Dinner recap: Eastern Mediterranean

Every one of our dinners is experimental. But last month, we tried something completely new: we hosted two dinners on consecutive nights! I was a little nervous about the additional prep, managing two guests lists, and (let’s be honest) the massive volume of dishes… but I think things actually turned out quite well.

Photos courtesy of Airbnb

The first night’s group, sent to us by Airbnb, was super fun. In addition to a handful of people from the company, the table also included several travelers from around the country, all visiting San Francisco and seeking food adventures. It was a real privilege to meet everyone and give several of our guests their first underground dining experience. Also, big thanks to Mike Xia, who was kind enough to take a break from getting his startup off the ground to help us out in the kitchen!

The second evening was a regular ticketed Hearsay dinner, and many of our diners were return guests. It’s really great to see people coming back again and again—thanks for being part of the experiment with us!

This is the menu we presented:

Watermelon, feta, chili
Can Mayol Loxarel “999” Brut Nature Rosat, Penedes

Romano beans, yogurt, dill
Skouras “Zoe” Rosé, Peloponnese, 2014

Smoked eggplant, za’atar
Domaine Sigalas “Aa,” Santorini, 2014

Whole roasted fish, avgolemono
Sipun Zlahtina, Island of Krk, 2013

Bisteeya
Musar “Jeune” Rouge, Bekaa Valley, 2012

Cardamom pistachio ice cream, figs, burnt honey
Yeni Raki

We have several private dinners on the books for October, so look for invites to our next regular ticketed dinner in your inbox in November. Cheers!

Dinner recap: Childhood

I don’t care who you are or where you’re from—everyone has strong food memories from childhood. Some of us think back fondly to summer ice cream cones by a lake. Some people can still taste Grandma’s lasagna or fried chicken. And for more than a few of us, the smell of chocolate chip cookies takes us right back to Mom’s kitchen.

What’s for dinner has always been a big topic of conversation and bonding for my family. When I was growing up, my mom made nearly everything our family ate, from bread to pickles and preserves to peanut butter. She grew herbs in the backyard and took me and my brother along to pick blueberries at the farms nearby. She taught me why you don’t eat tomatoes in December (unless you canned them, which we did) and why you should handle your bread dough as little as possible. And she was my co-conspirator for my very first dinner party—a Big Night-themed, six-course extravaganza for 12 of my friends in high school.

Those memories were the inspiration behind our April 11 menu. For this meal, each dish was a reimagined version of one of my earliest food memories (and in the case of the nuggets dish, memories of one of the foods I was forbidden to eat). My mom even flew in from Portland to help out! She’s an incredible baker, so all of the pastry and breads in the meal were her delicious handiwork.

Here’s the menu we presented. I grew up in Oregon, so the pairings all came from some of our favorite Oregon wineries and distilleries as well:

BREAKFAST (egg and bacon pop tart, hot sauce, maple)
House Spirits Coffee Liqueur

PB&J (foie gras torchon, brioche, three homemade jams)
Trisaetum “Estates Reserve” Willamette Valley Riesling, 2012

EAT YOUR VEGETABLES (asparagus, hazelnut, egg)
Eyrie Vineyards “Estate” Dundee Hills Chardonnay, 2011

LEFTOVERS (salmon, dill, bucatini)
Brick House “The Dragon’s Tale” Ribbon Ridge Gamay Noir, 2013

NUGGETS (chicken, honey mustard, peas + carrots)
Division-Villages “Beton,” 2014

SUMMER (strawberry shortcake)
Clear Creek Grappa Moscato

We’d love to see you at our next dinner. To get an invite, sign up for our mailing list!

Dinner recap: Inspired by Japan

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Japan-inspired dinner on March 7! Here is the menu we presented:

Scallop, Lemon, Rose
Koshi No Tousetsuka Junmai Ginjo “Snow Flower” / Sparkling Cucumber Limeade

Radish, Carrot, Miso
2013 Muga Rose / Teapot Bitters Soda

Crab, Chawanmushi, Roe, Coriander
Alexander Jules 17/71 Manzanilla / Chilled Shiso Tisane

Octopus, Rice, Avocado, Nasturtium
Stone Smoked Porter / Chilled Pu-erh

Duck, Sunchoke, Kumquat, Dashi
Alexander Jules “Los Abandonados” 6/8 / 1980 Smoked Tung Ting Tea

Clementine, Gold
Dark & Stormy / Ginger Beer

Cherry sherry Manhattans for a crowd

bottled cocktailsRecently, we threw a cocktail party for about 30 friends. Hosting events like this is one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world. Now that we’ve arrived at the age where a lot of our friends have started having babies, seeing each other regularly can sometimes be a tricky business, requiring epic coordination of sitters and nannies and bedtimes. Getting 30 of my favorite people together at one time, in my living room, feels like a much bigger accomplishment than it did six or seven years ago. So when the stars align and it all comes together, I’m psyched. I want to make sure everybody has a fantastic time. And I definitely don’t want to miss my chance to catch up with everyone because I’m stuck behind the bar, slinging drinks all night.

The secret to making it happen: batch cocktails. Continue reading

Cocoa Rustica: Bringing cocoa culture to life

Last summer, we hosted a tasting event with Cocoa Rustica founder Mark Sommer at Hearsay HQ. He shared his amazing single-source drinking chocolates and took us on a journey into cocoa culture—both the traditions of the past and his vision for its future.

Caroline Harrison of The Hive Studios was also on hand with her camera for the event, and now a rough cut of her film is available. Check it out!