Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dinner in the Wolvesden

Upon arriving at the secret location, I followed my instructions and telephoned the number I had received only several hours earlier, alerting "them" of my and J's arrival. Several minutes later, under the cover of night, we were whisked inside, and the evening began.

No, J and I are not secret agents by night; we were attending one of Chef Craig Thornton's "Wolvesmouth" dinners. Several times a month, 8-12 eager diners gather at a private, undisclosed location to participate in Craig's underground dining experience-- a three to four hour-long culinary journey spanning twelve or more dishes. Although one might expect a hefty price tag with such an exclusive evening, Craig asks that you decide what to pay. The former personal chef and veteran of Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas has no sous chef or waitstaff (with the exception of the unpaid help of a few friends) and, for that matter, no desire to get rich off his dinners; he seeks only to do what he loves--engage with a love for food (both his and ours).

Wolvesmouth Dinner

Craig prepares the first course over the watchful (and photo-happy) eye of a hungry audience.

Wolvesmouth Dinner

Wolvesmouth Dinner

Sweetbread, Potato, Leek, Chive

Sweetbread with potato, leek and chive

Skate, Brown Butter, Carrot, Sage

Skate with brown butter, carrots, leek and sage

Beer, Valdeon, Pineapple

Beet with valdeon cheese and pineapple

Crab Two Ways, Cauliflower, Frozen Grapes, Tarragon

Dungeness crab two ways with cauliflower, frozen grapes and tarragon

Char, Butternut Squash Puree, Maple Rye Fritter

Char with butternut squash puree and a maple rye fritter

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes with bacon pound cake and basil

Rabbit and Huitlacoche with Tortilla Puree and Poblano Chile

Rabbit and huitlacoche with tortilla puree and poblano chile

Duck with Skin

Duck with crispy duck skin

Boar, Parmesan Polenta, Orange Sauce

Boar with parmesan polenta and orange jus

Short Rib, Black Truffle and Coffee Meringue, Chanterelle Jus and Bone Marrow Stuffed Prune

Short rib with black truffle and coffee meringue, chanterelle jus and bone marrow-stuffed prune

Foie Gras Shortbread, Praline Vacherin, Bitter Caramel Pear, Earl Grey Panna Cotta

Foie gras shortbread, praline vacherin, bitter caramel pear and Early Grey panna cotta

Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream with Glazed Apples, Peanut Butter Powder

Caramel popcorn ice cream with glazed apples and peanut butter powder

Highlights of the night included an impressive butternut squash puree and delightfully simple maple rye fritter, my first encounter with huitlacoche and boar, an inventive spin on Peking duck and a naturally flavored caramel popcorn ice cream that I could eat by the gallon.

Guests are encouraged to bring something to drink to share with the dining party-- a message our Wolvesden group took to heart. We sampled some delightful beers and wines throughout the night including a spicy pumpkin ale, a beer from Ferran Adria and an Israeli white wine.

Leftover bottles @ Wolvesmouth Dinner
Our beer and wine bottle graveyard

For more information on how to get on the list for these underground dinners, click here and, as the page says, "Come curious. Leave sated."


  1. @Weezermonkey: Yep! So many courses!

    @TheMinty: I wish we had gone on the same night!

    @Nelehelen: :)