Octane's organics

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112975085011318.jpg’, ‘photo by Frank Schier’, ‘Motivational speaker Anthony Taylor (right) delivers an Organics 101 lecture at Fuzz Salon Oct. 15.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11297509266377.jpg’, ‘Photo by Frank Schier’, ‘Danielle Kleckowski (right) serves a sampling of Octane Interlounge's new organic menu Oct. 15 at the Fuzz Salon.’);

River District’s Octane InterLounge debuts new organic menu, offers Organics 101 lecture

Octane InterLounge and Fuzz Salon at 124 N. Main St., brought the physical and mental aspects of the organics movement to Rockford in action and spirit last Saturday night, Oct. 15.

In case you’ve been deprived and never been to the unique storefront restaurant and salon one door north of NAT, you really need to meet the owners Dan and Michelle Minnick if you want to find the cutting edge in food, music, beverages and hair care—pun sharply intended.

Ready with smiles and a few laughs, the owners, stylist Annisa Viel and manager Karen Zander put on a fine evening of good food for the body and mind with a casual sampling from their new organic menu and an Organics 101 lecture by motivational speaker Anthony Taylor. Taylor was featured by Jeremiah Mostrom of Simply Organic beauty and hair care products of Minneapolis, Minn.

Set in the salon transformed into a mini-cafe and buffet, the evening started with a sampling of the organic beer brand Samuel Smith, both the lager and ale. The wines were a white organic La Captucina Soave from Italy and a red organic Biurko Gorri Tempranillo from Spain. For the beer, I preferred the clean taste of the lager over the heavier ale. Both the red and the white wines were very good, but I stuck with the Tempranillo because of all the burgers I crammed down and because it went so well with the dessert.

Chef Jason Williams’ buffet consisting of organic burgers, chips, french onion dip and Wildwood and Ridgerunner quesadillas was extremely tasty and worth several visits.

The burgers were done just right, which is really a compliment because organic beef has to be cooked differently from regular beef, much of which contains antibiotics and genetically modified grains, treated with pesticides. Grass-fed organic beef is lower in fat and must be cooked more slowly at a lower temperature. Organic beef has more flavor. Less seasoning is needed, and spice rubs or pastes are recommended before the beef is cooked.

The quesadillas were made with organic chicken and tortillas. The Wildwood also had organic mushrooms, fresh basil and mozzarella. The Ridgerunner included barbecue sauce, mozzarella and the caramelized onions that really touch the dish off.

The chips were Tabard Farm Yukon Gold Potato Chips, made with organically grown USA potatoes and kettle dipped by hand in pure sunflower oil. They’re even better than my hometown favorite, Mrs. Fisher’s.

The dip was made with organic dairy products, without the antibiotics, pesticides, and Bovine Growth Hormones (BGH) of most dairy products. Brings me back to the start of this paper, when David Kellogg did his fine series on BGH in milk, and The Rock River Times was kicked out of several grocery store chains. Oh, no. I’m starting to sound like Mike Leifheit. Sorry.

All teasing aside, on to dessert and beyond. Chocolate! The lemon torts were very good, but the chocolate puff balls were beyond good! I won’t say how many I ate. The rich dark chocolate coating was flavored with Earl Grey Tea. The lighter chocolate cake filling was based on a subtly vanilla-flavored wafer. This chocolate heaven was perfectly complemented by the Biurko Gorri Tempranillo. I won’t say how many I ate. Noah Dufoe-Guiles of LaPatisserie ( www.pastry-shop.com) made them, and he deserves some kind of medal.

Organic food that was not obtained from Octane’s usual purveyors was purchased at Choices Natural Market, 6551 E. Riverside Blvd. Vitamins ’N‘ More at Edgebrook and Woodman’s also carry an excellent selection of organic food and beauty products.

Needless to say, after all the fine food and drink, all present were well inclined to listen to the folks from Simply Organics ( www.SimplyOrganicBeauty.com.)

Jeremiah Mostrom began with the very serious recollection of his mother’s breast cancer, his father’s prostate cancer and his friend’s son’s leukemia. He spoke of the known and unknown effects of the use of questionable ingredients in all the products we use in our lives.

As the Simply Organic’s brochure says, “In the pursuit of health and beauty, what you put on your hair and skin is as important as what you put in your mouth.”

Mostrom handed out an amazing fact sheet, “Five Dangerous Chemicals to Avoid.” For all you label readers, these five chemicals listed are in many hair care and cosmetic products. They are: Sodium Lauryl (Laurel) Sulfate (SLS); Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES); Diethanolaimine (DEA); Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben; and my personal favorite—Propylene Glycol—“A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid, and industrial antifreeze….”

Makes me want to run right on down to my mechanic for a shampoo with that oil change. “Hey, Tom, check the tires, too; and while you’re at it, it’s time for some liver abnormalities and kidney damage!”

Seriously, if you’d like one of these fact sheets for yourself, they’re available at Fuzz or The Rock River Times. You really should read the full text.

Laughter was fully recommended as a core value by the evening’s main speaker, Anthony Taylor. This fellow has a fine mind and makes a great presentation.

He interacted with the 30 or so people present to define the concept of wellness, or the idea of balance in our work, money matters, relationships and physical, emotional and spiritual conditions.

He related that rhythm and motion create emotion. And like Robert Frost, he said adults must keep that childish sense of play; in part, because in play when you make mistakes, you usually laugh.

He really stressed laughter.

Many of us need laughter, especially when considering our body image—physical self-esteem.

Taylor said the Melpomene Institute in Minneapolis conducted a survey where females said 70 percent of their self-esteem was made up of their body image. It was 60 percent for males. Go figure.

Figuring out your other core values was the major focus for Taylor. He suggested that we all should list our three most important core values and then call someone who is a good friend and ask if they see those values as primary in us. There’s a friendship test; that had better be a really good friend. Hopefully, after that conversation, they still will be.

He also diagrammed the noble description of bad behavior as “glad” over “sad” next to “mad” over “scared.” He noted that for many, it is socially awkward to admit to being really happy. On the other hand, he said women are criticized for being mad, while men use being mad as an excuse for many things.

Which, of course, brought us around to relationships and another diagram. Under the heading “Nuturing” came: happy, love, safe, calm and empowered. Under the heading “Toxic” came: poisoned or slow, cost energy, insecure, isolate and work on fear.

Taylor then suggested we put names of people we know who make us feel that way next to each one of those words.

He then purported that considering our core values, we should make some “life decisions.” He said this must be done calmly, with no name calling. Try that.

While you’re working on that, consider the concept of work itself. He asserted that work must be tied to your ultimate purpose or support that purpose. If not, you’ll probably get sick, physically.

Then we went to another matter that can make you sick, money. He recommended talking about saving money and its value with a recent immigrant to this country. For getting more of a real perspective on money, Taylor recommended discussion and friendship with a member of the opposite sex, someone 60 years old and someone 20 years younger than you are. Try taking those to the bank.

He concluded our real riches must focus around sustainability and a true understanding of materialism. He also recommended a support group of people with core values similar to your own. Taylor maintains basic core values will improve when they are relating to or are de

rived from being organic—forming a relationship with the whole.

By the way, thanks to our great servers for the evening, Ana Iancu, Danielle Kleczkowski and Erik Pierson. I had a fine time. Why don’t you try organics at Octane and Fuzz, too?

From the Oct. 19-25, 2005, issue

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