Wild Kitchen: an evening of underground dining

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:

Apertif:
Wild Huckleberry Eucalyptus Kir

Charcuterie plate of:
Wild Boar Rilette, Jardinaire Pickles, Pickled Bull Whip Kelp, Fatted Calf Pate Rustique, and House Smoked Wild Caught Mackeral

Warming Porcini Chestnut Soup
with House Made Creme Fraiche

Savory Wild Mushroom
and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Pickled Deviled Eggs
with Wild Caught Local Dungeness Crab
and
Hand Harvested Mendocino Sea Salt

Wild Mushroom Stuffed Turducken
with
Mushroom Gravy, Braised Savoy Cabbage
and
Roasted New Potatoes

Salad of:
Wild Foraged Miners Lettuce
Little Gem, Wild Radish Flowers, Pickled Beets
and
Wild Fennel Champagne Vinaigrette

Sweet Potato Pie
with
Wild Nettle Crust

It took me about two seconds to send in my reservation request. Then I called Warrington and said, “Make sure you don’t plan anything for Thursday night. Don’t ask me why . . . It’s a surprise early Christmas present.”

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Next, it was the porchini & chesnut soup. Light, creamy, delicious . . . mmmmmmm
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This was the braised savoy cabbage. The turducken was on a different platter which I photographed, but the picture was too dark . . . sorry.
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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.

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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.

 

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2 thoughts on “Wild Kitchen: an evening of underground dining

    • I was so disappointed I could have cried. I probably would have if I hadn’t been in such a rush. I LOVE THAT LENS! Luckily, I purchased I’d purchased a warranty, so the next day I took the lens back to Best Buy and–yahooo!– they gave me another one on the spot! It’s a good thing too, because this is the SECOND TIME I’ve dropped my camera and broken that lens!

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