Food Party Popup Volume 2!
They've done it again! Food Party has rocked my world and taken my taste buds on a wild adventure!
Tony and I were so excited to attend Food Party PopUp Volume 2 Sunday night at Avondale Common House. Food Party is the creation of Chef David Smith, Chef Brent Seamon, and Michelle Schaefer. It is so much more than just amazing food. It is community. It is genuine connection. It is chefs encouraging each other, supporting each other, and putting aside any type of competition to create something beautiful for each person that attends. Food Party is bringing something truly special to Birmingham, and I promise you will want to be along for the ride.
Shout out to the incredibly talented Chef William Rogers who hosted this event at his lovely restaurant, Avondale Common House and also shared some incredibly delicious recipes as the guest chef of the evening. Old Forester Bourbon joined in the festivities by creating unique cocktail pairings for each course.
Now, let's talk about why you're all here. To hear about the amazing food and delicious drink!
Hushpuppies- jimmy red cornmeal, chow chow, collard pistou
Crispy, fluffy hushpuppies, nestled in the most perfectly tart chow chow, all brought together by collard pesto. Collard pesto? Yes, folks, you heard me right. Outrageously delicious COLLARD PESTO! From this first course it was clear that Southern charm and elevated comfort food were the themes of the evening. As I bit into this hushpuppy I was transported to my childhood in Baton Rouge. Fish fries, Cajun accents, and the flavors of home were a welcomed start to this exciting food party.
The cocktail pairing for the first and second course combined sweet pineapple, tart lemon, and savory sage. It was a fantastic pairing with these hushpuppies as it highlighted the bright vegetables in the chow chow and brought out the sweet flavors in the jimmy red cornmeal.
watermelon salad- feta, corn, spicy almond, balsamic vinegar
Watermelon and bacon. Need I say more? But, you know I'm gonna. Creamy feta, smoky grilled corn, sweet watermelon, peppery arugla, and buttery bacon were all brought together with a pleasantly acidic dressing. I could eat this salad over and over. It had the perfect balance of light, crisp fruit and veggies & rich fatty goodness from that glorious bacon. Chef William, you think I can get that recipe?
It paired perfectly with the smokey, sweet flavor of the Old Forester sage & pineapple cocktail.
pecan catfish- old forrester pecans, zipper pea hoppin' john, gribiche, pickled purple radish
Talk about elevating Southern cuisine! This dish combined the Southern classic of hoppin' johnny with a traditional French gribiche. So creative! The catfish flavor was sublte and cooked to perfection. The pecans were earthy and added an amazing crunch to the dish. Having cornmeal, collards, and peas on the menu was no accident and I loved the nod to the old Southern tradition of "good luck foods".
The cocktail pairing for course 3 & 4 was a Spruce Old Fashioned. The combo of bourbon and spruce brought out the earthy, woodsy flavors in both dishes in a very unique way.
braised pork cheek- parmesean parsnip puree, baby spinach, caramelized onion, charred tomato
Some of the best times of my life have been spent around the Sunday afternoon dinner table at my grandmother's house. A big, beautiful roast that she had allowed to slow cook in the crock pot for about 9 hours was the centerpiece for cheesy jokes told by my uncle, football stories from my cousin, and the pure joy of being with those you love. This pork cheek had the same texture as grandma's. It was tender, full of flavor; comfort food at its finest. The charred tomoatoes and sharpness from the parsnip puree brought just the right amount of brightness to this rich, indulgent plate.
The cocktail brought out the sweet, buttery, caramel notes in the dish.
strawberry shortcake- cornmeal biscuit, cream cheese marshmallow, balsamic caviar
Wow! On so many levels. This cornmeal biscuit was out of this world. And who knew you could make balsamic caviar?! The biscuit was rich & buttery. The cream cheese marshmallows were sweet and tart. And the acidity from the balsamic caviar was absolute perfection. Hands down the best strawberry shortcake I've ever eaten in my life.
The cocktail pairing for the last two courses was a Grapefruit Sour. It was a really well balanced drink that highlighed the fruit in the shortcake while the lemon ginger combo brought out the high notes in the cream cheese.
bread pudding- banana ice cream, brittle, old forrester bacon caramel, meringue
I love bacon. That's no secret. I have had some amazing desserts with bacon in my life. But, I have never experienced bacon done in the subtle way it was done in this bread pudding. Instead of the bacon being front and center, it was used as the fat component in the caramel. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the beauty of this dish since that first bite. This dessert was remainsicent of the Cerdo De Plantano first Food Party PopUp. With the beautiful banana flavor, sweet brittle, incredibly fluffy & decadent bread pudding, and buttery caramel it was the perfect way to close out an amazing evening.
A special thank you to Michelle, the woman who brings all the beauty and elegance to these amazing events. Food Party PopUp is a community driven experience that wouldn't be the same without you!
That last sip of grapefruit cocktail had me asking the question that is on all of our minds.... WHEN IS THE NEXT FOOD PARTY POPUP?