If you keep track of your national food holidays, you know that today is National Blueberry Muffin Day. But in Prairie Village, a different fruit is being honored. Today is also National Rainier Cherry Day, celebrating the cherries grown in America's Northwest.
To give the Rainier cherries — a large yellow cherry with a sassy red blush — an extra 15 minutes of fame on their "National Day," the regional cherry growers association, Northwest Cherries, has arranged for "one iconic restaurant in each of the 50 states" to create and serve at least one special dish featuring the fruit as part of a Tree to Table promotion. In the Kansas City metro, that "iconic" restaurant is the popular, but only one-year-old Tavern in the Village at 3901 Prairie Lane (across the parking lot from the late, formerly iconic Waid's diner). Before it had reached its current iconic status — who knew? — Tavern in the Village participated in last year's Rainier cherry promotion.
The new chef at Tavern in the Village, since last November anyway, is Zeb Humphrey (former executive chef Lon Froneberger moved to Florida last autumn). Tavern in the Village owner Kelly Manning says Humphrey will introduce two new specials, an entree and a dessert, that will be served tonight and probably through next week.
Humphrey's two culinary creations are a slow-roasted pork shoulder with spiced Rainier cherries and a Rainier cherry gastrique (served with whipped potatoes and creamed spinach for $18) and a featured dessert, a Rainier cherry panna cotta with a cherry-bourbon coulis, priced at $7.
"Last year, the specials were so popular that we ran them for two weeks," Manning says.
For more information or reservations, Tavern in the Village can be called at 913-529-2229.