Putting Ourselves in the Way of Beauty: Our 3rd Annual Full Circle Meal (part 3)

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Our Feast on the Water

This year’s feast was a collaboration between two chefs who had previously only been admirers of each other’s work. In the spirit of creativity, with collaboration and community placed high above competition, Chefs Andre deWaal and Mike Carrino worked together to create the menu and family-style dinner in our remote location. The result was splendid!

Chef Michael Carrino got our party started by expertly sabering the top of a bottle of Dom Pérignon (generously brought by Lauren Durden).

Chef André deWaal transformed a metal rowboat, filling it with wood, to create a floating grill. During cocktails, as we snacked on “duck fat cracker jack” and other preserved treats, guests gathered around the BBQ Boat and gently kicked water from the creek on to the outer walls of the vessel. With each pop and sizzle, we did our small part in helping to cool the metal and prevent the boat from bowing.

Eventually, our table was richly laid with foods that celebrated the bounty of summer:

Cool puree of tomato and melon, goat cheese and herbed flatbread

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Cedar planked trout-gribiche, bearnaise, coarse mustard and pickled vegetables

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Confit of rabbit and duck- foraged greens, fruits, and grains, nuts and seeds, banyuls vinaigrette

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Bison rib roast with cultured butter, broccoli rabe, lemon and fennel, crushed fingerling potatoes

Generously-laden platters were brought to the table and diners helped each other with each serving, passing down each dish girl-scout style, until everyone was served.

Our final bite of the night was a sweet one, by our favorite Love Bites by Erika, who brought (back by popular demand) her Tahitian vanilla bean Love Bites with white chocolate mousse and topped by the rainbow.


We were very fortunate to have Shawnee Craft Brewery commission a special small batch beer for the Bacon & Lox Society. Rob Howell entered the creek with a full keg and exited at the end of the night with an empty one.

Creek Saison
This Saison is blessed with creativity, and a beer that everyone can enjoy together. Historically brewed to quench the thirst of seasonal farmer's (saisoner's), Saison beers are refreshing, citrusy, and drinkable. This blonde Saison is made with pilsner malt, oats, and a light addition of lavender, lemon peel and infused with fresh cherries. Fermented extra hot with a fruity Belgian yeast, made to be dry, refreshing, and drinkable.

Jason Lonigro also collaborated with Jay Nee of Constellation Wines to bring two unique cocktails to the festivities: Mai Tai (Real McCoy Barbados Rum, Jamaican Rum, Handmade Orange Liqueur, Avocado Orgeat, Lime) for the pre-creek gathering at Promise Ridge and Stay out of the Forest (Sherry Blend, Sfumato Amaro, Lemon, Raspberry Syrup, Thyme) for the communal table. He even made avocado orgeat just incase people had a tree nut allergy!

Water Portraits, a Baptism

Photographer Rob Yaskovic climbed on top of one of the creek boulders, and working together with a slew of dry ice handlers, gifted attendees with one of his water portraits if they were brave enough to submerge themselves at the end of the night. These portraits can be seen at #BLSBaptism.

Music in the Creek

We were excited to welcome new addition DJ BrianB to create a dreamy atmosphere in the creek during dinner, mobile desserts and the baptisms! He set up his speakers IN THE WATER y’all and his playlists playfully included rainbow and shooting star-themed songs.

A Fleeting, Ephemeral Gift

A rainbow enriches a space, and then it’s gone. You’d never know it was there unless you witnessed it. So it made sense to look to this natural phenomenon for inspiration in terms of how we could minimize our footprint. Choosing to hold collaborative events in nature gives us a special opportunity to treat a space kindly and reverently, and not change it in any lasting or damaging way. Of course we are mindful not to litter or leave anything but on a larger scale, we strive to have little to no impact on the environment. Rather than use disposable napkins, for example, our hand-lettered menus were silk-screen printed onto tea towels. They made for lovely napkins and I still use the towel in my kitchen every day. The entire creative process and every decision therein was informed by our desire to truly leave no trace. At the end of the night, everyone pitched in to break down the communal table and get everything out of the creek before the last light was gone.

Bring Something to Share

Just like last year, each guest was asked to bring “something to share.” Along with the major event pieces like furniture, florals, tablescape and food, guests brought local beer and cocktails, and leant their talents at hand lettering too. We were excited to have Marisa Rebecca + John Awad of Redfield Photography capture the event, and Natalie Wallace and George Fava from Wonderscope film for a mini documentary as well.

In my welcome remarks at the start of the gathering I said, “We call this creek dinner the Full Circle Meal in honor of the power of generosity to transform—you will enter the creek and then exit at the end of the night, on the same pathway—but like a light passed through a raindrop—you will not be the same.”

And it was true. We weren’t.

The Photos!

The Collaborators!

Bacon & Lox Society // @BaconLoxSociety // #BaconLoxSociety

Alisa Tongg  & Heather Arak // Founders // @alisatongg & @goodlifegabh

Alisa Tongg, Celebrant // Programming //  @alisatongg

Heather Arak, Gifts for the Good Life // Invitation & Visual Branding // @giftsforthegoodlife

Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit, Rabbit Crew! // Planner // @rabbitrabbitcrew

Sarah Petryk, Allium Floral Design & Event Styling // Florals Design // @alliumfloraldesign

Patchwork Planting &  X Flores Temporis // Local Flower Growers // @pwplanting & @florestemporis

Renee + Derek Bower, Forget Me Not Vintage Furniture Rentals // Furniture // @forgetmenotrentals

Marisa + John Awad, Redfield Photography // Photography // @redfieldphoto

Natalie Wallace + George Fava, Wonderscope // Film // @wonderscope

Andre de Waal, Andre’s Lakeside // Chef // @andreslakeside

Mike Carrino, The Pig and Prince // Chef // @mikecarrino

Erika Urso, Love Bites by Erika // Dessert Chef // @lovebitesbyerika

Lou Rogai // Live Creek Music //  @lewisandclarkemusic

DJ Brian B // DJ // @djbrianbofficial

Rob Yaskovic // Water Portraits // @robyaskovic

Lexi Eleveth, Ever Laser // Temple Signage // @everlaser

Sarah Pawlowski, Flourish Grace // Handlettering // @flourishgrace

Will Croasdale // Creek Stairway // @willcroasdale

Shawnee Craft Brewing // Creek Saison Beer // @shawneecraftbrewingco

Jason Lonigro // Cocktails // @jmlonigro

Naturalist, Aliza Kawecki // Edible Forage Walk // @alizakawecki

Chef Brandon Grimilia // Amuse Bouche // @403broad

Promise Ridge // Cocktail Hour Venue // @promiseridge