edible tidbits

Join the (Dinner) Club

By Edible South Florida / Photography By David Rosendorf & Joanna Popper | January 01, 2015
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Canapes from tea from chef Antonio Bachour
Tea from chef Antonio Bachour

#trendalert South Florida supper clubs – hush-hush or cheerfully aboveground – bring together like-minded folks for food and drink, and give chefs and restaurants and opportunity to show off their stuff. Some tout major gastronomy, while others are first and foremost social gatherings. Prices range from $40 to upwards of $150 per person, depending on food and drink. Here are some of the most enduring models in town:

COBAYA (Spanish for guinea pig)

Founded in 2009 by Steve Berry, David Rosendorf and Steve Scharf, has hosted, so far, 45 dinners for people who want to eat adventurously and for chefs who want to stretch creatively. Cobaya announces the date and price (but not the chef or venue) and uses a lottery to manage seat requests. “So far we’ve seen everything from truffles in seven courses to goat liver, to beef tendon crackling like Rice Krispies, to whole roasted lamb’s heads – and that’s just in the past year,” says Rosendorf. Memorable experiments include Cobaya Gras in Feb. 2010, in pastry chef Jenny Rissone’s backyard, where Kurtis Jantz and Chad Galiano cooked up N’awlins food, drink and music; and Cobaya for a Cause at The Dutch, which raised more than $15,000 for NYC Food Flood in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Their already sold-out event at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival includes Andrew Zimmern, Chris Cosentino, Michael Schwartz and Makoto Okuwa. cobayamiami.com

Cobaya Gras 2010
Algonquin Club party
Photo 1: Cobaya Gras 2010
Photo 2: Algonquin Club party people: From top left, Joanna Popper, Denise Sandkamp, Rick Chivezer, Katherine Wald, Bryan Palmer, Stacy Sagel, Analia Furrer

CONSCIOUS BITE OUT

At CONSCIOUS BITE OUT, most meals are vegetarian, with the occasional exception of freshly caught local fish or seafood, but the monthly meals are far from a granola event, says co-founder Veronica Menin. “We have a chic ambiance with a communal table decorated with flowers and candles and great music.” They recently collaborated with Oolite chef Kris Wessel to launch his vegan dishes. consciousbiteout.com

THE ALGONQUIN DINNER CLUB

Entering its ninth year, THE ALGONQUIN DINNER CLUB invites young professionals to a fixed-price three-course dinner every Monday night so they can dine, drink and mingle. There are a whopping 2,000 people on their invitation list, says Joanna Popper, and anywhere from 25 to 60 people typically show up for an event, chosen by volunteer hosts. Popper says recent memorable meals include those at Dolce Italian at the Gale and Michael Mina 74. Find them on Facebook and Google Groups.

A far more intimate gathering, limited to 14 in an open kitchen, is the monthly GABLES SUPPER CLUB at Aragon 101, where guests sign up for a 10-course meal by chef Aaron Dreilinger with wine pairings. Says Erica Guzman of Aragon 101: “We wanted to create a special experience where guests could enjoy decadent bites not commonly found on restaurant menus.” aragon101.com

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