What a chore it was to go to the home of LaShonda Dowdy, 47, of Kankakee, and eat delicious food prepared just for this column. No — not a chore. Not even in the slightest.

As previously written about in the Daily Journal, Dowdy is the mastermind behind Shonda’z N Daughterz Catering, a business started in 2014 run by herself and her family.

I was lucky enough to be invited over for a sample tasting. The menu was a surprise to me, and I didn’t know what I was going to be eating until I got there. LaShonda and her daughter-in-law Brittney Nathaniel didn’t disappoint.

From starters to the end, my taste buds were more than content.

1. Charcuterie plate — The simplicity of cheese and crackers was taken to new heights as a plate filled with grapes, prosciutto, mango, and two wedges of brie was placed in front of me.

2. Smoked salmon dip — Accompanied with warm pita bread, this dip was in a league of its own. My favorite of the day. Salmon combined with cream cheese, green onion and topped with Creole seasoning, it’s not something that I would ever gravitate towards mainly because I despise onions. I always have. But I gave this dip a try, and I couldn’t help but go back for more. The Creole seasoning added just enough heat for the dip. Not enough to make it dangerous, but enough to prove that it was kismet.

Shondaz sample tasting meatballs

Monterey Jack-stuffed, barbecue and taco meatballs

3. Meatballs — Not just any run-of-the-mill meatballs, but meatballs three ways. First up were the taco meatballs. Seasoned with cumin, coriander and cooked in salsa and topped with pico de gallo (more onions), but these meatballs were delicious and something inventive. Second and third were the Monterey Jack-stuffed meatballs and the barbecue meatballs. Sweet and savory melded together with each bite I took.

Shondaz sample tasting fruit

Fresh pineapple, strawberry and kiwi with whipped cream and chocolate-caramel sauce

4. Fresh fruit — Who doesn’t love fresh fruit? I was delighted to see a giant bowl of cut kiwi, strawberry and pineapple placed in front of me. A little fruit to cleanse the palate before the next tasting. I didn’t have anything to feel guilty about until whipped cream and a chocolate-caramel sauce were placed alongside the bowl of fruit. Nothing too fancy, just something sweet. But I’ve never turned down desert.

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