Graduation bbq down on the farm…

Tonight we went to the perfect graduation get together for our dear friend Nick, who is headed off to University of Colorado Boulder this fall.  Get ready girls…he will be one BMOC.

The party was held on an organic farm, Heritage Prairie (, in Geneva, outside Chicago.  The setting, even on this gloomy spring day, was so relaxed and beautiful.  The barn opens onto a lovely herb and vegetable garden, with goats, chickens, a hen house, silos…all the romantic farm architecture.

Inside the barn Angie, the hostess with the mostess, had set two long communal farmhouse tables with long linear designs of three elements:  fresh picked wildflowers in canning jars, oversize candles, and rustic pitchers of orange and mint infused water (gorgeous color and so simple to do).  The bar featured fresh lemonade in pitchers, served in more charming petite canning jars.  Why does that simple detail transport us to times gone by?  I love the little thoughtful details.

The menu blew me away…it was the ultimate bbq turned glorious harvest banquet.  The ingredients are grown, farmed and prepared on site – giving you the ultimate farm to table experience.  What a refreshing, inspiring experience for a city girl.  I had to run back to my car to get my camera!

A trio of huge, bountiful spring salads were displayed in oversize hammered copper bowls, making a jaw dropping presentation on the buffet.  My favorite was cherry tomato, corn, avocado and basil tossed in lemon. How fabulous is that for each and every summer menu?  Second was a rough chop asian slaw, followed by a leafy green salad with yellow and red beets, sunflower seeds and more.  Next was a heaping platter of bbq beef ribs, and a roasted potato hash topped with grilled flank steak slices.  I helped myself to the has and steak three times…it was that good.  The hash combined perfectly roasted and salted fingerlings, sweet potato (my favorite) and onion, with thinly sliced steak on top.  I love when the steak is cooked perfectly, and easy to cut with a fork, and tonight it was just as easy to slice as butter.

Dessert followed, with fresh from the oven cupcakes, cookies, whop pie pies, and divine mini chocolate milkshakes.  Of course for once I didn’t have dessert, because I was fixated on the buffet, having seconds followed by thirds.

Making the party even more memorable was an acoustic guitarist, flown in from Potbelly’s infamous rafters, filling the barn with wonderful renditions of every great song you can imagine.  Greg Boerner is hired – what magic he added to the party.  (

The farm and this entire party would also be perfect for any occasion – small wedding, rehearsal dinner, cocktail party, birthday party, corporate event, and more.  I cannot wait to go back to the farm.  I am already brainstorming on how in the world I can get my clients and friends to drive the 1+ hours west from the city to cecelebrate there in camelot with me…

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