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GUERRILLA GOURMET/Culinary Speakeasies


eje
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Four diners gave up their reservations at the venerable Chez Panisse on a recent Monday night to sit on the floor in a dimly lit house in Rockridge and bump knees with strangers. A cook from Chez Panisse was there, as was the executive chef of San Francisco's Mecca.

They were at Ghetto Gourmet -- one of the hottest restaurants in the Bay Area that you have never heard of. And that's by design.

Guerilla Gourmet

"Culinary Speakeasies" is the term the article uses for these events, where individuals throw dinner parties and charge their guests to attend.

I enjoy giving a dinner party every so often; but, can't imagine doing it in my home for 30 strangers on a regular basis.

edited because I forgot to add article link. duh.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I just heard of this today. The most famous chef in town does this, he has converted his garage into a kitchen and dining room, where he serves away at 100 a head. Robert Sinclair of the sooke harbour house supposedly does this for friends etc... only by invite sort of deal!

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Given the unending stream of friends and family that I have flowing into my house around mealtime, I should start charging... but then I couldn't call them "freeloaders" anymore and I'd miss breaking their balls about it.

Edited by lesfen (log)
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A recent San Francisco Chronicle article spoke about the underground "restaurant" phenomena. It also appears to extend beyond the bay area.

My questions:

1) Have you been? How was it?

2) Where else is this phenomena happening?

3) How do you get on the list?

Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

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A recent San Francisco Chronicle article spoke about the underground "restaurant" phenomena.  It also appears to extend beyond the bay area.

My questions:

1) Have you been? How was it?

2) Where else is this phenomena happening?

3) How do you get on the list?

Would you believe just yesterday my son emailed me the same article and wants us to open our own Speakeasy?

So my questions would be:

*Wonder what would be popular dishes?

*Where do we park the cars?

PS: One possible answer to your #3 is be friends with the Speakeasy-runner or one of his/her good friends.

A

"I'm not looking at the panties, I'm looking at the vegetables!" --RJZ
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A recent San Francisco Chronicle article spoke about the underground "restaurant" phenomena.  It also appears to extend beyond the bay area.

My questions:

1) Have you been? How was it?

2) Where else is this phenomena happening?

3) How do you get on the list?

Would you believe just yesterday my son emailed me the same article and wants us to open our own Speakeasy?

So my questions would be:

*Wonder what would be popular dishes?

*Where do we park the cars?

PS: One possible answer to your #3 is be friends with the Speakeasy-runner or one of his/her good friends.

A

I think I should do this -- smack in the middle of suburbia :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Maybe you could only do parties of 8-10, and have a car service drive the people. One of those enormous stretch Hummers with a hot tub.

I am irritated in advance, though, about the number of people who will demand vegan, kosher, or Atkins/Zone meals when they get there.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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When I was in high school here in Ottawa, in 1986 a group of my classmates went to a place in Chinatown that got around the whole restaurant licensing thing by giving tea leaf readings.........supposedly you were paying for the fortune telling, they just happened to feed you lunch while you were there. I thought fortune telling was silly and didn't go with them. How stupid was that!

If only I'd worn looser pants....

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A recent San Francisco Chronicle article spoke about the underground "restaurant" phenomena.  It also appears to extend beyond the bay area.

My questions:

1) Have you been? How was it?

2) Where else is this phenomena happening?

3) How do you get on the list?

Would you believe just yesterday my son emailed me the same article and wants us to open our own Speakeasy?

So my questions would be:

*Wonder what would be popular dishes?

*Where do we park the cars?

PS: One possible answer to your #3 is be friends with the Speakeasy-runner or one of his/her good friends.

A

I think I should do this -- smack in the middle of suburbia :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Maybe you could only do parties of 8-10, and have a car service drive the people. One of those enormous stretch Hummers with a hot tub.

I am irritated in advance, though, about the number of people who will demand vegan, kosher, or Atkins/Zone meals when they get there.

Hey! The car service is a great idea. Everyone can meet at a Park and Ride and get picked up there. :raz:

Don't be irritated--just don't invite people like that. You have the luxury of being selective, according to the story.

"I'm not looking at the panties, I'm looking at the vegetables!" --RJZ
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Hey!  The car service is a great idea.  Everyone can meet at a Park and Ride and get picked up there.  :raz:

Don't be irritated--just don't invite people like that.  You have the luxury of being selective, according to the story.

:laugh::laugh: Wonder what the liability/insurance would be, if the corporate shield could be pierced even with an LLC or SubS, because it's happening in someone's house (too damned many lawyers in this town! And yes, I love 'em all ...)

As for the special meal thing .. I've been surprised before, in similar settings.

I'm going to have a beeeyoooteeful new kitchen by the end of the year and I think Mr. FB and I should do this. I am picking out my outfit/shoes right now.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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RE: Doing it yourself

I think this section of the article is the most informative. Whatever you do, don't piss off your neighbors.

And while health departments say they'll typically go looking for an underground restaurant only if there are complaints, it is possible to get caught.

Such is the cautionary tale of Digs Bistro...Following a neighborhood dispute unrelated to Digs, Kupers, 30, received a notice in October from the city of Oakland to shut down his "illegal cabaret" -- complete with a $3,000 fine. He doesn't believe it was a coincidence.

While Kupers, who, ironically, works as an inspector for the city, had taken preventative steps in case he got caught -- getting a business license, increasing his insurance, billing the dinners as "art shows" with free food -- he decided not to fight it and was able to have the fine reduced to $300.

edited to make quote shorter

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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i did things like this in college--about 5 events in 2 years. i lived in a house of a size not conducive to large parties, so good food + good booze +forcing people to dress up and be social was a great shtik. not enough to attract attention, of course, but they're a lot of fun for all, if you do your homework and manage food cost appropriately.

"The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom."

---John Stewart

my blog

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