Soon Spoon Pop-Up Dinner

soon spoon dessertFive years ago, if you asked me what a pop-up was, I might think you’re referring to some sort of soda or a jack-in-the-box toy. But now, after years of watching Top Chef, reading Eater, and eventually attending a few pop-up dinners myself, I can fully appreciate the appeal and understand the meaning of a pop-up: it’s a temporary restaurant, typically open for only a day or a few days. Most pop-ups are small, and are only for people who purchase a ticket beforehand. Pop-ups are also sometimes referred to as supper clubs (although it’s different from the Supper Club I belong to, which is just me and my girlfriends getting together for dinner every month). Because pop-ups are not always widely advertised – and the fact that they’re temporary – there’s always a sense of exclusivity in each event. There’s a good article on Boston Magazine exploring this underground dining concept.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a pop-up dinner hosted by Soon Spoon, a newly-launched start-up that “aggregates last minute reservations for Boston’s most booked restaurants.” What that means is that you can snag a hard-to-get table without having to make the reservation weeks in advance (Soon Spoon partners with some of the best restaurants in Boston like Menton, L’Espalier, Bergamot). It’s a free service and if you dine out often enough and make the reservations through Soon Spoon, they have a point system which can earn you a seat at one of the monthly pop-up dinners (10-time diners also get a unique seasonal reward).

I really like the concept of being able to get last-minute reservations at good restaurants – it promotes spontaneous dining, which Soon Spoon co-founders Travis Lowry and Conor Clary say is actually the goal. I also really liked the pop-up! The location was a private residence in the South End, and it felt like a really fancy dinner party. (I say “really fancy” because my own dinner parties sometimes consist of making my guests sit on the floor and serving them dessert first…)

soon spoon phade labs menu

I was able to dine with several other bloggers and digital media personalities and enjoy a six-course meal prepared by the guys at PHaDe Food Labs, plus wine pairings prepared by Jonathan Fenelon of Clio Restaurant.

Below are pictures of the food we ate that night. Christopher Borges and Jose Ordovas from PHaDe Food Labs use a lot of modern ways of cooking and presentation – the plated food is filled with color, texture, and lots of different flavors. After the first course, I stopped taking pictures of the wine because they sorta all look alike (but really because I drank them all too quickly), but the wine pairings were pretty spectacular.

cod crostini sardine with strawberry
smoked salmon crostini rose wine

First course: baccala (cod) pate with tangerine; house cured sardine with strawberry; smoked salmon with creme fraiche and limed jalapeno (wine pairing: rose, Domaine Guillot-Broux)

fava bean pureeBonus course: pureed fava beans with pickled ramps

arugula saladSecond course: arugula with beets, goat cheese, and pecans (wine pairing: 2012 zierfandler, Spaetrot “Klassic”)

scallop agnolottiThird course: bay scallop agnolotti with uni and brown butter (wine pairing: 2011 carricante, Terre Nere “Etna Bianco”)

lamb ragu pastaFourth course: maccheroni alla chitarra with lamb raug, egg yolk, and cacao nibs (wine pairing: 2011 barbera, Cordani “La Magia” – my favorite wine that evening!)

sous vide steakFifth course: beef tenderloin with coffee, asparagus, blue cheese, and garlic (wine pairing: 2010 merlot, Calluna “Cuvee CVC”)

banana creme bruleeSixth course: caramelized banana, miso chocolate, and ‘shroombread (wine pairing: gamay, Patrick Bottex “La Cuielle”)

soon spoon chocolatesAt the end of the night, we went home with little boxes of chocolate. And you guys know me, if we end the night with dessert and you give me some candy, you have my heart. Thank you, Soon Spoon, for the lovely dinner!

If you’re in Boston, check out Soon Spoon for last-minute reservations with benefits.

On another note, my friend Alaina (The Jogging Concierge) is trying to raise money for the Run to Home Base race. To make her fundraiser a little sweeter, she is hosting a bake sale and will send some delicious home-baked goodies to anyone who donates $10 to her race. You can get either a dozen cookies (I have my eye on her Cranberry Coconut Cookies), a dozen brownies, a dozen muffins, a loaf of bread, or any other baked good of your choice. You can email Alaina at joggingconcierge(at)gmail(dot)com if you have any questions or if you would like to place an order.


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