Sunday, October 2, 2011

Intelligent input, darling—why don’t you just have another beer, then?

Oktoberfest may be over, but Alex and I kicked off our own October beer-drinking extravaganza this weekend with a full-on rainstorm of autumnal activity, starting with a legit fall-time festival and a clan-baked trip to, not one, but two pumpkin farms. 
For our third “Top Chef” sighting of the year, Team Festober headed down to the Chipotle Cultivate festival in Lincoln Park yesterday afternoon to see Richard “Liquid Nitrogen” Blais make fun of foams while preparing chorizo chips, salsa jelly, and liquid nitrogen margaritas. 
Cultivate featured a number of chef-lebrities doing demos, live music, local produce, and beer tents—along with many be-striped and be-plaided patrons, we sampled all that was on offer and I’d bet we’ll be back next year.
After Cultivate, we hit the road Michigan-bound to celebrate the four-year-olds turning five. Despite the afternoon beer, we were able to remember both the presents and the caramel apple cakes. Yeah. Caramel. Apple. Cakes. I reversed this shutterbean doughnut recipe back into muffins, then topped the mini-cakes with caramel and salty ground peanuts. 
The cakes are packed with fresh, local honey crisps and the topping is rich and nostalgic. It’s like turning a perfect autumn treat into a perfect autumn treat.
No October weekend in Michigan is complete without pumpkins, in oranges, whites, and greens—a harvest lush with patterns and shapes. We developed a thirst hunting through the squash crates and taking rides on tractors, horses, and wagons. The thirst was quenched by Greenbush Brewing Company, with a flight that included Undertow, Anger, and Bantam. Craft Beer has the best names. The request also went in with a note for “no Closure.” Oh fo reals.
The coming frost means one real problem for our household: the season for our beloved Oberon is over. We were pleased when we managed to get the final six-pack of the brew from our local liquor purveyor. We were even more pleased to find that summer rolls on in Michigan, where we scored a whole case of the stuff to keep us through winter. Never fear, prairie-style stockpiling is still very much alive in the Midwest.


  1. Love those beer names. Also love the look of those cupcakes. Happy October.