Homestyle readers tune in for 'Design in Detroit' event

Jodi Noding
The Detroit News

Cajun Shrimp Pasta,  Black Magic and more were on the agenda Thursday night when more than 100 readers gathered for  “Design in Detroit,” the fall virtual Dish and Design event  emceed by Detroit News Restaurant Critic Melody Baetens.

Chef Rachel Bordine of the Block in Midtown Detroit  kicked off the evening by demonstrating two dishes on the restaurant's current menu.

Chef Rachel Bordine, of The Block, a Detroit restaurant, seasons crispy Brussels sprouts during a cooking demonstration during Dish & Design.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta, featuring cream, peppers and several proteins, can be made in 10 minutes,  Bordine said, as she prepared the dish for the audience.

"This is a really great dish to put in your pocket and impress your friends. It's super, super simple," she said.  "It's a comfort food. But it's a little bit spicy and a little bit different."

Her audience tip for cooking shrimp:  The shrimp shape starts as a  "U" and goes into an "O" when it's overcooked, she said. Home cooks want to look  for a spot in the middle.  

Not far away at SheWolf Pastificio & Bar,  Dan Reinisch whipped up a couple of tempting cocktails live for the audience.

The beverage director focused on twists on Detroit classic drinks, such as the Last Word,  a gin-based Prohibition-era cocktail.

Dan Reinisch, Beverage director at SheWolf Pastificio & Bar, demonstrates the construction of a drink during Dish & Design.

"It's one of my favorite drinks because it  has those big, loud spirits," he said, and added that it was created at the Detroit Athletic Club,  and appeared for the first time on a menu in 1915.

 SheWolf spins off the classic drink into the Black Magic, which uses a raw egg among its ingredients and is finished off with  drops of orange bitters dyed black with squid ink for more of a visual pop.

Reinisch told viewers that to make a cocktail with egg or cream, you want to shake it without ice first, to break it down,  about 15-20 seconds.  Then add the ice and shake again. "Practice makes perfect. Eight to 10 seconds is all you need to make sure you are aerating it properly," he said.   

Moving over to the home front, Kyle Hoff and Alex O'Dell, co-founders of the online furniture company Floyd, gave viewers a personal tour of their Detroit design studio.

The company's focus is sustainability and creating pieces that people will use for many years.

"We are really thinking about the whole home,"  says Hoff, "solving problems around furniture and how people move it and keep it."

The duo started with the Floyd Leg, which allowed a buyer to create a table from any flat service. It was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and they drove around delivering the products themselves, O'Dell said. 

The company now sells beds, sofas, shelving and more, all with a focus on pieces that are functional, adaptable and that customers can easily add to over time. 

Even though the pieces must be put together once delivered, O'Dell and Hoff say the time requirement is minimal, more minutes than hours.  

Duncan Campbell, A member of the Oudolf Garden Detroit Grounds Crew, talks during Dish & Design about the varieties of plants, trees, shrubs and grasses that make up the Belle Isle garden.

The evening wrapped up with a video tour from Oudolf Garden Detroit, situated on Belle Isle and designed by famed garden designer Piet Oudolf. The gardens opened to the public in August. 

Duncan Campbell, a member of the Oudolf Garden Detroit grounds crew, walked viewers through the space, explaining the process of installing the expansive garden.

Oudolf is known for his naturalistic gardens, Campbell said.  The beds are designed to constantly change  and don't rely on fertilizers or pesticides. "What you see in April is not what you see in July," he said. 

The beds have signs with QR codes so visitors can easily access the garden plans, even calling up information about individual plants, including how they are pronounced. 

 "Piet's practices are very sustainable and a great example for people to take home," Campbell said. 

Homestyle's Dish and Design is offered several times a year. The next event is planned for December.