Eat Your Heart Out!
With Valentine's/Galentine's day right around the corner, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than spending the evening out on the town with some of my favorite gals and chefs at the Mockingbird Pop- Up: Eat Your Heart Out. This cupid-inspired pop-up supper was truly a celebration of love and friendship. I know what you must be thinking: " When the heck is this restaurant going to open? Hasn't she been talking about this place for a while now?" Yes, I have been gushing over this place for quite some time. There have been a few snafus here and there, but what project doesn't run into that! The Mockingbird is tentatively scheduled for April, such a perfect time to hear this lovely bird sing! After you see what Chef Brian Riggenbach prepared for us, you will be marking the days off your calendar!
Welcoming us that evening was the Cat's Out of the Bag. IN LOVE. This was my first time having Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka. Have y'all had it? Cathead makes three different types of vodka: Original, Honeysuckle and Pecan. This vodka is one that I can sip straight- it stands on its own two feet. Can we say perfect pool cocktail? WOWSA! A combination of Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, Lemon and Rose Cubes, this drink was the perfect in every way.
While sipping our punching bag, these A-maiz-ing bites were passed. Barbacoa was placed atop a herbed corn cake and topped with Xni Pec. Delish! The barbacoa melted in your mouth and the Xni Pec provided the perfect little spicy/sour finish. Like Lay's potato chips, no one had just one!
Once the visiting concluded and everyone took their seat, we were welcomed by Mikey, Brian and their #fangirlnumber1, Maneet Chauhan. I'm going to bet that you all have heard of her and if not- where the heck have you been?? It was such a great start to the evening.
After that heartwarming welcome, our salad-ish course was served, Heart Skips a Beet. Before I get into the particulars of this dish, can we talk about scotch eggs? I had my very first one while visiting Chicago and was completely speechless. Two of my favorite breakfast foods in one dish? Um, yes, please! That evening, my heart literally skipped a beat. Served with an Indian flare, this Kerala Beef Scotch Egg was accompanied by hearts of palm, beet-curry puree and mixed greens. And to top it off? Some Tennessee Chow Chow. So glad to see these Chicagoans embracing their new southern home. :)
Keeping with the Indian undertones of the evening, our next dish was one that warmed our soul: Tender Loving Carotene. Accompanied by the Mockingbird bread service, Chef Riggenbach created this amazing carrot star anise soup with heirloom carrots, pistachio crouton, and coriander labneh. I can safely say, carrots will never be the same to me after this dish.
If the dinner had concluded after this dish, I would have been completely satisfied. The cocktails, courses, and company were all an A+ and to be honest, I wasn't quite sure where the remaining two courses were going to go... I did bring a handbag, but ??
Refilling my Rose, Chef came and "knocked on my door" and delivered our main course: Three's Company. No, Jack and the gang didn't join him, but what a dish. Pancetta-Sirloin-Chorizo meatloaf smothered with adobo gravy and served on top of a slice fo Charpier's Pullman's Loaf. This was unlike any meatloaf I had previously, it was not drowned in ketchup and there SO much flavor and spice. I had no idea it could be this tasty! Quite the creative take on a common American dish.
In an effort to save room for dessert, I opted to ditch the bread and savor each bite of the loaf. To be honest, the bread was a bit of distraction and this allowed me to focus on each flavorful bite.
Wrapping up this little soiree was Wild Flantasy, a chocolate cake magically layered with flan, served with orange and a milk punch reduction. Truly magic in the making, or perhaps science. If they would have only related my science classes in school to food, I would have paid much CLOSER attention (teachers- take note!)
Celebrating best friends to better halves, Eat Your Heart out was a pop-up to remember. Brian and Mikey are creating a story that will inspire all of us.
Want to find out the deets on when the Mockingbird will open or see some amazing food porn pics? You can find them on Instagram here and their website here. This bird will be landing soon! Until next time, Bon Appetit!