y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Underground Supper Club: Dinner at Eight

Underground Supper Club: Dinner at Eight

Underground Supper Clubs definitely appeal to me. My friend Abby from Pleasure Palate blog and dining group recently organized a private event at Dinner at Eight.

This group, created by food blogger Elliott Shaffner from F for Food, highlights some great collaboration by some talented and efficient women. The rest of team includes Kathy Emerson Maggie Stebar.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_d table after meal

Their promise is for their 4-course, once-a-month dinner under the stars for 12 guests in the Hollywood hills. The seasonal ingredients come straight from the local farmers' markets and the garden.Meats are sourced from Lindy & Grundy and wine pairings are by Jill at Domaine LA.

The cost of the meal is all-inclusive from cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, the 4-course meal, coffee and even gratuity. It's always relaxing to pay in advance and not think about the bill on the night of the event.

This combination would make any foodie purr with joy, but the setting really adds to the stylish experience, especially if like me, you've fantasized about living in the Hollywood hills.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a patio lights

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a outdoor fireplace

Guests arrive for cocktail hour out on the terrace. Back on Saturday, January 28, when I attended this event, I had come straight from a funeral, stuck in traffic for a very long time, and thought I'd find it hard to switch gears.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a cocktail hour Maggie a

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a cocktail hour Leopold's gin

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a cocktail hour pickles

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a cocktail hour Maggie b

Dinner at Eight Jan12_a cocktail hour gin martini with garlic and dill pickled okra
That anxiety disappeared quickly as I took in the clear night air, herb garden fragrances, firelight and relaxing ambiance.

Cocktail hour consisted of Maggie Stebar's classic martinis with garlic and dill pickled okra, along with garlic-rubbed crostini. She laid out the bottle of small-batch Leopold's gin as well as jars of her wonderfully tart, crispy okra pickles.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b kitchen apron

While she expertly mixed my drink, she mentioned her Maggie Mae Apron Co where she sews vintage-inspired aprons. As we migrated to the dining room after cocktail hour, I noticed one of her charming creations on display.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b kitchen pots board

The kitchen was indeed on the small, cozy side, so I knew they worked efficiently to serve 2 tables of diners. The chalkboard cabinet contained a shopping list of some of the meal's ingredients.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b table wine blood orange soda

The drinks are byob, but water, a refreshing blood orange soda and later, coffee, was provided.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b dining room mantle
Dinner at Eight Jan12_b dining room fireplace detail
Dinner at Eight Jan12_b dining room art

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b dining room lamp

The charming indoor/outdoor fireplaces with candlelit mantel, as well as the artwork throughout the house made for a cozy setting. I enjoyed the Spanish/50's/Shabby Chic fusion going on in the house.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b table setting b

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b table pickle jar

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b table setting salt and pepper

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b table setting a

The table setting, complete with more pickle jars to take home as a souvenir, maintained that stylish, feminine touch. I always enjoy when the table contains salt and pepper because I tend to like more spice and seasoning than most.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b table butter dish

We all loved the butter crock that contains chilled water which keeps the butter fresh, cool and soft for hours. Paired with the fresh bread with roasted garlic cloves baked in, it spelled out comfort.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_c 1st course garlic bread and soup

Most of their dinners have themes (you can see previous themes on their blog). In this case Abby worked out a garlic themed menu with them.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_c 1st course creamy green garlic and potato soup black garlic chips bacon

1st Course
Creamy green garlic & potato soup with black garlic chips & bacon

I loved that they used the green garlic and the black garlic chips in this course. A fairly mild and creamy start to the meal that made a strong impression. The glass serving dishes, which varied across the table popped.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_c 2nd course salad arugula strawberries black walnuts Mimolette extra vielle roasted heirloom red garlic vinaigrette

2nd Course
Salad of arugula, strawberries, black walnuts & Mimolette Extra Vieille with roasted heirloom red garlic vinaigrette

This most unusual salad also popped with color and flavor. The peppery arugula against the sweet strawberries, walnuts and the bright orange aged cheese blended well.

Again, I loved the use of red garlic in the dressing.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b dining table guests

In an underground setting I did not expect restaurant quality service in any way, but the ladies were so attentive with filling glasses and checking whether we needed anything.

I even found my napkin refolded when I left the table for a moment.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b host b

Dinner at Eight Jan12_c 3rd course Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic charred broccolini anchovies garlic confit roasted domino potatoes bay leaves rosemary garlic

3rd Course 
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

This abundant plate held three pieces of 40-clove chicken from Lindy & Grundy, charred broccolini, anchovies, garlic confit and a beautiful presentation of roasted domino potatoes with roasted garlic slivers, rosemary and bay leaves.

I loved both of the sides and wanted to like the chicken more. However the skin did not crisp up as much as I'd have liked and the sauce tasted fairly mild and creamy for "40 cloves'.

It also arrived lukewarm and unfortunately both the potatoes and the chicken could have used a bit more cooking time to soften it up.

However, nobody could say they left hungry, nor was there any lack of "love" in the preparation. Their genuine efforts shone through.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_c 4th course honey garlic mousse with pinenut garlic brittle

4th Course 
Honey-Garlic Mousse with Pinenut Garlic Brittle
Served with Chicory Coffee

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b host c Esi and Nastassia

Special guests Esi Imprain and Nastassia Johnson prepared our final course, this bold and textured dessert.

We all loved and devoured it. It hit all the right notes and the garlic made itself known without killing the dessert vibe.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_c chicory coffee and dessert

They hit a home run. In fact, the ladies graciously brought out a couple more plates of the brittle for us to enjoy.

The chicory coffee also tasted heavenly, and once again, I loved the colored glassware. One of my dining companions offered me his cup as a trade because I enjoyed the color so much.

Dinner at Eight Jan12_b kitchen pots stove
Dinner at Eight Jan12_b host a

The wonderful evening and meal ended with a quick trip back outside for some parting photos and we all said our goodbyes.

I am still in awe of their artistic touches and being able to create a sensuous and dreamy environment while serving a hearty yet gourmet meal. Every touch was thought out and executed to perfection.

Find details on their upcoming events on their blog.

2 Responses to “Underground Supper Club: Dinner at Eight”:

  1. Steve says:

    Something I'd love to seek out on my next visit to LA. I did eat at an underground restaurant in someone's living room in Havana once but that's where all the authentic Cuban food comes from.

  2. Hello Steve, these underground experiences are definitely fun. I have various posts about them including a burger, molecular gastronomy, Cal-Indian food, Peruvian food and more.

    I hope to try some of the London underground events one day, as there are quite a few.

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