Festivals | Michigan | Travel

Local Roots celebrates flavors of summer

Days have passed since the Local Roots barbecue at Greenfield Village, but I can’t get over the tasty portobello bacon skewers served as appetizers that Friday evening.

What’s truly amazing is that the skewers held no real bacon, only portobellos. Jesse Eisenhuth, director of food service and catering at The Henry Ford, described the hors d’ouevre as “faux bacon.” In his recipe, Eisenhuth squares off the portobellos, cuts them into strips and marinates them in a combinaton of soy sauce, water, toasted sesame oil and spices. And then bakes them. 

These hard-to-have-just-one treats were among a smorgasbord of exceptional fare at the annual event, one of a series of Local Roots dinners held at the Village and The Henry Ford. The summer outing, Local Roots Blues, Brews & Evening Dining BBQ, is the most popular. Barbecue is always the theme but the menu changes depending on the bounty of the summer.

Menu highlights included a grilled leg of lamb with a dry rub, complemented with chimicuri and cucumber yogurt sauce, Korean style country beef ribs and Asian noodle salad. Barbecue staples included corn and tomato salad, BBQ pork ribs and a corn boil. Most everything came from Michigan farmers and producers, including the craft beer.

Part of the appeal of the evening barbecue is a chance to spend time in the pastoral village without the day-time crowds and heat and humidity of late summer. Many of us tried to explore beyond the Pavilion (I got as far as the Logan County Courthouse) and the carousel (open for rides), but were politely turned back by a Village worker on a bicycle. Because of limited staff and security concerns (about guests and artifacts), Village events such as the barbecue are limited to a specified area.

Still, those restrictions did not detract from the evening. How many summer nights can you say you’ve watched a full yellowish moon rise over the Village Green while spinning around on a whimsical horse? Oh, and with ice cream waiting for you from a classic Good Humor truck stationed nearby.



Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.