Sunday, October 9, 2011

eaTABLE Supper Club All-Vegan Dinner at The Live From Memphis Loft

I was asked by the eaTABLE Supper Club to create a menu for their October dinner. Immediately, I said yes! You see, we had done a dinner for them before and know what a grateful group they are. There's nothing better than making food for those who are open-minded and ready for the experience.

The host of the dinner, Chris Reyes, is a longtime vegan. I decided, out of respect for him and his home, that I would develop a menu that was in line with his morals; I really liked the challenge: make an appealing and creative vegan meal that would please 16 mostly non-vegans.

In the past, we've done a costal Mexican vegetarian feast, an all-tomato dinner, and an all-vegetarian brunch at  Restaurant Iris. For this new dinner, I decided on the theme of comfort food, hence comforTABLE. I went back and pulled some of my vegan favorites: brussels sprout salad, mushroom tamales,  and Thai fried rice. I still wanted to push myself further by developing new recipes specifically for this event, like Indian nachos and panelle and caponata sliders.

The unexpected hit of the night was the pickles served alongside the sliders. Much to my surprise, members of the group requested more beet, cucumber, and okra pickles.  Between 16 of them, they ate three quarts of pickles! It was a victory for me since I'm always trying to get people to eat okra, one of my favorites.

Dessert was total comfort food, too: brown 'butter' and vegan marshmallow crispy treats two ways, ancho chili and cayenne with toasted pumpkin seeds + Maldon salt and Olive and Sinclair 75% dark chocolate. They were a total hit. Our test for a good dessert is that it is just plain gone way before anyone expects it to be, and this happened quite quickly here.

We could not have pulled off this amazing feat without the help and planning of a few key folks. First off, Stacey Greenberg is one of the hardest-working people in Memphis. She writes for every major publication in town, writes a blog called Dining with Monkeys, is involved in Rock n' Romp, Roller Derby, and runs the eaTABLE supper club. I'm convinced there are no less than three of her. Margot McNeeley, who runs a wonderful organization called Project Green Fork, not only set the tables but also helped me carry them up two flights of stairs. Last but not by any means least, Chris Hawkins pretty much cooked everything that we prepped, and in doing so, freed us up to make sure everything else went smoothly. Thanks, y'all!

The reviews are in, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Check out these reviews from Live From Memphis's Chris Reyes, and another guest at the dinner, Bianca Phillips of the blog Vegan Crunk.
Thanks for the kind words, you two.

We are looking forward to our next event -- whatever it may be.