Sweet corn days

It’s been a little over a month since we opened. To be honest, it feels like a day and a year at the same time. Lots of new people, new experiences and a crash-course in running a restaurant. I expect that’s going to continue every day our doors are open.

One of the best things about opening in July was that we hit the sweet spot on sweet corn season. Our Mexican Sweet Corn has been one of the most popular items on our menu. What I especially enjoyed about this dish is that it required almost daily trips out to Skelly’s Farm. Richard and I would head out in the morning to pick through the corn bin, loading up two or three bags to bring to the kitchen. Full disclosure, there were usually a few fresh farm doughnuts purchased, too.

Many mornings also called for a trip out to Sorg’s to pick up chickens and beef. Taking the country roads, passing those fields of corn and soybeans on sunny summer mornings, was a daily reminder of the simple beauty that surrounds us. It was a great way to get grounded to face long, busy days.

The corn runs to Skelly’s are coming to a close. The season is winding down, opening up new possibilities. That’s one of the fun things about being a seasonally driven restaurant – the menu doesn’t get stale. Corn and heirloom tomatoes will soon come off the menu (we are planning to freeze some local produce to help get us through the winter). Dishes featuring beets and Brussels sprouts look like contenders as replacements.

Seasonality affects the bar, too. It’s been fascinating to watch what a 10-degree swing will do to the drinking habits of our guests. When the weather is hotter, our bartenders pump out Mojitos, Daisy Janes and Pimmp’s Cups. When it cools down into the 70s, the thirst for Old Fashioneds seems to go up exponentially.

I love the last weeks of summer – packing in that last vacation before school or just trying to find that rare lazy afternoon to linger over a book. September is wistful month as the summer days get noticeably shorter and there’s a touch of autumn in the air. Every opportunity to be outside seems a bit more precious than it did in July, when the summer days seemed effortlessly endless.

The change of seasons inspires us at Lark and it's one of the many things I love about living in Wisconsin. We’re already thinking about our fall menu and what we’ll want to eat and drink when it’s sweater weather.

But for now, I’ll cling to these last lovely weeks of summer and have another ear of luscious, buttery corn.

Joan NeenoLark