by Ian McNulty
New Orleanians with people in the Northeast are accustomed to getting check-in calls from them at this time of year when hurricanes are raging. But things went the other way around as Irene struck the East Coast.
One person making such a call was Story Adams, who hails from Wilmington, Vt., and the news from the other end was not good. Her mother’s retail shop in downtown Wilmington was devastated by flood waters, which left little inside her business but mud.
Watching coverage of the aftermath in this small New England village will naturally stir empathy in New Orleans, and if it stirs the impulse to help too a special opportunity is coming around this week. Adams works at Satsuma Café, a casual Bywater eatery committed to the field-to-table aesthetic, and on Wednesday, Sept. 7, the café hosts a benefit dinner dubbed “From New Orleans to Wilmington with Love."
Satsuma Café proprietors Cassi and Peter Dymond will send the proceeds from the night to the Wilmington, VT Flood Relief Fund, a nonprofit formed to handle donations for local businesses. The dinner costs $40 per person, all inclusive — and that means wine with dinner and cocktails beforehand too.
Things get going at 8 p.m., and they’ll serve a four-course menu, which goes like this:
First: Carrot ginger soup with basil oil
Second: Local satsuma and beet salad with goat cheese and candied pecans
Third: lane snapper with Kalamata olives, capers and tomato OR handmade tagliatelle with basil pesto and fairy tale eggplant
Fourth: Angel food cake with peaches and Chantilly cream
The dinner is a good bargain benefiting a very worthy cause, and it’s also a bit of a preview of an expansion for Satsuma Café. The restaurant now serves breakfast and lunch, but following a recent kitchen renovation Satsuma Café will begin a regular dinner schedule three or four nights a week sometime this fall. So Wednesday’s benefit will double as a test run for dinner.
“When Story's town was hit it was natural for us to want to do something to help and also test the new space,” explains Cassi Dymond.
I can’t think of another New Orleans restaurant at the casual end of the dining spectrum that fields such a robustly local, farm-fresh menu, and the results speak for themselves with excellent breakfast and lunch dishes. Dinner along these lines sounds very promising, especially given the dearth of decent dinner options in the Bywater now.
Seating for Wednesday’s benefit is limited, so make reservations by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 504-261-8415.
3218 Dauphine St., 304-5962