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Farmington Hills

March 25, 2013

OCC hits it out of the park with baseball beer dinner

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

FARMINGTON HILLS — In just over a week, the boys of summer will be back in the ballpark to kick off another season of Detroit Tigers baseball. 

To celebrate Detroit’s unofficial start of spring, the Culinary Studies Institute at Oakland Community College is hosting a beer- and wine-pairing dinner with a theme centered on America’s favorite pastime.

“It’s a really nice beer-pairing dinner. The next day is opening day for the Tigers, so it’s a beer and food opening day celebration,” said Darlene Levinson, instructor with the CSI.

According to Levinson, the casual evening will feature a number of dishes created with Detroit baseball in mind. From pretzel-crusted lake perch to a Greektown lamb chop, there will be a variety of munchies to choose from at the strolling dinner, each paired with a Michigan-made craft beer sampling that best accentuates the dish’s distinct flavors. Levinson said they’ll even have a Thai Cobb salad, in honor of infamous Tiger Ty Cobb.

“We’ll have all-Michigan beers, and all-Michigan wines available for people that don’t like beer,” she said. “Of course, we’ll have a dessert table, and the evening starts with a cash bar and passed appetizers.”

A night at the ballpark isn’t complete without a few key elements. A pianist will entertain guests during the dinner with baseball organ favorites, including “The Star-Spangled Banner” to begin the evening, and later on, a sing-along of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Chef and culinary instructor Susan Baier said that evenings like the baseball beer pairing are part of the students’ curriculum, and they worked hard to bring their baseball celebration concept to life.

“The idea was presented by the class, and part of the challenge is to work with the buffet and banquets class, which prepares the menu. It’s a learning experience for everybody at a different level,” said Baier. “We usually have kind of frou-frou dinners, so we had to figure out how to do a ballpark theme.”

To go along with the more relaxed nature of the dinner, guests are invited to wear jeans or their favorite baseball fan apparel. But, as with any selections from the OCC CSI repertoire, Baier said, the dishes and microbrews will hardly be your ordinary junk food. 

“It’s going to be an upscale version of what you might find at the ballpark or in Detroit. It’s more fun food.”

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” begins at 6 p.m. April 4 in the third floor dining room of the Orchard Ridge Campus’ J Building.  Admission is $25 per person, and reservations are required. The deadline for purchasing tickets is March 28.

To order tickets, visit the CSI website at www.oaklandcc.edu/culinary. Click “Dine With Us” on the left side of the website and download the order form. Order forms can be faxed to (248) 522-3706.

For more information, call the culinary office at (248) 522-3700. The Orchard Ridge
Campus of Oakland Community College is located at 27055 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills.