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

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!

Spain dinner recap

Huge thanks to all the guests who joined us for this weekend’s Spain-inspired dinner! We had an overwhelming response for this event, and we wish we could’ve accommodated everyone on the waiting list. For those of you who weren’t there, here’s how it went down.

We welcomed everyone with one of these:

Christmas in August
1 1/2 ounces Aviation gin
1 ounce Santa Claus melon agua fresca
1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce black pepper simple syrup

Garnish with dehydrated jamón chip (dry on a Silpat in a 170 degree oven for 3-4 hours).

Once everyone arrived, we kicked off the meal with our amuse–a mussel poached in fino sherry and served with salsa verde and smoked paprika.

 

 

Our first course was inspired by an amazing breakfast my friends Jenna and Deroy served me a few years ago. We baked morcilla (blood sausage) into the base of a savory bread pudding, topped it with finely diced dates, and served it with a 64-degree sous vide egg. So simple but so good–and a perfect match with the 2000 Lopez de Heredia “Viña Gravonia” Crianza Blanco Rioja.

For the second course, we served a Monterey squid with deconstructed romesco and poured a 2010 Bodegas Muga Rosado that mellows out a lot during its brief period in oak. This is one of my personal favorite summer wines–it’s very similar to the Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia aged rosé that we’ve served at two past dinners, but at an incredibly wallet-friendly price.

The third course was actually three mini-courses in one. Pintxos are typically served as bar snacks, often with sherry–but since the three we chose were a bit heavier than our first two courses and required a weightier wine (the Lustau Almacenista Vides Palo Cortado, a beautifully light and nutty sherry from Jerez de la Frontera) we decided to break the rules and serve these later in the meal. The three bites we offered: (1) a skewer with sauteed calf liver and a caramelized shallot in a sherry vinaigrette, (2) a croqueta of arroz negro (rice colored with squid ink) and stuffed with wine-washed goat cheese, and (3) a toast with garlic white bean puree, a boquerone (lightly cured Spanish white anchovy), blood orange, and black olive dust.

For our fourth course, we served a seared veal short loin with Catalán-style baby chard, a pine nut puree, and garbanzo and blood orange gremolata. We paired it with the 2008 Tajinaste Tinto Tradicional from Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. This wine is 100% Listan Negro, which is a grape native to the Canary Islands. The volcanic soil there gives this light-bodied wine a bracing black pepper spice that worked as a nice counterpoint to the richness of the veal and the acid in the gremolata.

And then we served cheese.The red swipe on the plate is a savory red wine caramel with thyme. The cheese in the top right is a Garrotxa, which is a tangy goat cheese that (fun fact) the Mythbusters guys deemed perfect for cannonballs. The gooey blob next to the caramel swipe is a funky soft Serra de Estrela sheep’s milk cheese from Portugal. We paired this with an incredible madeira that blends wines 10-60 years old–the Rare Wine Company Historic Series Boston Bual.

We finished things up with Dan’s dark chocolate and Cointreau truffles. To see those, you’re just going to have to join us for dinner.

Thanks again to everyone who was there, and everyone who patiently took a spot on the waitlist. We’ll be announcing our next dinner this week–make sure you’re on the mailing list to get first dibs. Cheers!