Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rogue Apron Mama Mediterranean Event

Last week the boyfriend and I attended our first Rogue Apron event. In NY, underground supper clubs are all the rage, and events go for upwards of $100 and often include high end chefs and elegant surroundings. When I moved to Atlanta this summer, I checked out the website of Ghetto Gourmet (the best known underground dinner group) to see if anyone is doing this kind of thing in Atlanta, and lo and behold I stumbled upon Rogue Apron. This group is fairly new, but with a recent Daily Candy mention, it's growing fast.

Anyone can volunteer to host, and this time around dinner was at the home of an Italian fella, with a helluva kitchen set up. Clearly this guy is in the cooking biz, but you don't have to be to host. The event was titled Mama Mediterranean, so not surprisingly, dinner was med-influenced, with a particular emphasis on Greece and Italy.

There are a few great things about underground supper clubs. First, it's a unique dining experience for those who dine out at restaurants so much that nothing feels new anymore. Second, it's a chance to meet new people, which gets increasingly harder to do the older you get. Third, it's often a showcase for an up-and-coming chef who gets to branch out from the menu they cook day-to-day at work.
Rogue Apron - 7/30/08Rogue Apron - 7/30/08Rogue Apron - 7/30/08
This event was certainly a welcome break from the norm and a good chance to meet new people. The crowd was incredibly eclectic with everything from an older suburbanites, to young hipsters, to mainstream 30-something peeps like us. The boyfriend and I ended up talking to the same couple nearly the whole night, so I guess we weren't exactly tearing up the social scene, but still it was great to have new dinner companions who we wouldn't have otherwise met.

Food was passed around by volunteer staff somewhat haphazardly, so we had to be a bit aggressive to make sure we got fed. That said, we spoke to the host chef, and ended up with a fresh made to order sausage pizza, so aggressive food seeking really paid off. Passed apps also included a delicious creamy moussaka and a savory lamb kebab. The event was very veggie friendly, but being an avowed carnivore, I wasn't too focused on the vegetarian options.

The main course was the aforementioned pizza, which was fresh from the oven and gone far too fast. For dessert, we had a choice of panna cotta or biscotti. I went with panna cotta, and thought it a light and sweet end to the night. It wasn't a ton of food in the end, but it was nice to get to nibble and not leave feeling stuffed. Given the event only cost a $20 option donation, it was fine by me.

The host had the perfect backyard setup for an event, and he even built long wooden tables to seat everyone. East Atlanta brewing co-sponsors so there were two beers on tap, but I'm not a beer drinker so I stuck to the wine on offer. It was a zillion degrees out, so alas, the wine was warm, but I was happy to find it on offer given the beer tie-in.

Overall, it was a really fun event, and well worth the $20 donation. I actually have aspirations to do a smaller scale, higher end dinner club at some point, but this was a great casual dining experience that I'd definitely go to again, and it gives me a sense of how much work goes into hosting something like this.

Thank you to tamih for pictures from Flickr.



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