I think there is always something special about coming back to your roots. Wouldn’t you agree? Maybe that would explain why this Simple Evening feels more special than most we have done before. Each one of these nights is special in their own way, but this one has a deeper meaning to me. Two Northern Michigan companies that I love dearly came together to create one gorgeous evening and show off what they love most. American Spoon and Huzza are brands that have become staples in my day-to-day life, so to have them come together to do something that we could share was very special to me.
Harbor Springs has always been a special place to me since it was where I was born as well as where my family history lies. This is the place where I first fell in love with Lake Michigan, where I learned to swim, and where I spent many family holidays. It is one of the only places on earth where I can truly relax. Sometimes when we head north to Harbor, I feel I can let everything else fade away. There is something about this place for me that puts me at ease, so when Huzza proposed planning A Simple Evening with American Spoon Mike and I were so excited.
Now to begin, I need to share with you about each of these amazing brands in order to set the evening up properly for you. I will begin with Huzza. We have a larger story planned for them in the coming weeks, but Huzza is a family owned boutique in downtown Harbor Springs. Since 1978 Rad and Kate MacCready have been sourcing and buying the most incredible and unique home and clothing items you can imagine. Their taste and style transcends decades as it casually combines a worldly, classic, and modern vibe. It is all its own and there is no way to predict what they will discover as they trust their eye and gut with each item they add to their life, home, and shop. Now running the company alongside their children Caleb, Cody, and Tobin, the family has pushed into selling online. Together they create gorgeous campaigns and exclusive clothing lines while dreaming big about the next stage of the store’s life.
As for American Spoon, there is a similar story of passion, love, and desire to provide something they believe in. Only for American Spoon it revolved around providing quality local products and bringing excellence to the local food scene before it was ever even considered cool to do so. In 1979, forager Justin Rashid and Chef Larry Forgione brought together Justin’s love of foraging and Larry’s passion for creating the best quality American cuisine. Together they created preserves that are now some of the highest quality in the country. What I find the most interesting and amazing about the story is Justin’s love for discovering and finding what grows naturally amongst the farmlands and woodlands in the area. He then wanted to simply preserve and bottle the rawest and most natural form of these flavors. Thus, American Spoon came to be. Now they own multiple stores across Northern Michigan and ship worldwide. They even have a restaurant location. For years I have grown up on these jars full of goodies that taste of home. From fresh strawberry jam, unique salsas, and raw honey, American Spoon has truly captured the flavors of Northern Michigan.
What I loved about bringing these two brands together was the fact that they both shared such amazing stories of perseverance in creating their brands. They also created their brands around the same time. It felt so special to know we would share in each brands’ unique passions over one meal and on one table. This is why I love these evenings.
As I do for every evening, I love allowing those involved the freedom and space they deserve to create an evening that truly matches their style. For Huzza that meant choosing the decor, setting, and table. Rad and Kate made the decision to hold the dinner at their home on Lake Michigan. This has been their home now for nearly 25 years and over time they have made this space unique. We felt so honored to experience their little piece of paradise. When we came over to walk through everything with them, Kate showed me the issue of Martha Stewart Living that featured a story about their family back in 1995. She and Rad told stories of the hours of work and love they placed into making their dream home so that they could share in special nights such as this with those who matter most to them. So, it was no surprise to me to see the detail and attention that they placed on the table settings, floral arrangements, and more importantly the custom designed table they built just for the night.
Rad designed the table and my cousins Andrew and Trey built Rad’s gorgeous 24′ table and benches that felt perfect amongst the backdrop of the house and ferns. Every serving piece, vase, plate, cocktail glass, wine glass, place setting, napkin, and more were specifically picked from their store for this evening. If you are interested in any of the pieces you can find them here on their site.
Of course there was no way American Spoon would let a good party go by without a great cocktail and wine. As Noah (Justin’s son and owner of American Spoon) opened wine they brought from the cafe, Megan (marketing director) served the famous Jam Jar cocktail during appetizers. I never thought about the potential of using preserves in a cocktail, but my goodness their Blueberry-Lime preserves made one of the best cocktails that was also incredibly pretty.
As we spent the morning working to setup the dinner, the crew at American Spoon spent their day prepping their menu. Chef Chris Dettmer and Nicholas Roznowski designed a menu that not only celebrated the best of summer in Northern Michigan, but also what American Spoon does best. Everything was delightful from the perfectly designed appetizers with their whole seed mustard, pickled relish, and cherry tomato chutney to the chicken skewers with chili jam. The thing that was most special were the foraged chantrelle mushrooms that Justin had pulled and pickled for the evening. I still am remembering how truly special and artful this meal was. There was not a detail overlooked in the presentation of each dish, and the whole team helped out to make it happen.
The night truly came together in every way I could have imagined. As the sunset over Lake Michigan, conversation grew better and Chris brought out the most amazing dessert- a Pavlova with peaches and cream. He served it alongside peach juice shaken with bourbon. To this day it was the best dessert I have ever had, and I am not much of a dessert person. It was fluffy, sweet, and fresh. Washing it down with a little bourbon was perfect as the air was getting chilly. I had the pleasure of getting to meet James Peery who also recently opened a store front in Harbor Springs where he displays his art. Rad has been a longtime fan of his work and I found quite amazing pieces of his in their home. I love to meet new and inspiring people each time I attend these evenings, and this time I felt lucky to have met James.
A fire was stoked inside, but even though there was a good chill in the air we all hung near the candle light for the rest of the evening. Slowly some left, but those of us who remained decided it was only proper to send off summer with the last fireworks of the season. So, we wandered barefoot down the path to the beach with candles and drinks. Though we couldn’t see the lake, you could feel the chill and hear the water lapping at the shore. The sand was perfectly cool under our feet as cool summer days leave the beach each night as fall begins to descend.
The night couldn’t have been better. Even now as I look through all of these images of the night, I feel how magical it truly was and how wonderful the conversations were around candlelight. It was one of the most special things to see two companies that I really believe in and am inspired by come together and compliment each other in every way. It was such an honor to have a chance to join in the evening with them and watch it all unfold first hand. It makes me anxious for the next time it will happen as I hope it will one day.
Those to note:
Styling: Rad MacCready, Tobin MacCready, Kate Bonsted
Floral: Kate MacCready
Photography: Cody MacCready and Mike Gilger
Videography: Mike Gilger
Table Design: Andrew Schorfhaar and Rad MacCready
Huzza has also shared a gorgeous post on their blog as well. Please do not miss it!!
Find all the recipes and further info on how to make this dinner for your guests on the American Spoon blog!