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DR.com "Demo Dinners" at Society Fair in Alexandria -- Thurs, 3/29 at 7:30pm & Sat, 3/31 at 9pm


darkstar965
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This thread is for donrockwell.com members to indicate interest in attending, discussion and information provision about two similar dr.com events to take place on Thursday, March 29th, 2012 at 7:30pm and on Saturday, March 31st at 9:00pm. The events are open to all and will be special "demonstration dinners" at the newly opened Society Fair in Alexandria.

Society Fair is located at 277 South Washington Street in Alexandria, VA (at Duke St)

Information about what makes a demo dinner at Society Fair a ton of fun can be found here. That links to a post about the demo dinner and, if you scroll up from that, you can read other more general posts about Society Fair. It's a very innovative new spot owned by the talented folks who brought us Restaurant Eve, Eammon's Dublin Chipper, Majestic Cafe, PX Lounge & Speakeasy and Virtue Feed & Grain, all in Alexandria.

IMPORTANT LOGISTICAL Q&A DETAILS

1) Is there a limit to how many can attend a given dinner?

- Yes. The venue can only accommodate 12 each night because only that number of seats. But, please don't hesitate to indicate interest whether or not a given date seems full (good reasons for this advice explained below in #4)

2) Will the dinner allow us to see what the chef is doing and to interact with him?

- Yes! And that's a big reason why this is so cool. The dinner will be cooked in front of our eyes, at close range, by the talented chef and teacher Trey Massey. Lots of opportunity for questions and discussion with the chef. Trey will cook in a demo kitchen specifically designed for this purpose and will be wearing a microphone. Best of all, he is a a great, easy-going and even funny guy.

3) OK, how much will this cost?

- Each dinner will feature all premium ingredients from the Society Fair Market and be priced at $55/person not including wine, tax and tip. An optional wine pairing constructed by Sommelier John Wabeck, is $30 pp.

4) Why bother indicating interest if my preferred date seems already full?

- If you indicate interest by posting here, I'll let you know promptly whether you're assured a spot or on a waiting list as shown below. Being on a waiting list for this is a better thing than most wait lists for two reasons. First, if there are any unavoidable cancellations, we'll fill from any wait list in the order of interest posts on this thread. Second, if the wait list grows to more than 8 or so, we will create another like event for a different night. In fact, we've already done that once which is why there are now two date options.

5) Am I committed once I raise my hand?

- Yes, as much as can be. After all, we don't have any henchmen or anything like that. On behalf of Society Fair and to help us keep good continued relations between the donrockwell.com community and Society Fair, I'd gently ask that if you do raise your hand for this and are confirmed, you block it on your calendar and consider it a firm commitment. Our ability to book the entire venue on a night depends on our filling the 12-person bar seating area with dr.com members. Of course, sometimes things happen which no one can anticipate and, in those rare events, just let me know with as much advance notice as possible and that's why we have a waitlist (see #4 above).

6) If I'm confirmed, does that mean I can count on my assigned date and time?

- Generally, yes. When this was first put together, the initial members who expressed interest also indicated which of three dates proposed they preferred. As we reach capacity and possibly add another date, I may need to move someone(s) from one date to another. But I will only do that if needed, in accordance with the availability you've given me and after checking first privately with anyone affected to ensure it's okay with them. Anyone contacted about a date change will of course be able to veto.

7) May I bring a guest?

- Absolutely but, since space is limited, please just one guest. This will allow more members to participate.

8) How about parking and other arrival details?

- This will all be provided on this thread a week or so prior to the dinners.

9) I have another question you haven't addressed.

- No problem. We aim to please. Best to just post it below or can PM me as preferred.

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Thursday, March 29th at 7:30pm:

goldenticket (+1)

weezy

thematt (+1)

monovano (+1)

lillith (+1)

22209 (+1)

# of seats currently still available for this date: 1*

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Saturday, March 31st at 9:00pm:

darkstar965 (+1)

kmango (+1)

ktmoomau (+1)

danielk (+1)

porcupine (+1)

escoffier (+ grover)

# of seats currently still available for this date: 0*

CURRENT WAIT LIST w/ DATE PREFERENCE

None

* Interested but think there's not enough room? Hogwash! Please raise a hand by posting if interest. We have mysterious but likely effective ways to accommodate depending on how this pans out. :ph34r::D

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Now that we're in the same month as these two "demonstration dinners" at Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's new Society Fair, I thought I'd post for two reasons.

First, can now confirm that for both dinners, they'll be doing a chef's choice type of menu specially for us with some of their best ingredients from the market. So that's the "theme" for both nights. Second, still a few seats available per the below so please feel free to join simply by posting here. All the info is just above. Given the Armstrongs' long emphasis on local and high quality ingredient sourcing, this should be a really interesting, educational, engaging and tasty time. :P

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I should have asked this earlier, but... how will/can they handle food allergies?

Their official stance is that they can't tailor the menu to food allergies since it's a planned, fixed meal for 10 or so people and not so much a restaurant in that sense. In some document we saw, whatever it was, they also very graciously suggested that any of the EatGoodFood restaurants (Eve, Majestic, Virtue) that have bigger kitchen staffs to support normal menus, do this routinely.

However, my +1 is gluten and dairy free so, when we went a few weeks back, I gingerly asked the same question. Though no guarantees were offered, they were wonderful about it. Besides the shockingly good gluten-free bread they had ready for us (detailed toward the end of the food section here), Chef Trey Massey and the staff made every adaptation one could reasonably expect them to do without changing the menu wholesale. They'd hold a sauce or use a simple substitution; I think I recall they even made a simple but delicious fresh fruit dessert for her in place of the one the rest of us had.

Maybe if you and any others let me know (can be PM if not here on the thread) whatever specific food allergies, I can at least aggregate and convey them to SF in advance. At minimum, we'll be asking for the GF bread again, at least for Saturday which I know ktmoomau will appreciate also ;) .

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I'm thinking I should go on standby for this event, so if anyone out there wants to be on the list for Saturday, don't be shy.

Apparently someone isn't updating this forum very often. I thought Grover and I took the last two spots which would have filled up Saturday night. Now who am I going to talk racing with if you're not there?

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Apparently someone isn't updating this forum very often. I thought Grover and I took the last two spots which would have filled up Saturday night. Now who am I going to talk racing with if you're not there?

Darkstar has talked me into staying, so we can go bench racing. :lol: But you know how I get once I get started...

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I edited Darkstar's post.

Thanks DanielK. After updating yesterday about the allergy question, was busy arm-twisting Porcupine to keep her on the bus with limited online time today. I've updated the OP again so Escoffier doesn't feel "different" from the others due to font color and mindful of Escoffier's avatar subtitle ;)

Welcome aboard Escoffier!

Also, while the updated lists are technically correct, there's a bit of built-in buffer. Between that, a wait list likely to get tapped and the possibility to add a third date, I totally encourage others interested to raise hands by posting here.

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Just a little over a week until the Demo Dinners - I can't wait.

Looks like there's still one spot open for Thursday. Should be a lot of fun, so hopefully someone will step up and fill it! My +1 is iffy, so if you need two spaces, let me know and we can figure things out.

If your attendance and/or the number in your party has changed, please post here or PM darkstar965 (and me, if you feel like it) so the list can be updated.

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Thursday, March 29th at 7:30pm:

goldenticket (+1)

weezy

thematt (+1)

monovano (+1)

lillith (+1)

22209 (+1)

rkduggins

# of seats currently still available for this date: 1*

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Saturday, March 31st at 9:00pm:

darkstar965 (+1)

kmango (+1)

ktmoomau (+1)

danielk (+1)

porcupine (+1)

escoffier (+ grover)

# of seats currently still available for this date: 0*

BIG THANKS to darkstar965 for taking the initiative to get these events lined up for us!

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T minus 2 days until the first of the two, long-ago-planned, Society Fair Interactive Demonstration Dinners with maybe a surprise guest or two. I've gotten a couple of changes that more-or-less cancelled each other out so the final lists are below. I'm really, really hoping these are final (save for one or two last minute extras who'd want in and whom we could accommodate). These dinners, held most every night at SF, are small, intimate affairs that they fully book more than a month out. For us to get the two DR nights, we had to take at least 10 seats each night.

Here are the near-final lists:

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Thursday, March 29th at 7:30pm:

goldenticket (event "captain")

weezy

thematt

monovano (+1)

lillith (+1)

22209 (+1)

rkduggins

cucas87 (+1)

# of seats currently still available for this date: 0

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Saturday, March 31st at 9:00pm:

darkstar965 (+1) (event "captain")

kmango (+1)

ktmoomau (+1)

danielk (+1)

escoffier (+ grover)

plarkins (+1)

# of seats currently still available for this date: 0

Really looking forward to these. Trey Massey, John Wabeck & Co do a fantastic job hosting, teaching, entertaining and absolutely delighting palates with food and wine. And, for those of us booked for Saturday (including me), we'll be able to anticipate vicariously through the Thursday night crew if one or two of them (goldenticket maybe?) are kind enough to post a reaction or two. :D

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Absolutely. Welcome aboard cucas87 & Scott! We're now at capacity with lists updated just above.

Unfortunately this date did not work for me, but does it amaze anyone else that it took so long to fill these spots? I look forward to going at some point in the future.

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Unfortunately this date did not work for me, but does it amaze anyone else that it took so long to fill these spots? I look forward to going at some point in the future.

As a first time organizer, I wasn't sure what to expect but maybe between my announcing we were at capacity and your post, we jinxed things.

We now have two spots available for Saturday night. Two on the list would like to transfer their spots to others but will make good if there aren't any takers.

So, if you'd like to join us Saturday (1 or 2 people), please PM me. Thanks.

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On the eve of the first of our two demo dinners at Society Fair this week, I write for two reasons. First, a hopefully final accounting of attendees with a change for Saturday (welcome aboard, plarkins!). Second, a bit of parking and logistical information.

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Thursday, March 29th at 7:30pm:

goldenticket (event "captain")

weezy

thematt

monovano (+1)

lillith (+1)

22209 (+1)

rkduggins

cucas87 (+1)

CURRENT CONFIRMED ATTENDEES for Saturday, March 31st at 9:00pm:

darkstar965 (+1) (event "captain")

kmango (+1)

ktmoomau (+1)

danielk (+1)

escoffier (+ grover)

plarkins (+1)

TWO LOGISTICAL BITS

Timing

I encourage attendees to arrive a bit early if possible. This is for two reasons. First, getting there 20 or 30 minutes early will allow you some time to explore the market, a very cool place to explore. Second, because these dinners are performances, classes and delicious, professionally-served meals all in one for our small groups of 12, they'll want to start promptly at 7:30 (tomorrow night) and 9 (Saturday night). You won't want to miss Trey's intro/overview!

Parking

This is verbatim from the note SF sent me. FWIW, when I went last month, we found parking on a side street but, if you do that, just be sure you check the signs so you don't return to a ticket. Or, the garage is a great option as they stipulate below:

The enforcement are out because of Society Fair's presence to the neighborhood.

To be sure your car is secure, and to avoid a $40 ticket on the street,

please take advantage of the underground, attended parking garage for only $4 ~ (opens at 7:00)

Enter on Columbus street behind Society Fair. The Elevator will take you up.

Do not park in the Lyceum spaces or they will tow.

See you at the Fair!

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Just a quick note that dinner last night was fabulous and the folks lined up for the Saturday dinner are in for a wonderful meal. On the way home I was thinking if I could have the choice of having that pork again or the best sex of my life, after careful consideration, I'd go with the best sex because there's the possibility I can recreate the pork solo. But it was still a tough call.

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I had a wonderful time at the Demo Dinner (and I think everyone else did too).

Chef Trey cooked us up a delicious meal composed of great, fresh ingredients.

- Texas white shrimp (poached) with comeback sauce, feta (marinated in-house), and a flat parsley/celery leaf/lemon salad

- braised Berkshire pork atop Anson Mills pencil cob grits (or polenta, according to some purists...PF, I'm looking at you ;) ) and wilted escarole

- butterscotch pudding topped with fresh (barely) whipped cream

The demonstration was entertaining, informative, and sprinkled with lots of helpful tips and pointers that will come in handy at home.

The wine pairings were excellent, very interesting and unusual - and of course I forgot to write any of them down.

Chef Trey and John Wabeck were great hosts and guides through the evening. The folks going on Saturday are in for a good time.

I'm looking forward to trying the Ethnic and Chef's Choice sometime soon.

Thanks to the great folks at Society Fair - and to darkstar965 - for arranging such a great evening!

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Everything about the dinner was awesome. The food started off very good and finished off incredible. Who knew butterscotch pudding could taste like that? We learned alot, and ate alot. Thank you to everyone who made it happen! My photos from the dinner are at these two links:

http://naedawn.com/post/20187073336/dr-com-society-fair-demo-dinner

http://naedawn.com/post/20187869178/dr-com-society-fair-demo-dinner

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I had a wonderful time at the Demo Dinner (and I think everyone else did too).

<snip>

Chef Trey and John Wabeck were great hosts and guides through the evening. The folks going on Saturday are in for a good time.

I'm looking forward to trying the Ethnic and Chef's Choice sometime soon.

Thanks to the great folks at Society Fair - and to darkstar965 - for arranging such a great evening!

Thank you, GoldenTicket, who won't tell you herself but was a great help to this organizing neophyte. And, after initially doing a headscratch about "comeback sauce" (I thought it something delicious but no doubt made up like Ray's Heck Sauce), now I know better :)

Everything about the dinner was awesome. The food started off very good and finished off incredible. Who knew butterscotch pudding could taste like that? We learned alot, and ate alot. Thank you to everyone who made it happen! My photos from the dinner are at these two links:

http://naedawn.com/p...air-demo-dinner

http://naedawn.com/p...air-demo-dinner

Very cool--thanks for sharing the photos!

See everyone scheduled for tonight in a few hours!

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Thank you, GoldenTicket, who won't tell you herself but was a great help to this organizing neophyte. And, after initially doing a headscratch about "comeback sauce" (I thought it something delicious but no doubt made up like Ray's Heck Sauce), now I know better :)

The food looks simple and delicious.

Believe it or not, comeback sauce recently made an appearance on this website (I don't want to give this jokester too much incentive to keep posting, but (s)he seems harmless enough).

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Great dinner last night at Society Fair. It wasn't only my first time organizing a donrockwell.com event. It was also my first time even attending a dr dinner. So I can't be sure this is right but my sense it was exactly the kind of offline community dynamic that makes the overall dr community such a special and cool thing.

Of course Chef Trey, John and the crew did a great job and the food was very nice. More on that below. But the biggest thing for me by far was either meeting anew or getting to know more our group. We were a full 12 as registered:

darkstar965 (+1) (event "captain")

kmango (+1)

ktmoomau (+1)

danielk (+1)

escoffier (+ grover)

plarkins (+1)

Really fab meeting the some of you I hadn't already met. And just a ton of fun that made the whole evening so memorable thanks to the personalities gathered. Thanks to all of you.

On to the food.

Most of us did the wine pairing. Sommelier John Wabeck's choices and pours worked very well and were super generous with most pours being refilled at least a second time if not a third. Like Goldenticket on Thursday, I didn't capture the wines very well but will do my best below. Hopefully others who attended last night can share some of the photos they took (I only have a couple from the dessert phase taken with a smart phone and, since I haven't historically uploaded photos to dr.com, will have to figure out how to do that separately). Actually, lots of gaps in my recall to correct and fill in below. And, further challenged because I didn't take a menu home. All caveats aside, I'll do the best I can. We enjoyed and learned about:

Pre-Starter

SF normally starts demo dinners off with some delicious and varied olives. I wish I could remember all the types but maybe I did put that in a post I did about SF a month or two ago when I first went. We liked them so much, we asked for seconds, which the staff was more than happy to provide.

This is also when the famed EatGoodFood Group bread (same as served at Restaurant Eve and sold now in the SF market) came out. I've always loved this bread as baked continuously in small batches at Eve. Great crisp and chew to the crust with a wonderfully flavorful, light and textured interior.

As amazing was the gluten free bread they prepared for us despite discontinuing this in the bakery*. Everyone who tried this agreed: there's no way to tell it's gluten free. Really delicious.

Wine Pairing

John served a white to start us off about which I can't remember a thing other than that I enjoyed it.

Cocktails: Several of us (not me) ordered and really enjoyed a few of the Thrasher-designed cocktails. I'll let any of them describe the drinks if they're so inclined. Todd did stop by and chat with our group for a bit.

First course/App

Pickled fish and vegetables including a nice watermelon radish. This had a nice mustard-based sauce but I can't really remember whether it was the Sauce Diane or if that was more likely with the following course as Diane Sauce is more commonly paired with beef. Also forgetting what type of fish it was; a white fish (maybe rockfish). Trey taught us all some very interesting and practical information about pickling. This was a refreshing, delicious and healthy start and, like everything, a very generous portion with maybe 4-6 oz of fish per person and all the vegetables.

Wine Pairing: a delicious Greek white from Santorini with the perfect level of sweetness to cut the salt from the pickled items.

Main Course

Trey did some great teaching and Q&A around the beautiful piece of tied and marbled Roseda ribeye he chose for dinner. Trey explained the beef's provenance and addressed questions around pasturing and bone-in versus boneless cuts. He then demonstrated how they (including Eve) make steaks like this entirely on the stovetop. Super generous seasoning with s&p not only on both sides but also along the sides. Heavy bottomed pan. High flash-point grapeseed oil to get things going and help produce a nice, crackly crust on the steaks with a rare to medium-rare finish. Someone asked about oven finishing since most of us don't have the advantage of the huge hood over the demo stove top. Trey very helpfully gave some temp and timing guidelines for that. Most of all, though, while not to the level of a Landrum dry-aged beauty, these were some very tasty steaks served with what I think was the sauce diane made with the natural beef juices and maybe some Worcestershire sauce and just a bit of mustard but I'm not at all sure about that. Forgetting the vegetable/side served with the steak; hopefully someone else can fill in.

Wine Pairing

For the main attraction, John chose a Malbec done by an American producer now operating in Argentina. John described it as unusually smooth for a Malbec "like a Merlot is supposed to be made but usually isn't." That generated some fun discussion but, bottom line, the wine was very nice and a great complement for the steak.

Dessert

For dessert, Trey taught us how to make an addictive, kit-kat inspired dessert based on high-quality dark chocolate, a perfect caramel and maldon sea salt. I have a decent shot of said dessert with Trey explaining how it can be made at home I may try to upload later. For a gluten-free member, the SF team created a grapefruit sabayon we remembered from our prior visit 6 or 8 weeks prior.

Wine Pairing

An australian muscadet enjoyed by all with the rich desserts.

Lots of great discussion and learning around all manner of things which is a big focus of these demo dinners at SF. As Don wrote just upthread, the food is fairly simple and that's the whole point. It's meant to be accessible to those home cooks without advanced skills. And, even with that guardrail, everything was delicious. As just one example of the often spirited discussion, there was some great back and forth between one of us and Chef Trey around butter.

The entire Armstrong empire exclusively uses the pastured butter Kerrygold (sold in the market). Trey made clear this butter isn't the choice simply because it's from Chef Armstrong's home country. Rather, because it's the best, richest, most flavorful butter they know. This led to a challenge and great discussion about the merits of Kerrygold relative to finer French butters. There may be a butter throwdown at a future event!

Great fun. A very nice dinner. Most of all, super to share it with 12 interesting, nice and enthusiastic fellow members. Thanks again to all of you. Really a pleasure and I'll look forward to the next opportunity.

* Story on the gluten free bread since I know some are interested. The recipe for this took them months to develop and fully test. It also required serious lead time and advance planning because they used a dedicated oven for it. As it turned out, they've discontinued it because they couldn't ensure no cross-contamination. Even though a separate oven not used for glutinout flours, the use of the overall space to bake all manner of fantastic breads, cakes, pies and cookies made it impossible to control the ambient air and keep it free enough from flour. Bummer but, as others will no doubt agree, this is incredibly surprising and delicious bread whether one is gluten free or not. And, even if it can't be 100% guaranteed as gluten free, which ultimately was why they stopped doing it. Thanks for making the exception for us last night, Society Fair--much appreciated.

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Being the newbie, I was told to post first about Saturday's demo dinner. I was bit delayed however, as we happened upon PX while walking around the block after dinner. Didn't get home until 330am and I'm now recovering from the night. Glad Darkstar didn't wait to post :).

I think he's the resident expert on the demo kitchen experience, so I won't add much. It was my first DR event as well and really enjoyed it. Warm bunch of folks. Sorry I didn't meet Ktmoomau as we were on opposite ends of the bar. I'll add a few details and perhaps some pics later.

-the first wine with the olives was a blend of two spanish white grapes I wasn't familiar with. John said it was only $11.5/bottle, so yes quite enjoyable at that price.

-my friend and I were most delighted by the pickled rockfish (loved the ribeye, but both of our stomachs can't handle rare/med. rare meat very well). The fish, radish, and the mustard all on sliced pan-toasted baguette...so good. Great textures and flavor and the Santorini wine was very nice pairing.

-the greens with steak were mizuna

-the dessert was awesome. i thought this was the best pairing, but I'm a sucker for dessert wines.

Thanks again, Darkstar, for organizing!

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Being the newbie, I was told to post first about Saturday's demo dinner. I was bit delayed however, as we happened upon PX while walking around the block after dinner. Didn't get home until 330am and I'm now recovering from the night. Glad Darkstar didn't wait to post :).

I think he's the resident expert on the demo kitchen experience, so I won't add much. It was my first DR event as well and really enjoyed it. Warm bunch of folks. Sorry I didn't meet Ktmoomau as we were on opposite ends of the bar. I'll add a few details and perhaps some pics later.

-the first wine with the olives was a blend of two spanish white grapes I wasn't familiar with. John said it was only $11.5/bottle, so yes quite enjoyable at that price.

-my friend and I were most delighted by the pickled rockfish (loved the ribeye, but both of our stomachs can't handle rare/med. rare meat very well). The fish, radish, and the mustard all on sliced pan-toasted baguette...so good. Great textures and flavor and the Santorini wine was very nice pairing.

-the greens with steak were mizuna

-the dessert was awesome. i thought this was the best pairing, but I'm a sucker for dessert wines.

Thanks again, Darkstar, for organizing!

On the being "told to post first about Saturday's demo dinner," stuff, we were of course kidding. But, nonetheless, a huge hats off to you, plarkins, on the PX detour. That's impressive. Well done!

Thanks also on filling in some of those ingredient blanks. Those prompt two more thoughts I'll share:

- some of the meat did run fairly rare; know a couple of us traded steaks to get closer to whatever preference

- the mizuna greens were great. Trey told us they came from a new source in southern Virginia that either EatFoodGroup owns or is an especially valued provider. They were lightly dressed and, though they look a bit like arugula, they don't have the bitterness of arugula. I thought they worked well with the steak.

Thanks for the post, plarkins. And, as for the posting order, if we ever find ourselves in a bar at the same time, you can buy first round. And, if you do, I'll be buying the second :D

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To add to the thoughts above…

Amazing to catch up with everyone, both the familiar and new-to-me faces. It was a non-stop laugh track of an evening!

Favorites for us included:

  • Chef Trey's passion, clearly demonstrated expertise, and highly approachable teaching method while explaining both sourcing and cooking techniques
  • Stealth master John, and the entire service team, for exceptional care
  • The shockingly masterful harmony between the Spanish white and the marinated olives; a mini-tapas experience
  • The Greek white interplay with the striped bass; pairing with the pickle brine, a challenge well met
  • The gluten free bread reunion, which, a while back at Restaurant Eve during a wheat-free phase, was the first bread to ever make me cry
  • The unctuous tenderness of the medium rare Roseda masterpiece
  • The brightly delightful, early Spring appearance of honorably dressed, Virginia-grown mizuna greens

My thoughts on the venue are below...was going to post them in the appropriate thread, but got confuzzled on which to choose since it's about both the market and the demo kitchen. Mods, feel free to bounce this to the right location.

Regarding the Demo Dinner format….

Wow. Just wow. As someone who has been to nearly every chef’s table and kitchen-side seat in the area, the demo kitchen offers a unique experience. Diners can walk away with tangible, practical, replicate-it-tomorrow ideas, and venture through a one-stop shopping experience to procure nearly every ingredient. This is not a paradox, it is a hallmark: executable inspiration. A win for the business model, certainly, and for aspiring home chefs, absolutely.

We asked how difficult it would be to secure a reservation in the near future. We learned bookings occur a month in advance, but that odd pockets of cancellations are frequent. The best bet, we heard, was to email and ask for the preferred date and see what happens. “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

We also inquired as to the 9:00 seating for Saturday, as the chalkboard denoted only one seating per night. It turns out the 9:00 opportunity is a more recent addition to the scene. Hats off to the handful of staff who make it happen, that’s a long shift.

A few other tips for the first-timer:

  • Arrive with hunger. This is more food than you might think, spaced out in time that will leave you happily sated.
  • If you go on a weekend, aim your timing bow for the later seating (9:00). After 9:15 or so, the place started clearing out, but before that, lots of other patrons milling about created noisy distractions.
  • The one down side of a 9:00 seating is the market will be closed by the time you are finished. Shop first, dear tribute, and the staff will happily store your goods in the fridge while you dine.
  • The angled bar seating precludes cross-group dialogue. Booking for two or four people is good, but for a group larger than that, plan to arrive early and mill about with a cocktail in order to catch conversation with friends from your district.
  • Speaking of cocktails, the wine-inspired cocktail menu is a revelation. “Pleasantly Bitter Beginning” delivers just that ($12), including a touch of vodka, bay leaf, and grapefruit bitters. This refreshing, iceless aperitif will pique your appetite without too much of an alcoholic punch.

The market itself, which we have enjoyed many times, is a silent salute to all things of culinary quality. If your spirit or kitchen is empty, head to the cornucopia that is Society Fair.

(seven references)

(will anyone)

(find them all?)

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So little to add, as everyone has really captured the essence and taste of this amazing evening.

I will add one (very minor) disappointment - the choice of pan-fried steak as the entree. Not because it wasn't delicious, or a fair (even bargain) price for the dinner, but because there really wasn't any technique I learned from this course. The first and last courses were a fountain of knowledge, but I felt that for a "demo" dinner, I would have chosen something else to represent the main. Again, can't stress enough - minor nit, and didn't at all detract from the enjoyment of the evening. I would definitely go again.

Thanks to darkstar not only for the fabulous job in arranging the dinners, but also for the very kind offer of a ride home after Saturday's feast!

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Sounds like it was a wonderful event. One thought, on reading Dark Star's report: the dessert wine sounds like it may have been an Australian "sticky" made from muscat grapes. Muscadet is a bone-dry white wine from the Loire Valley made from the Melon grape. I know, picky, picky... or in this case, sticky, sticky.

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Adding my two cents- I really enjoyed this dinner, the company was just amazing! The demo wasn't as androgynous as some demos can be, the team was entertaining, witty and had good play with the group. The food had a range some dishes Matt was excited he could make, some were more my range. I thought it was a very good bargain, for the food alone, let alone the entertainment. It was informative in terms of cooking, ingredient sourcing and general culinary knowledge. One thing that I think they did well was to showcase the products from the market, but in a way that didn't beat you over the head. There wasn't a... and you can buy this from us too feel, but I remembered seeing the green peppercorns for the steak and veal stock in the shop, the pickled veg from the first course and I am sure you can buy the pickling mix there too somewhere. Which I didn't think took away from the demo at all, in fact it was nice in that if I don't have the veal bones to make stock, but wanted to make that sauce, no biggie, stop by, buy it. So it was nice in they told you how to make it without buying anything from them, but you also knew you could get the supplies there. Just smart marketing, but done subtly.

The bread... oh the bread, it was so good. Very sad it won't be frequenting the market. But the other bread was good too (I cheated, a lot). The olives were really marinated well. I had the something 128 with Thaibut-Jannison in it, which was crisp and nice a little sweet. Matt had the bitter drink described above which was very refreshing, not as bitter as one would think. He also had the white port cocktail, which I adored.

I really loved the pickled rockfish. I am going to try this technique out, but the mustard they served with it sweet, tangy and a little spicy was just divine. For me it would be worth buying, really good. This was my favorite dish, which is really saying something since dessert had chocolate and caramel. It was so well balanced.

I didn't mind steak as the second course, I think a lot of people don't know how to cook steak properly, probably not most of us, but many people. Of course I can't fully cook a steak like that skillet only unless I want to evacuate the building from my smoke alarm, but they did say you could finish it in oven. The greens were fantastic. And the steak Diane sauce is a really nice one, simple, but not... Although I do want to go back and see other things.

Dessert for me was delicious, although not very technically challenging either, Matt really enjoyed this, he swears he is going to make these bars for me. But I do a good bit of baking, not that you would think I could successfully bake anything from the baking 911 thread. But again I think it showed a good range, of a little of a challenge to doable, which I think is good. There were tips in it that I think anyone could learn from.

Overall I adored the whole dinner, the format and the company. I really want to do an ethnic night. I think this is a fun dinner that is a good bargain for what you get, we will definitely do it again with people.

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Sounds like it was a wonderful event. One thought, on reading Dark Star's report: the dessert wine sounds like it may have been an Australian "sticky" made from muscat grapes. Muscadet is a bone-dry white wine from the Loire Valley made from the Melon grape. I know, picky, picky... or in this case, sticky, sticky.

It was a Muscat.

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