Outstanding in the Field: A Magical Food Exerience

I recently had a magical food experience with a company called “Outstanding in the Field.”  As a doctor, I can’t emphasize enough just how important connection TO your food and with others OVER food is to your health.  The simple act of seeing where it was grown, picking it, touching it and the dirt it thrives in, chopping it, and putting love into its preparation changes the physiology behind the nutrition, digestion, and health benefits.  You heard me right.  Your connection to your food changes how much it nourishes you.  If you add the way in which you enjoy it on top of that, I may even venture to say that even an unhealthy choice can then have health benefits.  That discussion is for another time, but today, I want to talk about this idea of going to a farm, meeting the farmers, touring the grounds, having a professional chef pour love into the ingredient preparation, and sharing a table with hundreds of other people talking and eating family style.  That, folks, is exactly what Outstanding in the Field has developed.

I arrived at Kinnikinnik Farms in the early evening with a plate.  Why would I bring a plate?  Because it is tradition at the dinners to have guests bring a plate to further enhance the uniqueness of each event.  Even a dinner on the same farm will change based on what is in season, the chef taking artistic liberty in preparation, and the plates that sit atop the table.  The conversations will be unique, the animals on the farm will be new, and the farm will inevitably be different from year to year. The moment in time is taken as a place in time to celebrate all those farmers providing us food to nourish our bodies and souls.  Without farmers, what would you eat?  To take it one step further and honor the hard work that goes into farming organically and sustain-ably, they choose farmers that exemplify this at these dinners.

There was a cocktail hour, where a fantastic Chicago restaurant, called North Pond, provided champagne and a craft cocktail called the Cucumber-basil cooler.  While enjoying the cocktails and walking around the farm exploring, bite size tastings were offered:

Watermelon gazpacho

Goat cheese mousse, pickle gel and spiced pecan

Buttermilk egg salad, dilly beans, and a tart cherry

Roasted eggplant socca crepe, nectarine, and yogurt

These were all one bite (one delicious bite), and I tried really hard not to fill up before dinner even started! Walking around, I explored the tents they rent out for those wanting to unplug and experience life on a farm, the apple trees that have been there for years as gifts to the farmers, and the donkeys that brought me back to my time in the Peace Corps.  Donkeys were abundant in Mali, and I remember how beautiful I thought their marking were.  After a word of thanks to the farmers and getting a little bit of history of the farm, they took us on a tour.  This particular farm used to be mostly vegetables.  The farmers used to have regular jobs.  Just as the market, demand, and life evolve, so did the farmers that bought the farm, lived in a trailer, then above the barn before they could afford to renovate the farmhouse on the property.  As organic vegetable farming becomes less lucrative, the animal husbandry venture becomes much more appealing.  It was fascinating to hear how they evolved, how their animals live, and what they see for the future of the farm as they age.

Then it was time for dinner at a long table in the field, at sunset, family style with strangers.  You know how sometimes you eat something you’ve had quite a few times before and somehow this time it feels like the best thing you’ve ever eaten?  That is how every course (of the 4 courses) were.  I don’t eat bread typically, but I could not NOT enjoy and partake in breaking bread with my neighbors, smeared with cultured butter.  The bread was laid out on the table for tearing and I am pretty sure many hands touched it.  In some ways this seems unsanitary, and in other ways, this is a traditional way to gain exposure to a diverse set of probiotic microbes.  History can often unveil how important certain things are for our health today.

Every course had its own thoughtful wine pairing and the heirloom tomatoes made my eyes roll back…and I don’t even like tomatoes.  This is real talk.  Another way you know your food is magical: when things you don’t enjoy become somewhat addicting in that moment.  I won’t go through every dish served because descriptions don’t do them justice, but I remember thinking to myself how impressed I was with the thoughtful simplicity of the food.  The chef did an amazing job letting the food itself shine without any crazy techniques or wow factors, and sometimes that’s exactly how it should be enjoyed.  The experience lasted about 6 hours, and guess what?  I didn’t have my phone, and I’m not sure anyone sitting around me looked at theirs once (if they even had them available).  It was refreshing to enjoy a meal outside, at sunset, without the interruption of technology.

Needless to say, I will be back and encourage all of you to consider it if you are in the area of one.  It’s an experience of a lifetime, and will certainly enhance your appreciation for the land, the food it provides, the farmers that tend to the land, the environment you eat in, and the people which you share the simple act of eating with. If I could sum it up in one idea, it would be: “An experience of food from the land to moment you realize the satisfaction and nourishment it provided you.”

I think it’s important to also point out that you do not have to participate in an event like this to get to know local farmers, grow some food, prepare food, or share your food.  I encourage each of you to do more of each of those things, and you’ll never look at food the same ever again because it will always have a story.  Life is nothing more than a series of stories that fill up your soul.  Enjoy it! These were the only pictures I could wrangle without a phone!

Guide to Health-Conscious Foodie Dining: OneFourteen

I have had a series of restaurant reviews in the hopper for a long time now.  Like 3 years… I’m officially ready to give you my opinions on some dining options.  I wanted to accomplish a couple things when doing these reviews so it fits the needs to my readers.

  • Quality of ingredients
  • Adaptability for dietary needs
  • Taste
  • Experience
  • Price and accessibility

I wanted to follow a set of rules when going through the dining experience because I believe food is somewhat of an art, and I think going in changing everything alters the original intention of how the dish was intended, the experience around it, and the flavor profile.  So, here are couple rules I plan to follow with every review:

  • Order as it’s intended on the menu
  • Order anything that is hard to find elsewhere
  • Order a meal and a cocktail (if available)
  • Ask the server about their favorite thing on the menu

Welp, here it goes.  A review of my experience at the new restaurant in Mishawaka/South Bend called One Fourteen.

Here is the website. Here is the menu.

What I ordered: Parm Fries, the Onefourteen burger and the Cold Killa cocktail

Quality of ingredients:

While there isn’t a lot of information provided on the ingredients used, it does appear that they are trying to use ingredients that are thoughtful.  You will not find grassfed beef on the menu despite the array of burger options, but you will find plenty of options that include plants.  Since quality screams nutrient content in my opinion, this is important to how high somewhere rates for my readers.  The burger I ordered had pate and marrow.  These are ingredients you won’t find in many places and are packed full of nutrients!  Organs are one of my favorite things that patients are recommended to experiment with, and if they can have someone else prepare them, it’s a win-win.

*Update: I got some more details that I thought I should update!  The get their meat from Sawyers Meats in South Bend Farmers Market, buns from Breadsmith of South Bend and as much local produce as they can find.  Every sauce, dressing, and condiment is made in house!

Adaptability for dietary needs:

If you are trying to avoid gluten, meat, or dairy, you WILL be able to eat.  I ordered the burger with the bun, which came to me packaged with gold leaf on top.  You heard me right.  My bun had actual gold leaf on top. A nice touch that you may miss if you order sans bun.  I ate some of the burger with the bun but, quickly ditched it.  You could order any burger without a bun.  They also have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options for those avoiding meat.  Since vegan options are available, that means some alternative dairy, as well.  If you are trying to stay low carb, there are veggie options to replace fries.  I do not know if they rotate, but asparagus was the option when I went.


This is the one everyone cares about, right?  Who cares how healthy or unhealthy if it doesn’t taste good.  The burger was good.  Since my burger choice was fatty in nature, I thought it could have used an acidic addition to cut through the richness.  I notice they do this with many dishes by using kimchi.  It was messy, which doesn’t bother me because I usually don’t hold it anyway.  The fries were amazing.  They are thoughtfully seasoned with herbs that I couldn’t pinpoint exactly, but I do believe rosemary is part of the blend.  They are well seasoned and there’s nothing fake about them.  I have a place in my heart for places that do fries well.  The cocktail was a smoky mescal garnished with a beautiful flower and the rim dipped in coarse salt.  I usually HATE smoky drinks, but this was pretty perfectly balanced.  I would definitely order it again just to drink with my eyes if nothing else!  I also tasted the herb spritzer and this is right up my alley being refreshing, herby, and light.  This would be my go-to if I was a frequent flyer.


The service was attentive but not pushy, which is just how I like it.  The place is a little gangsta with a modern twist.  The décor is clean with thoughtful touches such as a penny floor as you enter, navy napkins that liken to denim, and a winged selfie wall in the bathroom.  I love the idea of interaction.  There aren’t many places you can go where Tupac adorns the wall and gold leaf tops your burger.  The perfect match for the age group that grew up listening to Biggie, Tupac, and Dré but has developed a palate for interesting flavor profiles and twists on the classics.

Price and accessibility:

I order the most expensive burger on the menu topping it out at $18.  However, I’d say most pricing was standard for a sit-down burger joint with craft cocktails.  It is somewhat quaint inside, and they do not take reservations.  So, it may be a wait if you go during peak times and if you are coming from Elkhart, it’s a jog.  However, it’s got an antique shop next door that can occupy the time while you wait, and they have plenty of standing room in the bar area for a cocktail.

Overall, I would give onefourteen an 88% if I’m throwing back to my professor days.  I think they have done an awesome job as a new restaurant because let’s face it, starting a restaurant isn’t easy!  They have dared to experiment and offer interesting options, and they have thought about the experience.  I have to take away some points for quality in terms of healthy meaning top shelf: grassfed, organic, local, etc.  I would love to hear about your personal experience!  If there are any other pieces of information you would like me to touch on, let me know and I will try to include that in future reviews.

My First Night at the Barre

During the winter, I often go into hibernation. I don’t work out as much, when I do I want it to be hot, and I decrease my workout intensity. I decided to not do Crossfit for a couple months out of convenience. There is a pilates studio right by me, and figured why not? I’m always up for new things. I have all kinds of classes to choose from including barre, yoga and pilates. The first class I showed up for was a barre class. My preconceived notion of how it was going to work was:
We will stand at the ballerina bar and do poses.
That wasn’t exactly what happened. I happened to start at the end of a plank challenge for the ladies and they all gave me a smirk when the instructor announced it was my first day. We would be doing a 2 min. 45 sec plank. It’s not my first rodeo, so I was up for it. I made it the entire plank duration, and to be honest, everything I hate about planks was rampant in barre class. It’s lot of small movements without rests that make your muscles sort of quiver and your brain starts playing games with you. I’ve always been one for powerful bursts of speed or strength, the occasional bit of body weight endurance, and full of competition.
Competition is not a word at barre class. It’s you against your own brain here, ladies. No one else cares what you are doing and you certainly won’t be keeping score.
Despite some of the work being fatiguing to muscle groups, I did not come close to sweating during class. The instructor pointed out the section that counts for cardio, but I’m not sure I would consider it cardio compared to other types of exercise.
I will say that despite having prior strength on my side, my shoulder muscles were sore for 3 days after! So, just because it’s lower intensity, doesn’t mean you won’t feel the burn (for possibly days after!)
I am not the most coordinated person when it comes to classes, and I had no trouble following along. That was a positive. You do follow along, but it wasn’t anything overly complicated where you wish you were in the back of the room hiding from everyone because you are messing everything up.
All the women were very welcoming and my guess is that they are regulars every week at that time. ;) That’s part of what I love about Crossfit, so I’m sure they feel the same about their gym family.
Would I do it again? Sure. Did I love it as my main source of exercise? Not so much. I think it’s something that can be a great addition to Crossfit, if you are someone who loves crossfit like myself. It would help with core stability, mental toughness, and the isometric stabilization of the body.
Bottom line: I’ll do it again, but I probably won’t keep it as my main source of movement for longer than a couple months.