick me up...we were like girls en route to a slumber party.

We made our way across river country where the  flat, dry land where we live became hilly, even drier land. It was really pretty, but we're all in need of a drink. I was, however, able to shut off my farmer's wife mentality to enjoy big girl dinners where I ordered an eggplant dish (my husband's skeptical look was nowhere to be seen, so what the heck), and wear a dry clean only dress with the realization that no one but myself would be to blame for splatters!
Kathleen, Me, and Rachel

 Don't we look so fancy?

So we continued the celebration, girly-style, with massages, manicures and pedicures, and another delicious meal at this ah-ma-zing restaurant called One Eleven Main. Not only was it in this fabulously restored old building with exposed brick, major hardwood floors, and a beautiful open staircase that led to the equally fabulous lounge, it was also hailed as just really good, really fresh, really local food.

I have found myself becoming very aware and quite skeptical of such restaurants. I mean, seriously, not all restaurants have the accessibility to really good, truly (as in just a few miles away) local produce, meat, etc. However, all across the brick walls were poster sized photographs of the farmers who were providing the ingredients for the night's menu. Yes, the night's menu, not just the special, but the menu was so fresh, it was fluid, ever-changing with the season and availability. Underneath each photograph of sleeveless t-shirted, jeans clad farmers in seed corn caps were their names and hometowns, most of them just a few miles from the downtown Galena area.

It was fabulous.

And, if it was just marketing, it was excellent marketing. The pork I had that night was fabulous, and from just across the river in Dubuque, Iowa. But it wasn't the meal in itself that got us all talking about how I should blog about this restaurant (and the fact that Kathleen feels like she is not mentioned enough here...ha, ha!). We were all so intrigued at the attention to detail and how they stayed true to their mission.

In their literature, One Eleven Main states, " Local Flavor Cuisine” showcases regional and local meats, cheeses, produce and specialties. Our special relationships with farmers, growers and producers allow us to literally bring ingredients from farm-to-table within hours of harvest."

You could sense that they had pride in their farmers, but not in a fru-fru or fake way. The server knew her stuff. She explained the whereabouts of the items on the menu when we asked. The food wasn't intimidating or weird, so farmers like my husband and dad and father-in-law would feel like they would not only enjoy a good meal, but not feel like they were just being trendy. Some times "eating local" can just be a facade for "eating trendy," and folks who are producers of the food are turned off by the trendiness. 

I loved it.

I want a restaurant around here to feature not only a steak from Joe's cattle, but a huge picture of him beside one.

Maybe I was just relaxed from my massage and pedicure, or maybe I was just able to truly focus on what I was eating and where it was coming from, because I only had to cut my own food (imagine that!), but this restaurant has the perfect blend of advocacy and avante garde.

However, they didn't have Elvis (a.k.a. Johnny Vegas) like the place across the street, but that's another story for another day...

Oh my...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post. Our farm is only about 1.5 hours from Galena and we actually drove through it this weekend on our way to Michigan. I will definitely include this place on my checklist when we FINALLY get to stop in Galena. Glad you had an awesome time.