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Beaver's Night Out: Motley Cow Cafe's Mission Creek Festival dinner

BY BEN VERHILLE | APRIL 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Mission Creek Festival is featuring, for a second year, a food aspect that allows local restaurants to showcase their venue, cuisine, and atmosphere.

Tuesday night provided us with an Iowa Pork Dinner from the Motley Cow Café, 160 N. Linn St., a restaurant well-known and proud of two particular points: featuring local specialties and ingredients that change on a seasonal basis, and an environment that turns you into a regular after one trip.

David Wieseneck, the owner and head chef, is a man of great taste and confidence. With an ever-changing menu, he feels that change is familiar to him and his kitchen. He had time to sit with me and have an espresso 30 minutes before Mission Creek participants arrived for the big event. After preparing since 9 a.m., he finally felt ready for the event that has been in the works for since August 2012.

In collaboration with Courtenay Bouvier, this menu was designed to bring a springtime vibe to Iowa City. The pork comes from the local area. Knob Creek also donated whiskey for the opening drink of the evening.

This festival's second year of a food involvement allows Iowa City to show off local restaurants. This year, Motley Cow Café, Devotay, Trumpet Blossom Café, and the Mill are showcased.

Every Motley Cow course had its own wine pairing.

Aperitif

Pre-dinner cocktail: Cynar Knob Creek Rye Manhattan.

First Course

Citrus salad with La Quercia coppa, arugula, and chévre, paired with a Henri de Richemer piquepoul.

Second Course

Braised Pavelka's Point pork shank, with cornbread pudding, kale, and tomato, paired with a Domaine de Chantepierre côtes du rhône.

The thick Iowan pork takes a presence on the plate, dwarfing the tomato and cornbread pudding. The juices flow from the pork, tantalizing with an aroma that reminds me of an Iowan cookout, with the class of a five-star restaurant. The meat falls off the bone, so tender that my knife was left unused, and melted away in my mouth, flavors flowing through my palette.

The bread pudding offers a mild crisp, yet still being moist and delicate to the bite. Rich in texture as well as flavor, with the pork juices being absorbed into the cornbread making the taste that much better.

The tomato is grilled, fresh, and loaded with juices, and complemented with the citrusy and powerful flavor of the kale. An interesting combination but very justified by the success on the plate.

Dessert

Apple galette with Cured Deli bacon and Knob Creek Rye caramel, crème fraîche, paired with Baron De Bréban brut.

This flakey, sweet, and delectable dessert became an instant favorite of mine. The homemade crème fraîche ended the dinner on a very strong note.


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