Monday, March 5, 2012

Living Social Gourmet Experience at Davio's

As I mentioned back in January, Living Social Gourmet is offering new delectable experiences to a select group of foodies. 

As a reminder:
  • Gourmet members receive a new offer via email every two weeks. 
  • Members are handpicked based on their passion for food, love for restaurants and interest in experiencing new things.
  • Foodies that do not receive an invite, but are interested in joining Gourmet can log on to and submit a request for admittance.
  • Most offers cost upwards of 100 dollars per person and include some of the finest foods, wines and spirits our restaurateur partners have to offer.
  • Gourmet is live in seven markets including DC, SF, NYC, Portland, Ore, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Boston.

I was lucky enough to enjoy their first Atlanta offering gratis. The deal was $150 per person for a gnocchi cooking class at Davio's and a 4 course wine pairing dinner at a later date. I had initially turned my nose up when Davio's opened because, well, it's a chain and in a mall, and I'm a snob. But in the name of journalistic experience, I took Living Social up on its generous offer. I'm happy to say that my concerns were allayed, and my Living Social Gourmet experience at Davio's was surprisingly delightful.

Our class took place on a weekend morning. I thought we might actually be back in the kitchen, but we were set up in the area overlooking the kitchen, complete with mis en place ready to go and chef's coats. So this wasn't a hard core chef's cooking class, but it was plenty fun and informative for the average amateur cook.

So Davio's chef provided us with instructions and the necessary ingredients, and then walked us through each step of the process to make gnocchi.

My only qualm about the class is that we didn't actually cook the gnocchi we made. Instead we finished making our gnocchis, and then he demonstrated making a truffle mushroom sauce and served us up a finished dish from the kitchen. Now, don't get me wrong this dish was incredible. The gnocchi were pillowy and light and the truffle sauce had the perfect umami richness. Seriously, I want this sauce on everything. And lucky for us we took some home along with additional (not made by us) gnocchis and a red sauce. So we had lunch the next day, too!

That being said, I would have loved to know what my gnocchi tasted like. Given they led with "the best gnocchi use very little flour," and then we proceeded to add more and more flour to get the gnocchi workable, makes me a little dubious. In fact, our friends tried to make gnocchi a week or so later, and we tried to impart our wisdom.  When all was said and done, they had to run to the store to buy spaghetti because the gnocchi were a disaster. I suspect mine might have been the same had I tasted them!

Fois Gras appetizer
When all was said and done, though, the class was a lot of fun, and certainly a better than average way to spend a Saturday morning. Next up was the 4 course wine pairing dinner, which we enjoyed on a Saturday night. Turns out Davio's is kicking on a weekend night with a fairly Buckhead Betty in her 40s kind of crowded. So not my normal scene, but definitely a good buzz of energy.

Pasta bolognese

The Mr. and I opted for the same courses - a fois gras with beets, a bolognese dressed pasta, and tiramisu. The wine pairings were thoughtful and the pours hefty... always a good thing in my book!  Most importantly, each dish was truly enjoyable. I thought the beets were somewhat overpowering to the fois, but it's hard to go wrong with a rich plate of fois gras. The pasta especially was delicious, with an incredibly flavorful meat sauce - true comfort food. And the dessert was just as good as you expect tiramisu to be, even if it struck my like a different variation than the norm.


During the cooking class portion of the deal, I overheard a woman telling a friend that she'd previously spent $150 on a meal at the restaurant, so she thought it was a pretty good deal to get a class thrown in. And I agree. If you were coming to this expecting the kind of in-depth, get your hands dirty cooking class you get somewhere like the Art Institute, you might have been disappointed. But for the quality of the class and of the meal, I feel like the price was a good value. I would obviously just make sure that any place you're buying a deal for is the kind of place you genuinely want to eat, and then you're certain to extra great value from it.

So of course, this particular deal isn't on offer to you (although you can head to Phipps and enjoy Davio's surprisingly good food any time you want!), but it should give you a sense of the kinds of experiences you can get from Living Social Gourmet. Another recent offer was for an Iron Chef style dinner with a secret ingredient at Cibo  E Beve with 5-courses and wine pairings and a take home gift bag for $90 a head.

So get your booty over to now to see if you can snag yourself a spot on the list!

Davio's is at Phipp's Plaza
3500 Peachtree Road Northeast  
Atlanta, GA 30326

*Full disclosure: Although my meal/class were comped, I always endeavor to offer my unbiased opinion about my experience.



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