Sacramento's Hidden Kitchen provides a different kind of dining event for small groups of people who love good food and good conversation. The hosts are Dennis and Mary Kercher, and about once a month they open up their home for people who delight in being surprised by whatever gourmet treats Dennis has planned to cook for them. Last Saturday night, along with several other Sacramento area food bloggers, wine experts, publishers and just regular folks. were treated to a well paced delivery if the following gourmet courses:
Seared Ahi Sliders
Sweet Potato Frites
(all pictured above)
Gorgonzola Grape Galette with a salad of Watercress and Arugula
Gnocchi Verde with Garden Fresh pesto Genovese
Rosemary Rack of Lamb
Ratatouille a la Grille
Hidden Kitchen Corn Cakes
Grappa Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Grape Gelee
(not pictured due to my crummy photography)
All ingredients were fresh and seasonal, often coming from the plants growing in the chef's own back yard, where we dined along a table set with glowing candles and smiling faces. I was impressed that the amount of food in each course was just about right; I was able to enjoy every bite and still have room for whatever came next (though just barely!) The various textures and flavors were vivid, and it's hard to choose my favorite, but if pressed I would have to choose the rosemary rack of lamb. It was tender and delicious.
Dinner guests included some of my favorite food blogger friends such as Elise, Garrett and Fernanda Rosa (check out her blog for great pictures, even if you can't read Portugese!) And although several of us brought a bottle of wine to share, we were also treated to a taste from bottles brought by Raul, a private chef who also works for the Vintner's Collective in Napa, and Ashley Teplin of Studio 707. The publisher of Edible Sacramento was there as well as food reviewers from other publications who were in stealth mode, and whose "covers" will not be blown here!
Part of the charm of a Hidden Kitchen dinner party is the knowledge that it is part of an underground movement of alternative fine dining experiences that offer something unique and different from a more traditional restaurant. The menu is chosen by the chef, and the focus is on the food and conversation rather than a wide variety of menu options or the decor of the room. The setting is intimate and very personal. I highly recommend it for the adventurous diner who enjoys being surprised and delighted.
NOTE: Special thanks to Elise for sending me Photoshop enhanced versions (brighter and cropped) of my pictures! What a pal.