1776 Historial Pop-Up Dinner
On Saturday July 9th 2016, I attended my first pop-up dinner hosted by Chef Claire P. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a couple of months now and I’ve been wanting an opportunity to meet her and experience her cooking. She used to live in NY, but relocated to Philadelphia. I was happy that she moved to Philly, I had more of a chance to experience one of her dinners.
The theme of that evening was a 1776 Historical Dinner. She did her research very well. Everything that she had on the menu had interesting facts about it. This was a very created theme, thoroughly researched and also unique. These were main factors that piqued my interest for attending this event.
When I arrived at the event, I was very nervous. This was my first pop-up dinner and I didn’t know what to expect. As time passed, many conversations went on. Claire’s guests, and also her mother who attended the event, were all wonderful and very welcoming. It was great to have a room filled with great conversationalists. And to add, Ben Franklin himself was an attendee. Boy was his character on point, and his humor was outstanding!
Now on to the food! The first course was a Mock Turtle Soup. Back then, turtle was expensive. So other ingredients were used to substitute for turtle. In this course, oxtail was used. And it was topped with parsley and a quail egg. Claire did an excellent job on the flavor, and the oxtail was very tender.
For the second course, we were served Potted Venison with bread and topped with red currant jelly. I learned that back then, potting things (foods) was common. You would spice and bake the meat to kill bacteria, grind it and pack it. Then it would be sealed with a layer of butter or animal fat. This was all researched by Claire, very impressive. Well anyways, I enjoyed it. The bread was extremely fresh and soft, and the venison was delicious. The currant jelly was a perfect topping as well.
The third course, we were served a small loaf with oysters. The small loaf was filled with a creamy oyster stew. I love oysters, and the stew was really tasty. I loved the creaminess/roux and the flavor was great.
Fourth course was chicken dressed the French way. The chicken was cooked in a lemon and wine sauce w/ artichokes, shallots, roasted grapes and mini veal meatballs. Goodness, I really enjoyed every bite of this meal. I ate the chicken with the grapes together, and the combination was superb. I would’ve never thought to ever roast grapes with chicken. I’ve learned something new that I definitely will be trying at home now. Thanks Claire! The sides to this dish were buttered carrots seasoned with nutmeg and salt. And then we had Peas Francoise. It was cooked with cabbage, seasoned well and it was also done with a roux.
And last, there was dessert. We were served Portugal cakes. This was a delicious ending. I couldn’t begin to describe the texture. I wasn’t like anything I’ve ever had. It was very moist and packed with flavor. It was also served with dry apple rings, golden raisins and candied almonds. I could eat this every week…very excellent! If I could place a special order for these cakes from Claire, I would in a heartbeat! If you want to check out Chef Claire, you can find her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cookingwithclaire