If you haven't heard, underground dinners (a gathering of dining enthusiasts set to meet at a secret location) are your next hottest bite. So don't miss The Muddy Leek Underground's Fall Harvest Dinner, Saturday November 12th, at a "secret enchanted indoor" Westside location. For $85 you'll receive a 7-course tasting with hors d'oeuvres, homemade brew, and Calvados Cider. (A limited number of seats are left, so make sure to reserve your tickets soon.)
The delicious duo behind it all includes award-winning Chef Whitney Flood (formerly from Sierra Mar Restaurant at Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur) and wife Julie Retzlaff. Otherwise known as Bon Melange Catering, the couple's MO is to always bring organic, sustainable, hormone-free fare and unique, experimental pairings to your table.
I was honored to be a part of last month's Tapas y Flamenco affair featuring 19 (yes NINETEEN!) dishes, Sangria & Wine, Flamenco dancer Kristelle Monterrosa, and Guitarist Walter Molina at Jalan Jalan Imports in serene Owl Falls, Topanga Canyon. The evening started off with tray-passed Foie Gras at sunset and a sensual Flamenco show, then transitioned to a family-style picnic gathering with a rock wall projected movie in the background. It was cool, casual, and we all felt fabulous to be a part of this special underground club.
- crispy on the outside, mashed potatoey on the inside Dried Olive Croquettes with Honey Mustard Glaze that i wanted to lap up like a dog
- unbelievably amazing flavor combo, i almost stole a whole tray Foie Gras Pineapple & Spice Skewers
- succulent, crunchy, creamy & sharp Grilled Black Mission Figs with Queso Picon
- smooth texture with olive oil drizzle and tingly tart bite Gazpacho & Cherry Tomato Jam Toast
- charred 'n spicy, japanese style Shishito Peppers
- the portuguese in me died for it, plump, sinful, crispy 'n crunchy Frijoles Blancos, Pork Belly, and Saffron Bomba Rice
- it's my new favorite grown-up grilled cheese Piquillo Pepper Manchego Sandwich
- lightly sauced 'n tender Braised Pork Cheek Sandwich on Brioche
- surprisingly delish, hearty 'n almost gamey Morcilla Blood Sausage Crostini
- i'd prefer a bowl of these vs. on bread Spicy Mussels & Tomato Spread Crostini
- super spicy White Shrimp, Pimenton Garlic & Sherry
- beautiful presentation, but a little dry Oven Roasted Windrose Farms Potatoes with Forest Mushrooms
- you had me at tarragon, Asparagus & Fried Quail Eggs with Sauce Cherone
- not my kinda thing, slimy 'n salty Anchovy & Red Pepper Wrapped Green Olive Sticks
- served french fry bag style, delicately Tempura Fried Eggplant with Honey (sadly not pictured)
- extra brownie points for creativity Chorizo & Chocolate Crostini
- one was not enough, light 'n fluffy, vanilla flavor Choux Puffs
- chomp worthy marzipan-like Almond Cakes with Chocolate Glaze
- indulgent and abundant Marcona Almond, Manchego & Quince Membrillo Cheese Plate
As you can read, this tapas dinner was more like a feast. By plate #5 my stomach was about to burst, but there was no way I was letting one delectable dish pass me by.
As far as my favorites, those would definitely be the Foie Gras & Pineapple, Saffron Bomba Rice, Piquillo Pepper Manchego Sandwich, and Asparagus & Fried Eggs with Sauce Charone.
If there was one critique I'd give, there were way too many bread-focused dishes.
At the end of the night, I couldn't thank Julie & Whitney enough for their casual hospitality, and friendly smiles while they happily refilled everyone's wine. They definitely helped make it one enchanting evening I'll never forget.
Until Next Bite, happy undergrounding!