And speaking of food and pleasure, Christmas came early in the Parker-Baszile house. A while back, I signed up for something called ForageSF, conceived by the talented, young chef, Iso Rabins. In addition to organizing underground markets where local artisans sell their homemade products, Iso started Wild Kitchen, a monthly “pop up” supper club where every element of the eight-course meal is acquired from local growers and is, in most cases, actually foraged . . . as in shot, picked, plucked, dug for, dived for, or otherwise gathered from our natural surroundings.
A couple week ago, the new Wild Kitchen email arrived in my inbox. Here’s what was on the menu:
Before I go on, I want to apologize for the poor picture quality below. The dinner invitation asked that we please arrive promptly at 6:30 p.m.. I’d already figured trying to get across town on a Thursday night would be a challenge, but before I could leave, I had to pick up Chloe from basketball practice and just my luck, there was some Christmas Tree lighting festival in Golden Gate park. Needless to say, I was cutting it close. Got home, showered, dressed, and was all set to take pictures with my beautiful Canon 60D, when wouldn’t you know, in my haste, I DROPPED IT on my way out of the door. I’m not kidding–as I was literally walking out and I dropped it and busted the lens. I had to rely on my iphone.
Anyway . . .
Part of the fun of Wild Kitchen is that while they announce the menu in advance, they don’t announce the dining location until two days before. This dinner was held in a place called The Stable Cafe, which was a real horse stable back in the day and is now is part cafe, part community kitchen. There’s even an underground creek.
The other fun thing about Wild Kitchen is meeting the other diners. Since I’d never been to one of these dinners before I had no idea what to expect. I thought it packed with hipsters (not that I have anything against them) but it turned out to be a nice mix.
After the guest arrived, Iso and his partner, Katy invited up out to the patio where they told us more about the meal. Iso prepared turduken (for those of you who’ve never had it, it’s a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey) and cooked it in something called a “la caja china” which is essentially a small wood and metal hotbox or upside down smoker.
Then we all went into the dining area and sat at long community tables. We sat next to a guy named Michael who just moved out here from New Haven, who’s here working on a start-up, and across from two young women, Natalie, originally from Portland by way of New York, and Camille, who came here on an exchange program from Paris and decided to stay. They both work for Google. The woman who sat on Warrington’s other side drove all the way from Sacramento!
This charcuterie plate was the first of eight courses. Iso told us that he’d foraged for the bull whip kelp (as in seaweed) by diving for it off the Sonoma coast. He shot the wild boar on a friend’s property.
Pickled deviled eggs with local dungeness crab. This course was a small miracle because last week the crab boats were on strike. The eggs were pickled in beet juice.
Between courses, Iso came out to talk to his guests and answer questions. Here’s what he said about the flow of courses, particularly, why he served the salad course after the entree. Any writers out there will relate to his reasoning.
In case you’re wondering, the salad was really good.