Earthbox Shishito Peppers
During the rooftop reception, servers passed spicy charred shishito peppers, laced with sea salt and olive oil.
Uncommon Ground's organic rooftop garden, managed by Farm Director Dave Snyder, sports an array of greenery, including baby tomatoes, basil, sunflowers, and more.
Rooftop Summer Vegetable Crepes
Among the passed hors d'oeuvres, a bit-sized crepe sprinkled with rooftop-garden-grown veggies.
Fresh-cut peaches with an almond infusion, micro greens, and toasted almonds.
Slow Food Chicago representative Jennifer Breckner (right) chats with a guest during the reception on the roof of Uncommon Ground.
The Drink Pairings
Tall glasses of Virtue Cider's Red Streak, a crisp, English-style tart cider, were served alongside the passed hors d'oeuvres.
Pouring Bitter Virtues
A server carefully pours glasses of the cocktail paired with the dinner's first course, a blend of Campari, grapefruit, housemade almond syrup, and Red Streak Cider called "Bitter Virtue."
The Place Setting
According to the hosts, the Summer Harvest dinner was such a sell-out success—guests filled practically every seat in Uncommon Ground's two dining rooms—that Slow Food may decide to make the annual dinner's menu vegetarian from now on.
The Bitter Virtue
The first cocktail of the night was light and fruity, with a backbone of citrus-twinged bitterness thanks to the inclusion of Campari and grapefruit juice.
The First Course
Tomato and Melon Gazpacho, served with
rooftop tomato carpaccio, heirloom melon, basil, and julienned cucumber. A dollop of rich, concentrated tomato paste (lower left), once stirred, thickened up this consommé-like soup into a more recognizable gazpacho.
Virtue Lapinette Cider
Virtue Cider's Greg Hall was on-hand to present the evening's beverages. The former Goose Island brewer turned cider maker brought along Lapinette, an upcoming Virtue release of a French-style cider with a mellow, "farmy" profile.
The Second Course
Summer Bean Salad: rooftop pole and bush beans, and Shooting Star greens, dressed with Green Goddess vinaigrette.
To accompany the bean salad, Hall served Gold Rush, the result of an exciting collaboration project between Virtue and Tom Oliver from Oliver’s Cider and Perry, a cider maker based in Herefordshire, England. The cider's deep color owes to the fact that the apples are left to brown naturally before production.
Billed as "Textures of Summer Vegetables," the entrée course was meant to evoke a garden plot, complete with dried porcini mushroom and puffed wheat berry "soil," which formed the base of the dish. Atop the soil, you had shaved radishes, roasted fennel stalks, braised purple baby carrots, grilled red peppers, a fried squash blossom, basted heirloom potatoes, and an array of fresh-picked herbs.
Blackberry Summer Streak
As the meal wound down, guests were treated to one final cocktail—a sweet number featuring Red Streak Cider, muddled blackberries, mint, and Koval distillery's organic honey-chrysanthemum spirit.