Midtown’s Best Friend Emily Baime Michaels Keeps it Local

In her kitchen, Emily Baime Michaels prepares Honey Grilled Peaches and Chimichurri Sauce, a dish that pairs well with beer



As executive director of the Midtown Association, Emily Baime Michaels spends many of her days dealing with the nuts-and-bolts, behind-the-scenes aspects of the restaurant industry, rather than the more scrumptious, customer-facing side of the business.

“It’s a lot of conversation about policies that affect restaurants and their ability to thrive and do business,” Baime Michaels says.

However, she still turns to cooking for a therapeutic creative outlet.

“Being in that space is a little more clinical and logical, and I have this moment at the end of the day where I kick off my shoes, and I get to decide from start to finish exactly what sounds delicious, fresh, and inspirational,” she says.


Baime Michaels fell in love with cooking during a summer of travel between high school and college, especially after learning how to make paella from a Spanish chef. She originally wanted to become an event planner, but she felt burned out on weddings after a stint with a catering company during college, and she eventually found herself getting involved with local-focused organizations such as Slow Food.

After meeting her husband, Darin Michaels, a craft beer industry veteran who currently works as territory manager for Lost Coast Brewery in Sacramento, Baime Michaels moved from San Diego to the Central Valley.

“I got involved with the Slow Food Lodi group and connected with a publisher there,” she says. “I told him it had always been my hope to do a cookbook that revolved around beer-and-food pairing.”

The publisher liked the idea, and that husband-and-wife collaboration became A Year in Food & Beer: Recipes and Beer Pairings for Every Season, currently available on Amazon. But before writing the cookbook, Darin and Emily wanted to field test their recipes and hone their skills as instructors, which is how Community Tap and Table was born.


Over the course of four years, the couple hosted more than 1,500 people, teaching various cooking techniques and the basics of beer pairings.

“Every month, we would have a different menu, and we would do four to six classes in our home,” Baime Michaels says. “Some of the closest friends we have in Sacramento we met through Tap and Table.”

They stopped hosting events several years ago, but the two still plan to write more cookbooks, and they have been gaining inspiration through travel. They visited Maine last year and New Orleans is next, followed by Brooklyn and Mexico.

“We’re still doing a lot of experimenting and recipe testing,” Baime Michaels says. “I think I just have a better sense now of how our style of writing and teaching is received, so I understand how to be more efficient in how we write our recipes.”

In keeping with her Slow Food roots, Baime Michaels’ beer tastes tend toward the local and seasonal, as she prefers robust porters in the winter and sour beers when the weather gets warm.

“That’s going to dictate having a fruit sorbet for dessert as opposed to having chocolate with a porter,” she says. “The seasonality is really important.”


Honey Grilled Peaches and Chimichurri Sauce