I guess I could backtrack and give you a quick history on how this all came about. A good friend of my brother's from high school ran into him in L.A. a while back and they got to chatting and catching. As she discussed her love of food and blogging, he told her I also had a love of food and blogging. She connected with me and we've been food-chatting ever since. Her blog A Boston Food Diary, has some super great recipes and restaurant reviews from the Boston area (and elsewhere!). Well, she gets invited to all sorts of great restaurant/food events and mentioned if she gets another invite and can bring a guest, she'd see if I was interested. Well, that day came a few weeks ago when she got invited to "Barrio", chef Wheeler del Torro's latest pop-up dinner venture, and asked if I would like to join.
Would I like to join?!?!
I said yes.
You can read all about Barrio here, as I'm not going to get into all of the crazy/mysterious details. It's an article about a dinner that was in March, but similar to last night. We were not told the location of the dinner until yesterday morning. Livingsocial.com was selling tickets for a discount ($110! And yes, that was a really good discount, we're talking a $200+ dinner here). Last night's dinner was not very Afro-Cuban, as Barrio's theme boasts, but it was delicious and interesting all the same.
We met for drinks before the dinner. I got to meet Fiona's (of A Boston Food Diary) friends Katie and Jen (of Beantown Baker). We were all incredibly excited, curious and hungry. The little information I could google up on this dinner did not prepare us at all. All I knew was that it was going to be delicious, involve champagne, and possibly some vegan ice cream, since that is what del Torro is known for.
The dinner was delicious, we had champagne, but no vegan ice cream.
Here's what happened:
We arrived at the secret location, which was very small and had two small rooms that seated about 40 or so. Wheeler was walking around, prepping dishes, pouring champagne and greeting people. We found a table near the window and another blogger and guest arrived that Fiona knew. Our table for 6 was complete. We did not receive a menu, and only some dishes were described to us, others we just had to guess at the ingredients. Once the champagne was poured, it was on.
Oh, did I mention that we drank Dom Perignon all night?
|Glass one of 5|
Top: Crostini with smoked pate of some sort, mushroom, mango and a special surprise...
Right: A pepper and onion jam (?), with cheese
Bottom: Red pepper (?) hummus, bleu cheese and cantaloupe
Left: Cranberry goat cheese and lightly pickled cucumber
|That my friends, is a truffle hiding under that mushroom!!|
Then we waited again for the next plate. The first few dishes were quite spaced out (over about 2 hours), but that gave us ample time to enjoy more champagne.
This, my friends, is a bowl of fresh, and I mean fresh, spring peas sitting in a cilantro and mint infused oil, topped with a poached eggs and sauteed green onions. A poached egg...
|Oh. dear. Lord.|
We all wondered if it was socially acceptable to lick the bowl...I would've if someone else did....
Here's where the sidekick chef comes in. Wheeler always invited another chef to showcase in his pop up dinners, and ours was Tim Maslow of Strip T's. He makes a good steak.
|A really good steak.|
A chocolate pot de creme, which is similar to a mousse/creme brulee. It was topped with butterscotch, sour dough croutons and fresh thyme. Mixed through the creme was lemon confit. Amazing. Super. Fantastic. Holy Cow.
|I'll have seconds.|
The peas with poached egg took the cake though. It was so incredibly good. Anything with a poached egg is good.
After dinner I had a chance to talk to Wheeler, who was very laid back and calm. He asked if I enjoyed the champagne. When I told him I enjoyed a good amount, he laughed and gave me a bottle of sparkling water "in case you're driving". I did drive, but I also drank a lot of water that came in adorable glass bottles.
|Adorable bottle...and Katie.|
Stayed tuned folks!