My second experience with Feastly fully delivered on the insider-only-secret-dinner-club sensation I was hoping for. The startup brings eaters and chefs together in literal home kitchens (more or less) to share actual home cooking (also more or less (My first experience was actually at Nopa and was completely undocumented save for one lone instagram photo, so I’ll just have to leave you with the fantasy of of pan-roasted salmon, endless champagne, and seasonal berry tarts to dance in your head.)). Of all the examples coming out of the so-called sharing economy I feel like Feastly is possibly the most wholesome. With the amount of time and energy and the cost of ingredients going in to preparing a meal for feasters, there’s far less of an opportunity to make any kind of a profit (heck, legitimate restaurants barely make a profit) and Feastly seems more geared towards truly building a community through the sharing of food-related experiences on an intimate level. I love the concept and the executions of it I’ve seen so far — and I’m dying to try this out in a new city while traveling. Can you imagine sharing a meal with a local in their own kitchen anywhere around the world? Magic.
But this time I was right in my own home town, joining other bloggers, San Franciscans and fig enthusiasts in a tiny hole-in-the-wall Fidi cafe who leant their kitchen to the chefs organizing the event. The love of figs brought us all together, but it was these three bay area bloggers that kept us there with one succulent, flavorful and creative fig dish after another. Princess Tofu, Nik, and Alanna created the penultimate menu designed around the figs they had harvested themselves from a local farm the week before; earnestly crafting and cooking away, putting on final touches and garnishes, arranging each plate just so, while I and the other feasters gossiped over bubbles. The menu:
A greek method of cooking and preserving unripened baby figs
Shaved Apples and Fennel with Fig and Pomegranate Salad
topped with fresh fig and pink pomegranate arils.
Fig Tagine with Defrosted Grapes
Served with herby couscous.
Lettuce Cups with Lemony Herbs & Cheese Stuffed Figs in Filo
Fig & Pumpkin Samosa “Pot Pie”
Served with Hot Date & Tamarind Sauce, Unripened Fig Chutney.
Olive Oil Ice Cream with Fig Syrup Swirl
Served with crispy fig chips and toasted pistachios.
Double Chocolate Figs
Fresh figs stuffed with brandy ganache, then, dipped in chocolate.
Fig Leaf and Vanilla Bean Soda
Everything was to die for, although if I had to choose favorites the pot pie and the tagine might have made me the happiest. In the end, I couldn’t actually eat that many fig dishes in one go. By the 7th course I was stuffed to burst and had to excuse myself with just a nibble for the final two desserts.
I get a lot of requests about my photo process, so I thought I’d start sharing a few tidbits in each post. When it comes to photographing a location or scene, you’re essentially solving a problem, and the first step in solving any problem is identifying what that problem is. I knew this event was going to be indoors, at night, so I brought my wide-angle lens to capture as much of the location as possible, and opened my aperture up to the widest setting of 2.8 to let in as much light as possible. To be honest, I tend to have my f-stop here in most cases. That’s how I was taught, and I like the blurry, dreamy quality letting the most light in creates. With a lens this wide there was quite a bit of distortion, but fortunately the new Lightroom has some really amazing capabilities to correct and tweak distortion. I shot this on the original 5D, a full frame camera body I snagged on Craigslist for an incredible deal (PRO TIP: Buy camera bodies and lenses separately — don’t waste your money on kit lenses). My “baby” camera – a rebel T3i – would have normally been great to take to what was more of a social event than an assignment due to its lightweight, easy to carry nature, but since I was basically shooting in the dark I wanted a more sensitive sensor (Pro Tip: Any recent rebel body is more or less pretty interchangeable — I have the T3i rather than another rebel body only again because I got a good deal on it).
Has anyone else tried Feastly? Photographing in the dark? Cooking with figs? Tell me all about it — I LOVE reading your comments! And if you’re interested in themed dinners with the fabulous chefs mentioned here, keep an eye on their Feastly page. Thanks so much for reading, and until next time stay in touch over at pinterest, twitter, instagram, or facebook.