Sunday, November 18, 2012

Le Diner a San Francisco

A group of friends and I recently attended a Large pop-up dinner. The reported attendance was over 5000 people! Most were strangers to us, but the vibe was fun and excitement in spite of the cold winds blowing over the Marina Green. Welcome to Le Diner a San Francisco, the Dinner of White, promoted by a group called Handmade Events. Guests brought everything except tables. All white was de rigueur. Here is our tablescape, most of these items were stuff I had on hand, although I did splurge and buy the lighted tree branches at Bed Bath and Beyond.

We brought a 3-course meal to the event. I made a soup for the first course. Avocado soup with tiny tomatoes and Bacon relish. The recipe I made up will be available at the bottom of this post. First photo is  taken with the real meal lighting and the second photo with camera flash. It was a lovely romantic-type setting. The couple sitting next to us were obviously on a date, maybe not their first, but hopefully not their last.

 Our main course featured Whole Foods Organic roasted chicken and a green salad with lots of bells and whistles (provided by Melissa). We also had more tiny tomatoes, colorful crisp peppers and Dutch Crunch bread.

For dessert we had something called "Buttered Toast and Jam" with flavored whipped cream. Stephanie stepped out of the box with this one, creating something that's like a sweet, buttery, fancy french toast loaf. It really did taste like extra rich toast and jam! Stephanie waited to make this dessert until the day of the event ("I knew if I made it even the night before, someone would cut into it!"), but I suspect this buttery loaf would age well, blending it's flavors and keeping for a couple days. If you're really decadent you could use it to make french toast, hello delicious heart attack!

So that was our meal. The experience as a whole had a lot of pluses, with just a few minus points. (Lighting for the port a potties next year?! The lines were long probably because you had to go in slow motion to avoid anything scary happening to you in those dark pits.) All guests, from parties of two, to parties of 20 (now that's organizing skills!) were full of laughter and fun.

During Setups. People were still arriving up until the white napkin wave.

The pops of black you see in this photo were people giving in to warmth over fashion. They need another drink!

A lot of merriness was going around including a huge cheer when the Giants won their game. White napkin waves abounded, maybe interrupting you with a fork in your hand. Next year it would be great to have a venue with less wind, although there was ample parking (unless you arrived late).

Dinners en Blanc take place all around the world. Have you attended or witnessed one?

Avocado soup en Angela                            Kitchen Tools needed

3 L Avocados (or 6 medium)                      Knife/cutting board
! small lemon (I used Meyer)                      Blender
1 lime                                                        rubber spatula
1 can coconut milk                                     can opener
1 medium onion (I used Vidalia)                 spoon
3 jalapeno peppers                                     tongs
salt and pepper to taste
crispy bacon for garnish
small or chopped tomatoes for garnish

Roast your 3 whole jalapeno peppers over an open flame until Black and plop them in a paper bag for a minute or two while you chop and caramelize your onion (I add salt to the onions). If an open flame is not available, you can chop and brown the peppers with the onions. Taking out the seeds and membrane make them less hot. Get your peppers out of the bag (I leave the char on for a smoky flavor) and chop them too.Whack both ingredients in your blender when done.

Next cut and scoop out your avocados into the  blender. Add the juice of your lemon and lime. Open and pour in your 1 can of coconut milk (or liquid of your choice). Get your blender going, periodically using the spatula to clean the sides until the mixture is smooth. Add more liquid to the consistency you'd like the soup to have. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Serve at any temperature, but I think that room temperature is best. Let guests garnish with tomatoes and bacon. Easy and Delish! If you wanted to give more flavor and make it more 'green', you could also add spinach (raw or cooked) and toss it in the blender too. Yum-O.