Sunday, May 31, 2015
Farmhouse Dining Club
We were invited to a Farmhouse Dining Club popup dinner recently, featuring local food creatively prepared and enjoyed by an eclectic mix of adventurous eaters. The food is sourced and prepared by Chef Matt Cunningham who we met last year when he helmed the kitchen at The Sinclair in Cambridge. We were particularly intrigued, at that time, with Matt's penchant for fermented foods and didn't really know what to expect but were pretty sure it would be good.
The setting for this popup was a private home, a beautiful Victorian set in the hills of Somerville on a shady lane. The table was simply but elegantly set.
We grabbed a cold beer and headed straight to the kitchen where Matt was preparing our meal. The Fried Chicken was being prepared with Maine Buttermilk and Chive for the brined breasts, Cola and Birdseye Chili for the fried legs and wings. The aroma teased the hunger pangs.
We met our dinner guests as they arrived. MIT grad students, fellow food writers and MFA Curators made the conversation both lively and interesting.
The perfectly turned out Fried Chicken was served with no less than six different sauces including the most popular Roasted Garlic Ranch but also Fermented Long Pepper, Thai Basil Hot Sauce, Burnt Lime Nuac Cham and another favorite, Togarashi Blueberry-BBQ Sauce. The selection made for interesting taste combinations and discussion.
My personal delight was this Mac and Kim-Cheese With Pork Rind and Funyan Topping, bursting with flavor and texture. Then there was the Pork Belly and Chopped Pickle Stuffed Baked Potato and Sweet Onion Ash Mini Biscuits drizzled with a local honey butter. All were good.
The best part of the meal, however, was the sharing and talking, the laughter and insight that can only happen when you throw a group of people together for a family style meal and everyone has an avid appreciation of great food. They call us foodies and we love it when people deride the term for something more snobbish.
Our pre-dessert assignment was a coloring contest, taken quite seriously by most. I watched, rapt, at the MFA end of the table, hard at work. Of course, the winner would be found here.
Dessert was Chocolate Chip Miso Cookies, rich and gooey and unique.
So, if you're looking for something refreshingly unusual and enjoy dining leisurely and comfortably with, perhaps, some new and very interesting friends, this is the place for you. You can bring your own beer and wine and the menu (mostly) is available in advance. It was certainly a new thing for us and a step toward the growing trend of dining-as-an-experience, very different from the standard restaurant fare and much more intimate and fun.
You can also follow Farmouse Dining Club on twitter at @FDCpopup for advance notice and information on upcoming events.