Ghetto Gourmand Dishing Out Underground Cuisine
A food revolution is cooking in Spokane. A fun and innovative new social scene is hitting the underground providing local residents with unique opportunities to experience culinary creations and social libations. Ghetto Gourmand is bringing underground dining to Spokane. From their web site: “One night. Unlimited possibilities. An experience unlike anything you’ve ever enjoyed before. Become a ghetto gourmand and enter the world of underground dining.”
How does it work? Ghetto Gourmand is a travelling dinner experience that is limited to a small number of guests. Dinner guests are provided the secret location and password one or two days prior to the event. Each event features a theme and four –six course theme appropriate meal. Ticket prices can vary, but from what I’ve seen $60-80 per person seems standard. Guest chefs, musicians and artists provide something truly unique for the Spokane area.
DrinkNectar is not a food blog, but I was invited to the launch event which featured some of the area’s finest in media and social elite. The theme of the launch was the “Roarin’ Twenties.” Everyone in attendance was dressed up with several dressed in period appropriate attire. Being that this was the host’s first event in Spokane, there were expected “bumps” and opportunities for improvement. In all, it looked like 60-80 people were in attendance for the launch. Check out the pictures. Photo credits go to Ghetto Gourmand, Sip of Spokane and Angela Monson.
The event was at the Muzzy Mansion in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood. This 1890’s built home has been beautifully restored and provided a fantastic back drop for the event. Jazz music and champagne greeted our entry and elegant ladies and dapper gentlemen assisted us in being transported back in time. Holding the event in a home provided its unique challenges. As the guests arrived and food was served the temperature indoors soared pushing people to congregate on the lawn. With the setting of the sun, courses three and four brought people back indoors. The venue, while spectacular, seemed to corner people off into various locations in the building hindering interaction.
The six course menu was French cuisine driven with liver pate, foie gras brioche, cognac mornet sauced mushroom ravioli, pan seared scallops, cognac glazed pork belly, and a huckleberry puff pastry for dessert. I am not a foodie, but I did appreciate the opportunity to experience something unique in Spokane. I have four observations about the food (one of which I’ll expand upon in the next section).
- The delay between dishes was long. I would assume that the kitchen space the old home limited the ability to deliver the dishes quickly.
- The menu could have potentially been fairly polarizing. With liver, and mushrooms covering three of the five main courses, many people could potentially be turned away. I would think when planning a menu like this you would want to be more appeasing to a broader palate.
- There wasn’t really any dish that made me go “wow.” The Seared Sonoma Foie Gras with pence peach and candied apricots was nice as was the Cognac Glazed Berkshire Pork Belly, but neither were memorable.
- The menu order / wine pairing order was a little odd (let me explain in the next section).
I’ll start by disclosing that I was asked to provide wine selections for the dinner. My suggestions were sparkling wine for menu items 2 and 4 (or a Chardonnay, preferably a crisp one) and Pinot Noir for menu items 1, 3 and 5. I realize that finding the perfect wine may have posed a problem for the organizers and I can’t fault them for trying. I actually applaud them for making the effort to ask the question. I think where the struggle came in was the partnership with a local company who provided a big bold red blend and the overall order of the pairings. We went from sparkling wine to medium bodied red to Chardonnay and then to the big bold red. For future events where wine is provided I would recommend paying attention to the order of the pairings and move people from light to heavy with a potential ending of sweet. It would also be important to keep the temperature of the wine in mind. The facility was quite warm which made the reds overly hot (my guess would be 75+ degrees). When in doubt, chill your reds and allow them to come up to room temperature.
In all, I had a fantastic time. Life is meant to be enjoyed with friends and in the end, it was the people I experienced the evening with that made it most enjoyable. Would I attend again (as a paid guest)? Good question. If I were dropping $80 a pop on an event, I would want a peek at the menu to assist in my decision. According to their website, future events will be ‘bring your own alcohol.’ Knowing the menu would assist in selection here as well. I also hope that the service between courses is quicker and the venue is more conducive to interacting.
The organizers are onto something fun for Spokane residents and I wish them the best of success. A tweaks here and there will make this a grand event in which people will be anxiously awaiting the next secret rendezvous. Events are already scheduled for June, July and August. Visit their website for all the details. Become a fan of Ghetto Gourmand on Facebook for pictures and updates.
- June 21: Mid-Summer Nights Dream
- July 24: Eat Love Pray
- August 14: Steamy Summer Nights