We asked local chefs to create special menus using at least 70 percent locally grown ingredients, and I couldn't be happier with the delightful dishes they've dreamed up. If you haven't had a chance to sift through the menus for Crave's Farm to Plate dining event, running Aug. 10-19, here are a few highlights to get you started:
--There's not much seafood in Ohio, so expect to see a lot of walleye and perch on the menus. L'Antibes will be serving Lake Erie Walleye with red potatoes and sauteed spinach in a bearnaise sauce, while The Top is doing a Lake Erie Yellow Perch entree with Fulton Farms sweet corn summer succotash, Top Farm tomatoes and basil navy peas.
--I also spotted a lot of pork dishes, like Tucci's mouthwatering Wood-Fired Pork Tenderloin made with meat from Sietz Farms with an ancho-blueberry BBQ sauce, jalapeno-peach preserves, green and yellow wax beans and grilled corn cakes.
--G. Michael's will be doing a fun Grilled Ohio Sweet Corn starter with chipotle aioli, parmigiano and Ohio maple syrup.
--Love the name of Local Roots' Right Out of the Garden Fried Green Tomatoes, drizzled with a red pepper and horseradish dipping sauce.
--Happy to see that Skillet's Pig Ear Salad, a restaurant week staple, is "local" enough to qualify for the Farm to Plate menu. It comes with pickled radish, fried King's Farm eggs, pig skin croutons and a mustard vinaigrette.
--Commonwealth Sandwich Bar's three-course creation is 100 percent local (!), including a Bluescreek Farms braised pork belly sandwich made with Franklinton Gardens wilted black kale, Brothers Drake Mead gastric and pickled Lodi apples on an Eleni Christina baguette.
--Can't wait to try the All-Ohio Cheese Board at DeepWood, with chevre, aged cow cheese, blue cheese and gouda served with accompaniments. Also love the idea of DeepWood's Salmon Summer Roll, made with Watershed Gin-cured salmon.
--I'm stoked that El Vaquero is on board (loyal readers will know that The Cowboy regularly sources tomatoes and peppers from Ohio farms), serving up an Ohio Pozole with hominy and fresh pico de gallo.
--Till's Peach Pie dessert is made with fruit from Heartland Orchards and biodynmic cheddar from Snowville Creamery.
--Refectory's desserts are always out of this world, and their Farm to Plate creation is no exception: a Lemon Bombe with Chocolate Truffette, made with Tessora liqueuer and a mango-and-Tessora coulis.
--But I think my favorite of the experimental desserts is on Basi's menu: Sweet Corn Crepes, with whipped cream, maple syrup and candied basil.
For full menus from all 40-plus participating restaurants, check out cravefarmtoplate.com.