Pssst, Buddy! Wanna Go to a Food Rave?
By Sienna Spencer
So you’ve hit the hot list of restaurants during the hyped-up L.A. openings but you feel disconnected from the chef and distant from the other diners—a little snubbed, even. Put off by the chilly receptions and designer dishware, you crave intimacy and escape to your neighborhood farmers market.
You like talking to your friendly farmer about seasonality and no-spray signs. Every week you enjoy chatting up new friends while sharing different preparations for okra.
But who will cook up this booty you have purchased? And you can’t drink at the market in the middle of the day.
You are culinarily restless. Like a food addict illin’ for the next big fix, you want more, bigger, better—different. Introducing the Underground Dining Experience, brought to you by Chef Amy Jurist, as well as other rogue L.A. chefs who want to hijack you and your plus-one to a pirate restaurant for a night.
Unique? Check. Foodie community? Here they are. Unlimited wine? But of course. This new adventure in dining is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and each night is a one-of-a-kind encounter, never to be duplicated. The menu, the company—even the setting is subject to change, and you are grateful to be part of this intangible feeling, this enchanting event.
You arrive at the only-recently-disclosed location, an amazing private space: perhaps a hip West Hollywood penthouse, a mid-century modern home in the hills with city light views or the al fresco dining area of a Brentwood mansion, cooled by the onshore breeze of the Pacific.
You might feel awkward at first, but don’t panic! The appetizers start coming to comfort you along with Prosecco, whose bubbles swirl up into your nostrils and let you know that the party has started.
But what is this party, exactly? Looking around, you feel it’s pleasant, though unfamiliar. Are you at a wedding reception? A cocktail party? Sort of, although the guests are too enthralled with the food and extremely enthusiastic about meeting each other. A restaurant? Not really. There are 80 guests and you end up sitting with several strangers for the entire evening and everyone is eating the same five-course meal.
New friends bond over a wide range of cool conversation topics: L.A. restaurants, your children, social networking, art, RSS feeds, food allergies, where everyone is from, the meal you are devouring.
You laugh happily as you pass water jugs and almost-empty bottles of wine up and down the table, while the volunteer kitchen staff of professionals express their creative freedom with each dish. They plate proudly, remembering how far they’ve come from first putting on these events—just breaking even with family and friends.
But now their reputation is growing, with a string of popular evenings like The Mushroom Experience, and before that, Euro-Decadence. But the talk of the wandering supper club scene is the infamous Bacon Affair, with those lucky enough to have been in attendance back in the spring still licking their lips as they brag.
Yes, you will be back in six weeks for the next one, regardless of the evening’s cuisine theme. Until then, your stomach (and your mind) might remain… restless.