Did you know you can make kale look like a pork rind and taste even better? Well, you can. That’s what we learned last night at The Grocery’s Signature Dinner, featuring owner and chef Kevin Johnson, alongside guest chefs Steven Satterfield (Miller Union in Atlanta) and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo and Gardner restaurants in Austin). It was Wiseheart’s kale chips which launched a wildly innovative vegetable meal dubbed “Not just for vegetarians anymore.”

[image-7] Each table shared plates that ranged from beef terrine with urfa (Turkish chili pepper), mayonnaise, and beef fat to a spring greens chopped salad. But of all the veg-focused dishes to hit our table, these were our top three:

1. Cabbage with duck confit in Anderson Valley Brewing’s The Kimmie, The Yink & The Holy Gose

Wiseheart braised the cabbage for 12 hours. The tart-and-salty combo of the gose paired with the heavenly duck fat may have nixed this dish’s healthy-veggie beginnings, but it certainly made for an addictive bite. If this was available locally, we’d be dining on it for days. Sadly, we inhaled this dish before snapping a photo of it. 

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2. Parsnip cappelletti with duck consommé, pickled yellowfoot, turnips, and cracklin’s

This next delicacy came courtesy of Johnson, and it was all about the broth. Waiters poured the soup atop three cappelletti (“little hats” in Italian) warming them to just the right temperature so that a bite, complete with a small crunch of cracklin’, burst the noodles open to reveal warm parsnip inside. Light and delicate, it was an excellent mid-meal dish.

[image-6]3. Beet Red Velvet Cake

While we loved the interim dishes pre-dessert —  Zipper pea cassoulet, carrots cooked in beef heart, and a citrusy spring greens salad — it was Satterfield’s cake that robbed us of our capacity for clear thought. His beet red velvet cake (featured in his new cookbook Root to Leaf, which you can have him sign at Marion Square at 3 p.m. today) had minimal sweetness which played perfectly off the chevre frosting. Yes, you read that right, goat cheese frosting. Holy cow. We inhaled it before Satterflied had a chance to finish his explanation of the recipe. Suffice it to say, you’ll want his new cookbook if only for this treat — satisfaction guaranteed.