A behind the scenes look: Prepping the menu for Eccentric Day
Wild boar, bison, squid, smoked lamb bacon, emu, quail, antelope, duck … these are just a few of the items you will see offered on Eccentric Day this year.
But how does a menu like this come together?
The planning starts early.
For Melissa Bont, the Eccentric Café’s Kitchen Manager, that planning began in early October.
And then there is the prep work.
Deliveries started late last week. And since then, cases of food have been arriving almost daily.
Most of the caviar, smoked salmon and other delicacies won’t actually arrive until the day before Eccentric Day though.
But during the week leading up to the event and especially the day before, there is still plenty of chopping, slicing, stirring and tasting to make sure everything possible is ready to go.
The entire kitchen staff, including a few dedicated “retired” kitchen staff members - who have since gone on to other positions at the Café - put in some long and late hours to make everything happen.
There is also a fair amount of improvising as well – adding chorizo to the alligator gumbo for example.
Being incredibly organized is also helpful, Bont said.
On Eccentric Day, that same team will set up, do any last minute cooking and restock two buffet style tables in both the front and back bars of the Café before opening at 9 a.m. until around 10 p.m. (depending on how fast all the food goes).
Even the menu is still being tweaked a bit this week as some items are a little harder to come by than originally planned.
Sorry, no organs (sweet breads) this year.
But bugs have been added (scorpion suckers, crickets and larvae - fried with spices) in addition to emu. And Bell’s beer will also be used in a few of the dishes.
The idea of getting a pig uterus was even pitched, but that won’t happen this year.
Not to say they didn’t try.
There will also be plenty for vegetarian appetites as well including a vegetarian turducken, stuffed jalapenos and smoky tofu bites. Bont said she recognizes the need to have something for all tastes.
“It’s a great tradition. We’re busy and there is a lot to do, but we make it fun and we get to experiment with different foods. It’s nice to be able to offer people things they wouldn't normally get to try,” Bont said.
2012 Eccentric food numbers:
20 lbs. of alligator
10 lbs. of shepherd’s pie
About 100 squid (stuffed with bison cornbread)
10 lbs. of antelope
2 wild boar legs (10-12 lbs. each)
20 lbs. of shrimp
12 lbs. of elk
12 lbs. of bison
24 duck breasts
12 lbs. of venison to make sausage
About 80 lbs. of cheese in 20 different varieties
Bell's beer event roundup: Dinners, ugly sweater contests, Christmas Ale and more
Below is a look at our events this week in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Indiana.
Specialty Night: Jerry's Sandwich's in Chicago - Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, This one goes to 11, Special Double Cream Stout, Christmas Ale, Winter White and Two Hearted
Specialty Night: Jerry's Sandwich's (Andersonville) in Chicago - Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, This one goes to 11, Expedition Stout, Third Coast Old Ale and Special Double Cream Stout
Tap Event: Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton at 7 p.m. – Trivia, This one goes to 11 (tapped at 8 p.m.), Black Note, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Two Hearted Ale and Winter White
Tap Takeover: Detroit Prime in Farmington Hills from 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Half-off appetizers plus Winter White, Two Hearted Ale, Amber Ale, Porter, Smoked Vienna Lager, Oatmeal Stout, Sparkling Ale and This one goes to 11 Ale
Bell's Holiday Party: Oak Café in Wyandotte at 7 p.m. - Batch 10,000 (a special treat from Oak Cafe's cellar), Best Brown Ale, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale, Two Hearted, Golden Rye, Kal-Haven Ale and Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000. $20 tasting ticket available. For more details, go here.
Tap Takeover: Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester Hills at 7 p.m. - Black Note (tapped at 8 p.m.), Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale and This one goes to 11 Ale
Tasting: Bacchus Wine & Spirits in Kalamazoo from 4-6 p.m.
13 Bell's of Christmas: Lynch's in Port Huron at 4:30 p.m. - Batch 9,000, Best Brown Ale, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Hopsoulution, Kalamazoo Stout, Rye Stout, The Oracle, Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale, This one goes to 11 Ale, Smoked Vienna Lager, Kal-Haven Ale and Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000
Nov. 29 & Dec. 1
Happy Hour Tasting: Bottoms Up in Kalamazoo from 4-6 p.m.
Tap Takeover: Reno's Sports Bar East in East Lansing starting at 6 p.m. – 14 beers on tap - Black Note (6 p.m.),This one goes to 11 (7 p.m.) Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 (8 p.m.), Amber Ale, Best Brown Ale, 2011 Cherry Stout, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Java Stout, Midwestern Pale Ale, Third Coast Old Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale and Smoked Vienna Lager
Christmas Ale Tasting: Horrock's Farm Market in Lansing from 2-5 p.m.
Ugly Sweater Party: The Grotto at Capone's in Kalamazoo starting at 11 a.m. – prizes for the best ugly sweater, free food from 8-10 p.m. plus 12 Bell’s beers on tap
Bell's Night: Bar 209 in Bemidji at 6 p.m. - Golden Rye, Roundhouse IRA and Le Contrebassiste
Bell's Beer Dinner: Skal Bar & Grill in Vergas at 6 p.m. - Christmas Ale, Le Pianiste, Oatmeal Stout, Debs' Red, and Two Hearted Ale. Seating is limited. Please call 218-342-7525 for reservations.
Multi-Tap Night: Grizzly's Canal Park in Duluth at 4 p.m. - Two Hearted, Best Brown, Golden Rye, Oatmeal Stout, The Oracle, This one goes to 11, Debs' Red, Le Contrebassiste, and Le Pianiste
Collaborative Beer Dinner: Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland at 6:30 p.m. – Five course beer dinner featuring Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Le Contrebassiste Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Two Hearted Ale and others. Please call 216-621-4000 for reservations.
Bell's Tasting: St. John Wine & Spirits in St. John from 6-8 p.m. - Amber Ale, Best Brown Ale, Expedition Stout, Midwestern Pale Ale, Special Double Cream Stout, Third Coast Beer, Two Hearted Ale and Winter White Ale
Join us for a beer dinner in Brainerd, 12 Bell’s of Christmas in Chelsea, Michigan, pint night in Asheville and more. Take a look at our full calendar here.
Bell's beer event roundup: Beers we are thankful for, tastings, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 and more
Below is a look at Bell’s beer events this week in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Kentucky.
Specialty Beer Night/Tap Takeover: Beer Bistro in Chicago
Stout Blowout Night: Small Bar in Chicago – enjoy a rare taping of 2011 Cherry Stout
Specialty Night: Jerry's Sandwich's in Chicago
Bell's Night: The Aristocrat in Indianapolis - multiple taps including The Oracle, Wedding Ale, Le Batteur and more
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Beer Tappings: Buster's on 28th in Minneapolis at 11 a.m. - Black Note, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Batch 9,000 and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout
Burnt: Republic in Minneapolis at 5 p.m. - 11 different beers including Java Stout, Kalamazoo Stout, Double Cream Stout, Expedition Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, Rye Stout, Harry Magill's Spiced Stout, Black Note, Hell Hath No Fury and Oatmeal Stout
Beer Tasting: Harding's on West Main St. in Kalamazoo from 4-6 p.m.
Ugly Sweater Contest & Great Beer: Fuel Woodfire Grill in Port Huron at 6 p.m. – prizes for the ugliest sweater, great food, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury, This one goes to 11 and more
Beers We're Thankful For: Ashley's in Westland starting at 2 p.m. (staggered tappings) - Two Hearted, Winter White, Best Brown, Third Coast Beer, Midwestern Pale Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Porter, Double Cream Stout, Hopsoulution, Hell Hath No Fury, Sparkling Ale, Vienna Smoked Lager, Christmas Ale, Le Pianiste, Oatmeal Stout, Golden Rye, This One Goes to 11, Kal-Haven Ale, 2011 Cherry Stout, Black Note and bottles of Java Stout and Expedition Stout, plus beer infused cuisine
Beer Tasting: Harding's on Centre St in Portage from 4-6 p.m.
Holiday Tasting: Whole Foods South Park in Charlotte at 5 p.m. - Best Brown Ale, Christmas Ale and Winter White Ale
This one goes to 11 Tapping: The Walrus in Bismarck at 5 p.m.
Black Note Tapping: Moelein Lager House in Cincinnati at noon.
This one goes to 11 Tapping: Nach Bar in Louisville at 11 p.m.
Black Friday Black Out: Nach bar in Louisville - Expedition Stout will be on tap all day. Black Note will be tapped at 8 p.m.
Join us for holiday parties, tap takeovers, beer dinners and more. Take a look at our full calendar here.