All posts tagged: local

Beyond Local: Taste the Spirit of Montana at Lilac in Billings

Montana is called “the last best place,” a long-cherished refrain that applies now more than ever to its increasingly innovative restaurants. Here, beneath an expansive blue sky, diners can taste not just Montana ingredients, but the spirit of the state itself. Expressed through food, the Montana identity values the land and landscape, direct communication and unpretentiousness, affordability and responsibility, and an ironclad sense of character—in ingredients, dishes, cooking technique, and people too. Nestled in the Yellowstone River Valley beneath breathtaking sandstone cliffs, Billings is the largest city in the state, where I grew up, and home to Lilac, a restaurant that has earned local adoration and national accolades. Just a year after it opened in 2012, Lilac was the only restaurant in the state to be included in OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice Award for the Top 100 American Fare Restaurants in the United States. It’s not hard to see how Lilac, and its proprietor and chef Jeremy Engebretson, embody the best of what could be called “Montana cuisine.”   In an intimate space on historic Montana Avenue, …

The Food Heritage, Hybridity & Locality Conference

The Food Heritage, Hybridity, and Locality Conference, which was held here at Brown University, October 23-25, 2014. This exciting event brought together presenters from throughout the United States and across the globe, whose work explores the intersection of tradition, place, and the dynamic processes of fusion, melding, and hybridization that create new food phenomena. Providence, Rhode Island proved a unique host for this conference—and not just because it has earned top rankings among Travel and Leisure’s America’s favorite food cities. As the conference call for papers states so well, waves of immigration have fashioned Rhode Island food culture into a unique hybrid, marked by such gastronomic wonders as Rhode Island chowder, whose clear broth defies both cream and tomato-based conventions, and Johnnycakes, cornmeal cakes whose origins are a complex combination of worlds both old and new. Even local, homegrown favorites fuse the conference’s themes of heritage, hybridity, and locality, like Del’s lemonade, a lemon flavored Italian ice sold from distinctive mobile units that first set up shop in Cranston, Rhode Island in 1948, and coffee milk, a beverage very deservedly Rhode Island’s state drink. Rhode Island provides additional examples, including the chow …

Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee: A Site and Source of Bostonian Identity

It’s January 7, which means that many folks must excitedly or begrudgingly head back to work after a wintery escape that began just before Christmas. This day requires a little extra courage and motivation, which might be found in a cup of coffee. If you’re like the 50 percent of Americans who buys coffee at work, I invite you to sip and enjoy this first section from my paper, “Dunkin’ Donuts: A Site and Source of Bostonian Identity.” The landscape of New England is marked by not only world-famous fall foliage and monuments to America’s history, but also the abundant pink and orange signs of Dunkin’ Donuts, which despite being an international franchise, is a powerful symbol and source of regional pride and identity. Writing as a local, Mike Miliard links Dunkin’ Donuts with Bostonian identity in his Boston Phoenix article, “Choosing Our Religion: How One Little Post-War Doughnut Shop Became Synonymous with Boston’s Identity,” as he says, “It’s a lynchpin of our identity. It’s a religion. It’s a cult. People in these parts freaking …