Monday, September 3, 2012

Blind Pig At Oddfellows

Pig's out of the bag, so to speak. Last night, our warehouse hosted a pop-up supper with The Blind Pig, a local underground supper club. I have been wanting to tell anyone and everyone about the event, but because the club doesn't tell its guests the location of supper until the day of the event, my lips were sealed. Believe me, keeping a secret this big to myself was hard work indeed!

 Each supper is organized around a theme and the Blind Pig rallies local chefs together for each event. Last night's theme, "Hemingway's Havana," was a perfect match for the warehouse. Each dish was influenced by Cuban cuisine, as well as Ernest Hemingway's writing. I will not pretend to play food critic, but rest assured that each dish was amazing. Add to that the atmosphere of an antique store at night, with Spanish guitar players in the background, and you've got one of the most amazing, surreal experiences I've had in Asheville to date.Executive Director Michael Moore is truly an inspiring individual. Overnight, along with his lovely wife Darlene, as well as his regular crew, Michael has created an organization worth every bit of its hype.Check out the pictures below, which do not at all do justice to how magical the evening really was. Also be sure to check out The Blind Pig website here to learn more about the supper club and its concept.

These pigs were perhaps the most important part of the entire supper.  Procured from The Chop Shop on Charlotte Street, these four pigs were delivered to the warehouse at about 12:45 Sunday.

As customers filed into the shop looking for antiques, the piggies were lined up on the spit in our parking lot for all to see. The roasting began around 1:30, and lasted up until suppertime at 8. Pictured are Zoe, Brian Canipelli, and Mike Moore keeping the pigs in line.

I have to say, this part was pretty awesome to watch, and I was totally intrigued with the entire roasting process. As the chefs began smoking and roasting, Tom and Kelly's dad Mike began emptying out the front room with a little help from yours truly. I lifted all the heavy stuff. Just kidding. Customers were really intrigued and excited to learn about the event, particularly out-of-towners that weren't familiar with Blind Pig.

Right at closing time, the Blind Pig crew shuffled in and filled the front room with tables and chairs. There were 10 tables total, with room enough for 80-85 guests. I've never seen a crew work so diligently, and so quickly. There wasn't much time between 5 and 7:30 when guests arrived, but because there were so many hands on deck, transitioning our warehouse from retail space to dining room went without any hitches.
 
Here are a few more shots of the crew as they got the tables prepped for dinner. 

 After each glass, napkin, and place setting was organized, Elaine and Bryan from Urban Farm Girl in Black Mountain, NC adorned the tables with wildflowers beautifully grown on their flower farm. They were the nicest couple, and one of the best parts of the supper for me was being able to connect with folks I had never met before. Elaine and Bryan were no exception and I admired their floral arrangements all evening. Check out their website here. Definitely consider them for your next occasion; it was a delight meeting them.
In addition to the flowers, Tom, Kelly, and I also picked several objects to adorn the tables as well. I love this scale with books, and Elaine and Bryan's flowers complement them so well, don't you think? Someone even ended up buying an object that was placed in front of her chair! 

Here's the final result. I couldn't have imagined a better table setting and I loved the way the soft lighting from candles and lamps showcased our items in a new way. We don't often see the warehouse at night, so it was really fun to see how cozy and inviting the space was for the event.

The beloved Kudu was made for entertaining, and so many people commented  upon how regal he looked. 
Another shot just before guests arrived. I can't speak enough about how excited I was to see it all come together. It felt wild having the front room arranged for a big gathering, and the result was way better than I imagined it looking like in my head.

Meanwhile, the V.I.P. guests of the evening start looking like they're ready to party!

Finally, after everyone checked in with Darlene and had a quick peek at the shop, it was time to feast...
 Our menu for the evening. Each dish had been thoughtfully conceptualized before the dinner and again, words can't express how wonderful each course truly was. Chefs Brian Canipelli, Mike Moore, Adam Bannasch, and Sam Etheridge created and executed each dish with such skill and creativity. They all complemented one another and just as I had decided on my favorite dish, another course was served only to take its place. 

 Here's a closeup of the menu. Seriously the best meal ever. 
 As everyone eagerly awaiting each new dish, the Blind Pig crew worked quickly behind the scenes. Tom was quickly able to snap this photo of dishes ready to get plated. 

Another behind the scenes shot. I believe this is Adam preparing the Paella de Mariscos. 

Here's a mashup of each dish. Left to Right, Up and Down: "The Old Man & The Sea Ceviche" (Papa Doble Cured Swordfish, Jalapeno and Grapefruit Gastrique, Cherry Rum Relish, Tostones Cilantro Oil), "The Have and Have Not Black Beans & Rice" (Duck Crepinette, Black Bean Puree, Pickled Mirliton), "Men Without Women Octopus" (Avocado Terrine, Chile, Spanish Onion, Local Tomato), "A Farewell To Arms Mofongo" (Local Rabbit Confit, Chorizo, Tarro Root Hash, Salsa Verde, 64 Degree Yolk), "Papa's Last Feast" (Cuban Lechon Asado, Paella De Mariscos, Pickled Vegetables, Coconut Braised Greens, and "Cassava Benjuelos" (Dulce De Leche Pudding, Cafe Cubano Ice Cream, Sea Salt Chocolate Crumble). My favorite, as well as Ethan's, was the octopus, followed by the ceviche. Tom's favorite was the ceviche, and the verdict is out on Kelly's favorite. Miss K, what was your favorite?

As we wined and dined, these fantastic Spanish guitar players accompanied the meal with beautifully rendered songs. I didn't catch their names, so if anyone is reading and knows, please comment below so I can give credit where it is most assuredly due. Their music really made the night feel surreal to me. The whole night was surreal, but add to that this music, and it's like I imagined it all in my head. It was too amazing to be real!

I just can't get over how amazing the room looked with everyone in it. I love these two shots. I believe they were taken right before the last course was served. It seemed to us that everyone was truly having a good time and enjoying the atmosphere.

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, it felt like the night before had been some sort of dream. Surely we had not just hosted 85 guests in the warehouse, complete with an amazing 6 course meal, Spanish guitarists, and lovely antiques surrounding us. Luckily, this barrel remained along with the barbeque pit to remind me that I had indeed participated in an amazing adventure the night before. It was a lot of hard work, but SO worth it. I loved the feeling of community from the evening; it was great to connect with people I would not have otherwise met and it was awesome to showcase Oddfellows to a whole group of folks that might not have made it into the warehouse until last night. We are eager to host another dinner soon! A huge thank you again to Mike Moore and the Blind Pig, without whom we would not have journeyed to Havana and back, all in a day's time!

Be sure to check out these links:
-CLicKs (I'm hoping to share more pictures with you soon. The photographer, Cindy, took tons of photos and I'm eager to see what she captured. She was truly delightful to work with!)

2 comments:

  1. A grand party indeed. From the foods to table skirting up to the guests. Wow! It looks so luxurious for us to think about it. How I wish to experience a grand party like that.

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