The big party downtown this weekend brought some excellent food.
Of course, since its summer, that means elephant ears and similar fare. The food at the jazz festival included some excellent concessionaires.
The festival didn’t include the new restaurant Artisan as some hoped. Kurt Janowsky’s new high-end venture at 505 S. Main St. isn’t ready yet.
Another restaurant opened as the festival did. Cubby Cone Yogurt Shop opened alongside Cubby Bear Pizza after passing its health department inspection Friday afternoon.
Other than Cafe Navarre, there weren’t pop-up restaurants this year. David Smith, co-chairman of the festival, said downtown space is more limited. But the former Casey’s and Brownstone Lounge locations are both still empty and were restaurants. It’s probably more an issue of restaurant operators not going beyond normal operations to come downtown for a weekend. It’s a lot of work and I talked to a couple operators who said they wanted to, but didn’t have enough employees to pull it off.
But downtown restaurants were busy. 523 Tap & Grill, McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk and The Daily Grind went out of their way to do something special. Others joined in and stepped up. And that’s always cool to see and taste.
Before the festival started, I got to have dinner with musicians Bucky Pizzarelli, John Bany, Ed Laub and others. We had a nice time at Chubby Trout and I learned that when musicians from the East Coast come to the Midwest, they’re likely to order lake fish. Pizzarelli and Laub got the walleye.
• I’m looking forward to Yoga in the Vineyard, an event to raise money for HeartStrings Sisters. Tickets are $40 for an evening of yoga, wine-tasting and live entertainment (other than me doing yoga) at Fruit Hills Winery & Orchard, 55503 S.R. 15, Bristol. You can reserve a spot at www.yogainthevineyard.com or by calling 877-566-4660.
• Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Elkhart County is planning Bottlecaps & Corks: An Amateur Beer & Wine Competition.
From 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 29, guests can sample selections from brewers and winemakers in Michiana. The $40 admission includes a souvenir glass, a food item and beer and wine tastings, according to a press release. Sarah Duis first reported the news on Flavor574.com.
Guests must be 21 years and older to attend. Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets. For submission guidelines, visit BBBS online.
All funds raised will benefit BBBS of Elkhart County. The fundraiser will be held at Christiana Creek Country Club, 116 W. Bristol St., Elkhart.
• Bob Pfaff used to knock on the window of the Old Style Deli early in the morning and want owner Janice Hayden to make a batch of fish.
She’d let him in. And they’d make the fish. As she said, you eat half a dozen pieces of fresh bluegill and perch, you’re good for most of the day.
The Elkhart attorney, who died May 9, would have been 81 on Wednesday, June 18. And Hayden fried a batch in his honor. Family members and friends gathered at the restaurant at 200 S. Main St. for breakfast - including fish.
Pfaff taught her how to make fish, Hayden said. The key is a flour mixture with a bit of seasoning and keeping the skin on. “The skin makes the crispy outside,” she said. The scales should be removed on the fish. Pfaff used an electric scaler, she said.
Pfaff was a character. He could weave a tale, whether it was in a courtroom or around a dinner table. He’d gather with friends and play cribbage, eat and drink. I sat around a table with him this winter and enjoyed a night of stories, of toasts, of a guy who loved life.
Ben Pfaff, Bob’s son, was at Old Style Wednesday morning with his mother, Betty, and sister, Elise. He had fish on his plate. And he told of how his grandmother would fix fish for breakfast. That’s where Bob learned it.
They told a few tales this morning. And they remembered a man they loved.
You can get Pfaff’s recipe for frying panfish at Flavor574.com.
• Goshen’s independent record store is opening a beer garden for its summer concert series, according to a report from the Truth’s Emily Taylor.
Ignition Music Garage owner Steve Martin asked staff and store regulars what they wanted for this summer. Their response was beer and wine.
Martin is in the process of transforming the 30-foot square area behind the music venut at 120 E. Washington St. into a beer garden, complete with chairs, tables and room for tastings. It will be open only for concerts and occasional First Fridays events. The music store has sold alcohol at its shows, including the one last Wednesday by jam band Moe.
The garden will open for a trial run on the weekend of July 4. Ignition hopes to be working with local wine vendor Per La Mer, and Elkhart brewery New Paradigm Brewing Co. for the opening weekend.
• Congrats to Aaron and Kendra Nafziger on a year of ownership of Constant Spring, 219 S. Main St., Goshen. They’ve made some positive changes and the place is as busy as ever. The menu and beer selection are solid and the service usually matches it.
• A full-blown column will return next week. This week, Kate Stoltzfus wrote a cool story on all the Burger Wars contestants on Flavor574.com. Make sure you check that out.
Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, email@example.com, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.