There is no better way to celebrate an occasion than an underground dinner – especially one thrown by the Undercover Supper. The theme of the supper was 2-Cute 2-Eat with us eating Disney animal meats like quail and rabbit and deer. It was awesome. You can find the menu here.
A few great things about the evening overall (before I even talk about the food).
- The really awesome diners. The list was split in half between friends of Bex and Chef Mark and total strangers. But as it turned out, everyone was incredibly delightful. You know you’re not in DC anymore when your dining companions include three computer programmers, two chefs, an arborist, and a freelance writer/clothing designer. And who can forget the graphic artist whose first book will be on her sex life.
- The atmosphere to promote conversation between us awesome diners. The organizers did a smart thing – tell people when they can arrive and tell people when dinner will be served. We came at 7:00 pm and dinner was served at 7:30 pm.
- The multiple pours for each course. I loved that I got another pour on a wine because sometimes I’d get greedy and drink all of my wine before the food was set in front of me. And knowing Bex expertise, she knows how to pair wine with food.
- Having the chef and the sommelier be so present with us. Talking about every beverage and every course.
Here’s the blow by blow:
7:00 pm We arrive at Chez Undercover Supper where Bex hands us the aperitif of sparkling wine with a rosemary infused meyer lemon syrup. Start chatting with delightful guests.
7:30 pm We are seated and asked to introduce ourselves. The crowd is sweetly and gives us a collective AAAAWWWW when I announce it’s our eight anniversary. Bex talks about stretching her worldview and going with local wines as opposed to the European ones she usually does. Wine is crisp and complex and pairs well with the artichoke. The quail egg is slightly undercooked but the star for me is the fonduta which somehow has a mousse-like quality to it. Considering fonduta is melted cheese, this is quite an accomplishment.
8:00 pm Bex and Mark come out. Bex let’s the diners know to keep our silverware because we are green yo! And then talks about the divine Syrah which is full and round and complements the pasta perfectly. I loved the rabbit ragu because you can really taste the rabbit. Unlike other ragus the tomato flavor plays a backseat to the flavor of the meat. The fresh pasta is amazing. Cirole pasta is square shaped – whodathunkit?
8:10 pm We talk about our seatmate’s graphic novel on her sex life and then talk to another diner about his plans to become a winemaker in Greece. Yes, the conversation was as sparkling as the aperitif.
8:25 pm Bex comes out with the BEST WINE EVAH. The 2007 Quivira Zinfandel is made by people completely off the grid. All handmade and fertilized with compost. And it tastes like a dream. Sometimes I think Bex takes my wine preferences directly out of my brain because the Zin is full and fruity with a strong blackberry flavor. I love it! And it pairs SOOO well with the venison which is as tender as a filet mignon but with ten times more flavor. One thing that wasn’t list on the menu was the fennel and mushroom (chantarelle?) salad which was a fresh accompaniment to the full flavor of the venison.
8:50 pm Hooray! We get a dessert with a dessert wine pairing. People may not know this but I am a huge fan of dessert wines. I love muscats and ports. So to have dessert with a dessert wine is a real treat. The spice cake is lovely but the hightlight is the praline. Rather than being a big patty of sugar and nuts, it’s a finely ground rubble underneath a spoonful of ice cream. The subtlety of that touch is amazing and you get to taste the flavors of the caramelized sugar and nuts in a pop rocks way.
9:20 pm Table is cleared and our fellow diners just hang out with each other. We end up talking to someone who grew up about 10 minutes away from J. What a small world.
10:30 pm Yes we were still talking. This was a fund group. Everyone leaves, we go to the kitchen where we nosh on leftover celery root puree, homemade caramel candy, and shoe string potatoes. J and I do a blow by blow of dinner for Bex and Chef Mark to give them feedback on what went right (a lot!) and what went wrong (virtually nonexistent).