Redlands Conservancy holds ‘Bourbon and Barbecue’ party
Saturday’s outside temperature hit 100 degrees, but those attending Redlands Conservancy’s “Bourbon and Barbecue” party stayed cool high on the hill over Garden Street at the Craftsman home of Donn and Janet Grenda.
Twenty guests savored bourbon-laced beverages and listened to Donn Grenda wax eloquent about the virtues of bourbon while catching the breeze in the shade of the home’s main entrance.
Part of the Conservancy’s Local Chefs Local Food series for the Parties for the Necklace, this party featured chef Darrell Stephenson’s barbecue and meat-smoking skills and Grenda’s passion for bourbon. As guests enjoyed bourbon sangria, mint juleps and straight bourbon — Arnold Palmers were available, too — Grenda explained a few of the technical aspects of bourbon, which must meet several specific criteria.
According to Grenda, bourbon must be 51 percent corn and it must not have any additives or colors added. It does not, he said, have to be made in Kentucky in order to be real bourbon, but its aging time must be labeled.
Stephenson took the bourbon cue and made several dishes that incorporated the beverage into the recipe. He drizzled a bourbon reduction over fried won ton wrappers, which served as mini-pizzas for hummus and micro-greens. Stephenson prepared bourbon butter for the roasted and smoked corn on the cob, and his special barbecue sauce was rumored to have a touch of bourbon. Dessert featured Bananas Foster with bourbon as the fuel for the flames.
After tasting the various bourbon-laced beverages and hearing the bourbon story, guests enjoyed a brief tour of the home’s main rooms. Listed on the Redlands List of Historic Resources, the 1912 house, known as the Robert J. Dunn house, is an example of the “simple but elegant” criteria for Craftsman style buildings.
Guests then sat down at the long table on the shady north side of the house where the plated dinners were served. Barbecued beans with bourbon glaze, sauteed collard greens from Three Sisters Farm, grilled pork ribs and brisket, roasted sweet potatoes and macaroni and cheese (for the vegetarians) filled the plates.
Stephenson came out of the kitchen to greet guests and answer questions about the food preparation. His personal chef business allows him the flexibility to experiment with new recipes, which he shares with his customers.
The next Local Chefs Local Food party is with chef Jolene Redvale Sept. 24 at the home of Bob and Norma Clark. Redvale will prepare and serve an all-vegetarian meal, featuring early autumn fare.
In 2013, the year of Redlands’ Quasquicentennial, two Redlands Unified School District teachers created “R is for Redlands,” an ABC book all about Redlands. Each letter in the alphabet stands for one of Redlands’ iconic buildings or sites — R is for Redlands, E is for Esri, D is for depot, L is for library, A is for Asistencia, N is for navel oranges, S is for smudge pots and Z, of course, is for Zanja.
The co-creators, Redlands Conservancy board member Anneli Pendley and Highland resident Jennifer Bryant, are visual artists, and they created original artwork for each of the sites or buildings. Bryant’s husband, Kevin, wrote the very brief text for each item, and together they created an original rhyme for each letter to help children learn.
According to Bryant and Pendley, this is a typical structure for ABC books as they help children learn about the subject while they are learning the letters.
Printed in full color and hard-bound, the books have been sought after by Redlands-item collectors and by residents and guests who have an appreciation for Redlands. Pendley said she has even shipped books overseas.
The first 1,000-book edition, which was available in September 2013, sold out within four months, so the Conservancy agreed to print a second edition. Pendley and Bryant agreed to make the books a fundraiser for Redlands Conservancy projects, which include historic preservation, citrus preservation, the Zanja Trail and Greenway Park and natural open space acquisitions, among many others.
“This book is for children and adults, with images of Redlands’ major sites,” Pendley said when the book was first published.
“We think it captures all the important places people should know about in Redlands.”
Redlands historian Tom Atchley wrote the text for the Conservancy’s other book, “The Mill Creek Zanja, Driving Tour and Brief History.” Funded by a grant from the History Channel’s Save Our History grant program, the book describes 27 sites along the route of the historic Zanja.
Atchley wrote the book with his students who did extensive research at the A.K. Smiley Public Library’s Heritage Room and the San Bernardino County Museum. The book describes sites including the original location of the intake to divert water from Mill Creek to the route it would take to get to what is now Loma Linda.
Several sites in the Mentone area reveal some of the details of the ditch as it passes through neighborhoods on its way to the Crafton Reservoir, which was not part of the original Zanja.
About halfway through the driving tour, the actual Zanja disappears under the Hatfield Buick lot at Ninth Street, but the driving tour continues, pointing out the historic buildings along the original route of the Zanja and the historic events that happened there.
The book provides turn-by-turn directions for drivers to use as they follow the more-or-less original route of the Mill Creek Zanja.
“R is for Redlands” is still available at Fleur de Lis Gifts at 104 E. State St., Suite K, Redlands, or by contacting the Redlands Conservancy here, for $35 plus tax. “The Mill Creek Zanja Driving Tour and Brief History” is available at Citrograph Printing at 113 E. State St., Redlands, for $10.
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