LTH Home

What to Drink with Orchids & Scorpions: Notebaert Center

What to Drink with Orchids & Scorpions: Notebaert Center
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • What to Drink with Orchids & Scorpions: Notebaert Center

    Post #1 - November 16th, 2004, 10:18 pm
    Post #1 - November 16th, 2004, 10:18 pm Post #1 - November 16th, 2004, 10:18 pm
    What to Drink with Orchids & Scorpions: Notebaert Center

    Short answer: as much as possible.

    Now, my working philosophy of strange food is that I will eat anything twice. With orchids and scorpions, it's now one down and one to go.

    Cal Dennison, a Redwood Creek winemaker, and Gene Rurka, 'exotic food expert,' were on hand tonight at the Notebaert Nature Center to feed us (me, The Wife, C2, Crazy C, and a hundred or so others) such "adventure foods" as orchids dipped in champagne batter and served with a honey orange dipping sauce, scorpions served on endive and herb cheese, as well as crickets and rattlesnake.

    Me, I was there for the orcs and scorps.

    I've long been an orchid enthusiast, and I must admit, admiring their beauty, I've often thought it would be nice to eat them. Tonight, I had my chance, and I must say that for flowers, they were good - but almost anything would be good when fried in champagne (or even beer) batter. I also had a tempura rose or two, which had an interesting citrus-y interior that balanced well with the fried exterior. For these fried flowers, I preferred the Redwood Creek 2003 Sauvignon Blanc (the sweet acid values were right for delicate fried things)

    The scorpions, well, I guess I have to eat them again just to live up to my motto. It was a little freaky eating a poisonous insect, but hey, if I'm ever lost in the rain in Juarez, I may have to fry up few of these suckers, and if I do, I'll be emotionally prepared for the event. They were not great (you may be shocked to hear) - and it helped having C2 cheerlead us all to suck them down in one bite ('On three'). At the risk of sounding terribly ethnocentric, I don't think most people eat insects unless they have to. Given the choice between fried potatoes (or yams) and fried bugs, wouldn't most of the people in the world go with the spuds? I know, I know, I'm only projecting my personal tastes on all other Earthlings, but there's just not a lot of taste with most of the insects (and their larvae) that I've eaten. It's kind of fun to eat them, but it's much more fun to talk about eating them after the fact. For the scorps, as well as the crickets (which were in a sweet cream cheese sauce and pastry shell), the 2002 Syrah was my choice, and the fruit seemed to work well with these creamy concoctions.

    With an open bar, there were all kinds of wines available (e.g, Merlot, Cabs, etc.), but I doubt that Redwood Creek will be boasting on their labels 'Tastes Great with Arachnida!'

    After the lush buffet (they had loads of other stuff there: grilled white asparagus, funny tomato and avocado kabobs, ham, paper-thin beet chips), we went upstairs to listen to a young man talk about his passion for trout. He was excellent, and really made me hungry for trout.

    All in all, a marvelous event, and thanks be to Notebaert.

    Afterwards, The Wife persuaded me to go to the butterfly zoo, which I did, and as I watched this lush blue creature flutter over my head, all I could think was: I wonder how that tastes.

    Hammond
  • Post #2 - May 23rd, 2005, 12:32 pm
    Post #2 - May 23rd, 2005, 12:32 pm Post #2 - May 23rd, 2005, 12:32 pm
    A Taste of Adventure
    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

    Last November 16th, David Hammond, his wife Carolyn, CrazyC and I enjoyed an evening eating food we never imagined we would ever try. What was even more incredible, the event was free to anyone who reserved. This event was hosted by the Explorer’s Club who invited us to, “Explore adventurous foods from the great outdoors,” accompanied by wines of Redwood Creek.

    Image

    The menu:

    Scorpions
    Served on endive and herb cheese
    Paired with Redwood Creek 2003 Sauvignon Blanc
    Image

    Succulent Sauteed Rosemary Rattlesnake
    Paired with Redwood Creek 2003 Chardonnay
    Image

    Orchids and Rose Buds
    Dipped in Champagne batter and served with an orange honey dipping sauce
    Paired with Redwood Creek 2003 Pinot Grigio
    Image

    North American Crickets
    Served with pepper jelly and cream cheese on celery
    Paired with Redwood Creek 2002 Pinot Noir
    Image

    Cajun-style, Deep-friend Alligator Bites
    Paired with Redwood Creek 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Image

    Antelope Pastrami
    Paired with Redwood Creek 2002 Syrah
    Image

    Bonus Off Menu Items!

    Elk Stroganoff
    Image

    Caribou Pate
    Image

    These were very gracious hosts who did not assume you were delighted to eat on the wild side, they had a small buffet of tasteful cocktail snacks:
    Image

    Instead, you could simply admire the insects in this centerpiece:
    Image

    Please note our very first exotic snack to taste was the Scorpion. Hammond, CrazyC and I just stared at the morsel in our fingers. Nobody was exactly rushing to be the first, in fact we all seemed to hope it was somebody else’s duty to be first. Finally I broke the ice with a camp pledge, “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go!” On cue, we all tossed the Scorpions into the hatch and much to our surprise it was ok.

    Probably the tasteless items of the evening was the fried Orchids and Rose buds. The batter and cooking technique overwhelmed them into nothing special. Whereas the Cajun style Alligator bits were so spicy you could not discern the taste of alligator. The Crickets minus the legs were certainly more approachable, though it was a strange mushy, crunchy mouth feel. Eating the scorpion was a more edgy treat because you know their sting is poisonous. I don’t know if cooking nullifies this poison or they carefully remove the poison sacs. This certainly was the only dish you had to ever so slightly suspend what you know to eat.

    If the wild food tasting wasn’t enough, there was an interesting lecture by James Prosek on Trout.

    I would have gladly paid to attend such an adventure, it was certainly made sweeter it only required my enthusiasm and reservations. Thanks Apple for posting about this oh so long ago.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - July 6th, 2006, 8:09 pm
    Post #3 - July 6th, 2006, 8:09 pm Post #3 - July 6th, 2006, 8:09 pm
    Scorpions, worms, ants on NY club menu

    NEW YORK — A discerning guest at a Manhattan cocktail party removed a scorpion from its bed of cheese on an endive leaf and popped it in his mouth, determined to savour the taste unadulterated.

    “Nutty, sweet,” was the verdict of Gourmet magazine food editor Ian Knauer at the recent soiree.

    “That’s an antenna,” he added, pointing to a morsel of cricket left poking through lips of his companion at the Explorers Club in New York

    ...

    “I guarantee you people in Africa who haven’t had rain for seven years would love to see an insect,” he said.
    ...

    Large ants from Texas are served with blackcurrants in a sweet mini-tart, while he likes to serve the maggots stuffed in mushrooms.

    ...

    He has experimented with worms and decided the best option is to disguise them as a pretzel, tying them in a knot like the salty dough snack, and to serve them with mustard. First they have to be fed on oatmeal for 10 days to cleanse the system, and he does not recommend taking worms from just anywhere. “You don’t want them raised in a dump site, you don’t want them raised in manure,” he said.

    ...

    He neutralises the stings of the scorpions with heat to avoid adverse reactions. “When you look at a scorpion your salivary glands dry up. It’s not like looking at a pizza,” said Cal Dennison, winemaker for Redwood Creek, who was offering advice on wine pairings. He recommended a pinot grigio or something similar “to get your salivary glands working”. Rurka said he tries to overcome people’s aversion to creepy-crawlies by serving them with something appetising — for example a cactus jelly with the cricket, or cheese and sun-dried tomato with the scorpion. He admits he would not normally feast on such creatures by choice


    If you are into exotic eating, then you might want to keep a copy of this article. It has lots of ideas!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - July 7th, 2006, 7:01 am
    Post #4 - July 7th, 2006, 7:01 am Post #4 - July 7th, 2006, 7:01 am
    Recently they're the "IN" thing in China and not to mention Thailand, etc...
    Beetles and scorpions...

    Image

    I wonder how they'd taste in a "salt & pepper" Chinese-style stirfry. Akin to salt & pepper shrimp? :D
  • Post #5 - July 7th, 2006, 3:03 pm
    Post #5 - July 7th, 2006, 3:03 pm Post #5 - July 7th, 2006, 3:03 pm
    Wow, sounds like quite an event. You guys are braver than me...To each his own, but I don't think I could bring myself to put a scorpion in my mouth. The gator and rattlesnake, however, look pretty tasty. Did anyone try the antelope pastrami with syrah?
  • Post #6 - July 7th, 2006, 3:21 pm
    Post #6 - July 7th, 2006, 3:21 pm Post #6 - July 7th, 2006, 3:21 pm
    Ron A wrote:Did anyone try the antelope pastrami with syrah?


    Everything they provided to us we sampled!

    As I recall of the antelope pastrami, it was akin to eating any over processed meat: nothing special. While the base ingredient was exotic, I would have rather eaten it roasted thinly sliced to get a better feel for how it really tastes.

    We are normal people as we were initially reluctant to try the scorpion.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - July 7th, 2006, 5:28 pm
    Post #7 - July 7th, 2006, 5:28 pm Post #7 - July 7th, 2006, 5:28 pm
    I'm with C2 on the antelope pastrami -- I mean, really, you could pastramize squirrel, 'coon, or bull moose, and it'd probably taste pretty much the same.

    I actually enjoyed orchids again last week at Tokyo 21 -- they were glazed and tasteless but looked magnificent (reminded me of one of my college girlfriends).

    David "Is there any reason why 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' is NOT our National Anthem" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #8 - July 7th, 2006, 8:04 pm
    Post #8 - July 7th, 2006, 8:04 pm Post #8 - July 7th, 2006, 8:04 pm
    David Hammond wrote:I'm with C2 on the antelope pastrami -- I mean, really, you could pastramize squirrel, 'coon, or bull moose, and it'd probably taste pretty much the same.


    Bear [sic] in mind, pastrami started with camel.

    David "Is there any reason why 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' is NOT our National Anthem" Hammond


    If Disney (or some other fabulously wealthy and therefore politically connected corporation) owns the rights and thinks it would increase profits, they might yet make it happen.

    :evil:

    Antonius Malus
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #9 - August 3rd, 2006, 8:56 pm
    Post #9 - August 3rd, 2006, 8:56 pm Post #9 - August 3rd, 2006, 8:56 pm
    Redwood Creek just made another pass through town on its free food exotica and wine pairing tour in partnership with the Explorers Club. The festivities occurred at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum again, with this year's theme being "Off the Eaten Path"

    The program actually started across the street at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park. The gung-ho docents pointed out many tasty edibles that we ignore every day. Now I know when I can stock up on my arrowroot, nodding onion, and ground cherry. Unfortunately the tour was cut short due to torrential downpour.

    After swimming across the street, we were greeted by an open bar with the full array of Redwood Creek wines and some ordinary snacks for the less adventurous.

    For the less meek, the menu for the night consisted of:

    Image

    as well as 1 bonus item not listed - a pigeon pate served on toast. I was also at the last event and much of the fare was the same or quite similar to last time.

    My friends and I were able to snag an choice spot in the area where the serving staff was bringing in trays of each item. The service is cocktail-party style with roving trays through the crowd. As a result, we were fortunate to have a chance to taste everything and generally avoid being trampled by those eager for their cricket fix.

    My short opinions of the fare:

    Dandelion in Pine Nut Butter - Quite bitter, could have just as well been endive.
    Black Currant and Roasted Ant Tarts - There was a single large ant in each tart. When eaten together, the sweetness of the dried currants overwhelmed the ant. I did have a chance to try one ant solo and it was much more interesting. It had a nice smoky/salty quality.

    Image

    Fried Yucca Root and Flower Pancakes with a Wild Choke Cherry Dipping Sauce - The pancake was extremely bland, but the cherry sauce was a nice complement. It wasn't much different that a regular cherry sauce.
    Rosemary Rattlesnake Cake - The best item of the evening. The cakes had a nice spicy kick and were served with a dill sauce that contrasted nicely. These would be a hit at any cocktail party.
    Baked Worm Pretzels - I'm not sure if I get how they were pretzels, though I guess they were crispy. The worms were flavorless and completely overwhelmed by the tomato.

    Image

    Scorpions - The most fun item to eat in terms of "ick" factor. The scorpion itself was fine, if not particularly flavorful. As with other items, when eaten with the other components in the appetizer (in this case, a sun-dried tomato cream cheese and a leaf of endive), it was overwhelmed.

    Image

    Spicy Fried Cactus Pods - Not spicy, not crisp, and really uninteresting.

    North American Cricket (as opposed to the European Cricket) served with Cactus Pear Jelly - Probably the 2nd best item of the night. In this case the crunch of the cricket paired well with the cactus pear jelly.

    Image

    Pigeon Pate - Just about the same as any other mystery pate I've ever eaten. We wondered aloud if this snuck in under the foie gras ban.

    To cap off the evening, every attendee received a bottle of Redwood Creek Pinot Gris as a parting gift.

    It was an enjoyable night and I hope Redwood Creek continues to host these events (though a little menu variation next time might be nice).
    Last edited by css60657 on August 3rd, 2006, 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #10 - August 3rd, 2006, 9:07 pm
    Post #10 - August 3rd, 2006, 9:07 pm Post #10 - August 3rd, 2006, 9:07 pm
    HI,

    While many of the critters were the same, there were at least variations in the presentations!

    I would have loved to have gone again had I known. If and when you hear of another, will you let us know?

    Thanks for the update ... and welcome to LTHforum!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - August 4th, 2006, 8:53 am
    Post #11 - August 4th, 2006, 8:53 am Post #11 - August 4th, 2006, 8:53 am
    Please don't get me wrong -- more power to you if this sort of thing floats your boat. However, this whole thing strikes me as a bit bizarre. I just couldn't imagine eating ants, crickets or scorpions -- no matter how overserved I was. And the pictures certainly don't make these items more enticing. I'm curious -- was this event well-attended? Do some of the folks actually eat this kind of thing on a regular basis?
  • Post #12 - August 4th, 2006, 11:21 am
    Post #12 - August 4th, 2006, 11:21 am Post #12 - August 4th, 2006, 11:21 am
    Ron A. wrote:Please don't get me wrong -- more power to you if this sort of thing floats your boat. However, this whole thing strikes me as a bit bizarre. I just couldn't imagine eating ants, crickets or scorpions -- no matter how overserved I was.


    Apparently you haven't read Joys of Eating the Road Less Traveled at Sticky Rice :shock:

    I'm a bit squeamish on that front myself, though.
  • Post #13 - August 6th, 2006, 11:26 pm
    Post #13 - August 6th, 2006, 11:26 pm Post #13 - August 6th, 2006, 11:26 pm
    The event is well attended, and though that might be due as much to the open wine bar as the food itself, all of the critters went fast. In fact, the only things that seemed to go slow were the more mundane bits like the fried cactus and the dandelions.

    Though the bugs don't reall "bug" me, I can empathize on the squeamish angle. I can't stomach many of the animal innards that are often popular here on this board. Give me a scorpion over tripe or brain tacos any day.
  • Post #14 - August 7th, 2006, 9:18 pm
    Post #14 - August 7th, 2006, 9:18 pm Post #14 - August 7th, 2006, 9:18 pm
    Just wanted to share more photos.

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Image Image

    Image

    Image Image

    Image
    If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.
  • Post #15 - August 10th, 2006, 6:30 pm
    Post #15 - August 10th, 2006, 6:30 pm Post #15 - August 10th, 2006, 6:30 pm
    freakin'korican wrote:Just wanted to share more photos.

    Freakin'Korican,

    Welcome to LTHForum. Great first post, your photos are terrific!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - August 10th, 2006, 10:26 pm
    Post #16 - August 10th, 2006, 10:26 pm Post #16 - August 10th, 2006, 10:26 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,
    I would have loved to have gone again had I known. If and when you hear of another, will you let us know?


    Me too, please!

    I have not had a chance to taste bugs (except for the occasional candied ant or grasshopper for a joke) but figure that if you like crustaceans it's not too much of a reach. And the presentations look cool.
  • Post #17 - August 10th, 2006, 10:31 pm
    Post #17 - August 10th, 2006, 10:31 pm Post #17 - August 10th, 2006, 10:31 pm
    freakin'korican,

    The spittin' image of every gardner's nightmare!

    Image

    Run to the hills! :wink:

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - November 24th, 2013, 9:56 pm
    Post #18 - November 24th, 2013, 9:56 pm Post #18 - November 24th, 2013, 9:56 pm
    I'm not sure how this conversation came about, but I was at dinner this weekend with my father-in-law and the conversation turned to maggot cheese, and, somehow, scorpions. He said he'd try that (both). I thought maybe Sticky Rice would serve scorpions since I'm pretty sure they have silkworms, yes? Any info on where to take him to get his bug fix? I am also pretty sure I am taking him to the Coon Feed in January.

    Thanks!
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #19 - November 25th, 2013, 3:12 am
    Post #19 - November 25th, 2013, 3:12 am Post #19 - November 25th, 2013, 3:12 am
    Mike Sula recently reported on a Cremeria La Ordena, their stinkbugs and chapulines (and I can attest that when the latter are done right, they're quite pleasant): http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/mexican-grocery-cremeria-la-ordena-cheeses-moles/Content?oid=11197113
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more