I meant to post this sooner, but alas time has not been on my side. Last weekend Dol and I went to Eat Boston‘s most recent pop-up restaurant at Bloc 11 in Somerville. We went on Sunday, which was vegetarian night. What is normally a coffee shop and cafe, Bloc 11 had been reorganized to portray a full-fledged dining room. The espresso bar served as the line where Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar along with his slew of sous chefs were rapidly plating dishes anywhere they could.
To my delightful surprise, Bear Flag Wine was a sponsor (i.e. lots of free wine yayyy!) The very fun and lively staff from Bear Flag was passing out generous samples of vino all night long including two reds and two whites which paired perfectly with our dinner. Not only was the wine delicious (and apparently kind of cheap, bottles retail for $8) but the bottles were also awesome, covered in funky drawings and cool watercolor shades by artist Eduardo Bertone.
There were also lots of hor d’oeuvres being passed around, including my favorite below, with pickled mushrooms served over toast and chickpea hummus. So yummy! and kinda cute.
Eventually we were asked to take our seats, at which point we sat with a very random and lovely couple who we got to know throughout the evening. I loved that it was just the two of us because it forced us to sit with people we didn’t know which is almost always interesting and fun. After all our wine glasses were refilled, the first course arrived…
The fried feta was so good! The sunchoke rosti and eggplant also delicious. Although I’m not normally a fan of black olives, they paired nicely with the other Mediterranean ingredients. I’m not sure if I was a fan of the fact that it was cold, but it still stood out as a delicious dish. Then came the second course…
This dish tasted like Thanksgiving. I’m not even entirely sure what that means, but that’s what it tasted like. I guess because it was sort of like candied yams, except better. And the fried sage, genius! The crunchiness and saltiness was a perfect juxtaposition to the rest of the dish.
The most creative course of the evening was definitely the third, the parsnip and potato “latte” which, sure enough, came out looking exactly like a latte. A creamy soup, with a foamy top, it was flavorful and hot; perfect timing considering I was starting to get cold from the nearby window. Even the hint of chocolate blended in with the rest of the dish very well while adding a subtle element of surprise and sticking with the “coffee shop” theme. However; my favorite dish was by far the fourth…
First off, look at those beans! Those massive beans! This dish was phenomenal. I honestly would have eaten an entire bowl for my meal and would have been happy. So warm and hearty. The smoked mushrooms were in fact smoked. It gave the entire dish a barbecue smoked flavor – not burnt, just smokey. Ugh I loved it. The beans gave a nice dimension to the dish – by varying in size it made it seem like it was more than just a bean stew. Gilson definitely did a good job of interpreting a typical cassoulet without actually using meat, and I was way impressed.
Dessert fell a little low on the wow-factor scale for me, but it was still pretty good. The Vanilla bean cake was pretty dry and the pot de creme was nothing special but I liked the idea behind the dish and didn’t mind the fact that it was itty-bitty considering everything else I’d just consumed.
After experiencing my first pop-up I can see how difficult it is to pull off and I must say I think Eat Boston did a fantastic job. Everything that goes into organizing it, plus keeping the integrity of the menu with limited appliances and space at the dining location, is a tough job to accomplish. From the time we arrived through the end of the meal, the entire evening was well curated and truly a great experience. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Eat Boston and the future of foodie events in this city!