Fresh & amp;amp; Tasty

EVENT & r & & r & Sustainable Bounty

& lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hat happens when you introduce a bunch of local farmers to some local chefs and then invite a gaggle of hungry people over? That's what the nonprofit group Futurewise aims to learn on Wednesday night with the first-ever FUTUREWISE FEAST WITH FRIENDS in Spokane at the Caf & eacute; MAC. The group wisely added six wineries and a distillery to the guest list as well.

"What we're trying to do here is to promote the buy-local ethic both for restaurants and regular people," says Kitty Klitzke, the Eastern Washington coordinator for Futurewise, a statewide land-use advocacy organization based in Seattle.

That buy-local theme is at the heart of the feast, which is modeled after a successful event that Futurewise holds annually in Seattle. Participating food producers agreed to donate seasonal organic produce, sustainably raised meat, eggs, grains, goat cheese and more. Chefs from the featured restaurants will then prepare dishes made from those ingredients and offer the dishes to guests. Wines and spirits to complement the dishes will be available.

Among the 15 farms and food producers are Cliffside Orchards, Olsen Farm, Quillisascutt Cheese Co., Rickman Gulch Farm, Shepherd's Grain and Tolstoy Farms. (They've even got Crandall's Coffee from Riverview Orchard near Kettle Falls, so coffee drinkers won't have to abstain from their favorite non-local brew.) Chefs from seven area restaurants -- Caf & eacute; MAC by D'Zaar, Catacombs, Lovitt, Luna, Meritage Caf & eacute;/Vin Rouge, Picabu Bistro and Wild Sage -- plus the Great Harvest Bread Co. will create multiple dishes each. Diners will migrate from booth to booth to sample the chefs' wares. Arbor Crest, China Bend, Robert Karl, Townshend Cellar, Whitestone Winery and Mountain Dome will pour local vintages, and the all-new Dry Fly Distilling will be on hand with locally produced spirits. (And we're not talking about s & eacute;ances.)

The main reason behind the feast is to get the word out to people in Spokane about Futurewise's work -- and to show that eating sustainably and locally needn't be an act of asceticism. Klitzke says, "Our mission is to make our communities healthy places to live."

Healthy -- and delicious. -- ANN M. COLFORD

"A Futurewise Feast With Friends" at the Caf & eacute; MAC by D'Zaar, 2316 W. First Ave., on Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 6-9 pm. Tickets are $40 and up, in advance only. To RSVP, e-mail or call 838-1965.

CASUAL & r & & r & Taste of Philly

& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t's been said we bring a bit of "home" with us wherever we go. So while Joe Katz is a long way from his former home in the same area of south Philadelphia where cheesesteaks were "invented" 80 years ago, he recreates the sounds and smells of his favorite food on a daily basis. And JOE'S PHILLY CHEESESTEAK AND HOAGIE FACTORY is making new Philly cheesesteak fans all over Sandpoint, a town better known for its vegan offerings.

After 27 years working for the Forest Service, Katz was ready for a change. He trained with a nephew in Florida who owns a sports bar, and then converted a former real estate office into a thriving local joint that caters to the lunch, casual dinner and take-out crowd.

Any other relevant experience? "I've been eating them all my life," he says, laughing.

Katz special-orders the Philly-style hoagie bread and lightly toasts it. For meat, he uses sirloin sliced very thin, accented with Italian seasonings and grilled using olive oil. Rather than being greasy -- like the cheesesteaks I remember from my young adult forays into New York -- Katz's cheesesteaks are moistened with beef broth.

A little healthier, he says.

Cheese options include provolone, American or Swiss. (In Philly, some places actually offer Cheez Whiz!) You can have any topping you want... as long as it's peppers, onions or mushrooms, and marinara sauce by special order. Add hot peppers if you want, but the meat is too flavorful to overpower it with so much heat.

An 8-inch Philly Steak ($6) is a hearty meal for one, while the 12-inch ($8) might feed two. Variations include steak and egg ($5), egg and green pepper ($4.50) and pizza steak with marinara ($6.50).

Chicken cheesesteaks are available, as are cold hoagies with a choice of meat and cheese, like a classic "Italian" with salami and provolone.

Katz says he gets native Philadelphians and former Northeasterners like me telling him how much his sandwiches remind them of home. Close your eyes and inhale the tantalizing smell of meat and onions on the grill. You'll swear you're not in Sandpoint anymore.