"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." ~James Beard

Growing up, my dad was in the USAF and was gone on TDY (temporary duty) a lot. Whether he was in the Phillipines, Korea, or even Arkansas he always brought me back a souvenir. I received everything from a mini bouzouki from Greece to an Oklahoma Sooners sweatshirt during his time traveling, but one of my favorite gifts he brought back had nothing to do with the destination. Upon return from one of his trips, he brought me back the first book in a girl detective series called, "Trixie Belden." The series was founded in 1948 and centers around the title character, Trixie Belden, and the secret club she belongs to called the Bob-Whites of the Glen. In true Scooby Doo-esque fashion, the Bob-Whites stumble upon various mysteries and solve them effortlessly just in time for dinner. Anyhow, I think it was this series that fostered my love of "secrets." Now that I'm an adult, I revel in planning surprise parties and vacations and I surround myself in the company of secret bakers, underground butchers and now...clandestine dinner clubs. True, the secrecy and hush-hush of it all is fun but ultimately it comes down to good food and the one I attended this Sunday, simply known as Tree House, delivered. Invitations are issued via email and the location of the dinner is disclosed the night before. Diners make a "donation" to cover the cost of the ingredients, labor and this case a 7-course dinner of local fare complete with wine pairings. The renegade chef turned out to be a friendly young fellow clad in a black chef's jacket and cargo shorts, a local boy who's worked his way up in some of the area's top restaurants. Despite his boyish looks and impish smile, Kevin O'Connor definitely knows his way around the kitchen and made no qualms about showing off his culinary chops. There was no silly themes or gimmicks, the night was all about showcasing the food. Every course that came out from behind the swinging kitchen door was impeccable-- both aesthetically and in flavor. The chef, himself, came out and provided brief descriptions of the locally-sourced dishes and the accompanying wines, preceding each course and never once did anything feel rushed. In fact, the dinner from start to finish ran about six leisurely hours...allowing me plenty of time to get to know the other dinner guests at the communal table. I think all eight guests would agree that the dinner was unpretentious and we all ate exceptionally well. After the last course, both guests and staff intermingled on the porch and closed out the night with some scotch. A few of us guests even joined the chef in the kitchen and got a "behind-the-scenes" glimpse while the chef shared a few funny stories of the night's mishaps. It was a nice evening of connecting over food...if you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend attending a Tree House event. It's a welcome addition to the burgeoning food scene in Sacramento.

The amuse bouche was a play on Eggs Benedict. Toasted bread crumbs and crispy prosciutto joined by a fried quail egg with a bit of hollondaise.

A crisp salad of snow peas, snap peas, english peas, and micro sorrel served with a pickled ramp aioli and a spring onion top oil on the plate.

Sturgeon tartare consisting of smoked Passmore Ranch sturgeon, radish, herbs and some sour cream and onion bubbles.

Beef heart carpaccio, olive oil, Himalayan salt, seared beech and king oyster mushrooms, fried chicken liver, and a parsley/celery leaf salad.

Pig trotter/bacon lardon terrine accompanied by white beans in a bbq gastrique, sous-vide maple nantes carrot, and pork fat.

A triple creme d'Affinois cheese from France, paired with coriander poached cherries and German walnut bread

Revolution Wines...the Malbec in particular was delicious. Craig Haarmeyer, one of the winemakers, even stopped by to give us an impromptu talk about the various wines we were partaking in.

Dessert was macerated strawberries and blackberries with oat and walnut crumbles and Douglas Fir cream.

Mignardise was fresh chocolate chip cookies, a glass of colostrum and some Temple coffee.

1 Response
  1. Annalynn Says:

    Sounds fun! I want. :)

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