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Perfect Blend - Chef Dave Gebhardt's charity popup dinners

Perfect Blend - Chef Dave Gebhardt's charity popup dinners
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  • Perfect Blend - Chef Dave Gebhardt's charity popup dinners

    Post #1 - February 24th, 2016, 2:11 pm
    Post #1 - February 24th, 2016, 2:11 pm Post #1 - February 24th, 2016, 2:11 pm
    These monthly “Perfect Blend” underground dinners are hosted by Rogue Philanthropy, a nonprofit created to raise funds for cash-strapped charitable organizations through “philanthropub” events and cocktail parties.

    For full transparency, I'll let you know I was invited by fellow LTHer gastrognome, who is friends with some of the organizers, with hopes that I would document the dinner for LTH. I was more than happy to oblige, especially after I tasted the food.

    The dinners take place in Rogue Philanthropy’s open kitchen loft space tucked away in an industrial corner of Humboldt Park. Overall I thought this was a great event with excellent food and company, and I look forward to attending as many of these as I can in the future. Before getting down to the details of the meal, a bit about the organization:

    Rogue Philanthopy’s model was inspired when executive chef Dave Gebhardt observed that that during an economic downturn charitable donations and state funding go down, but spending on alcohol goes up. The kitchen and staff all volunteer their talent, and 100% of the proceeds beyond the food costs go to support the cause. Currently, Rogue Philanthropy benefits The Arts of Life, an organization that provides arts and music programming for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Artwork from Arts of Life participants was on display during the dinner.

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    Each month’s dinner is centered around a theme. The one I attended was “Moderno” - a “modern Italian progression” - with an accompanying DJ’d playlist (printed on the menu, for your convenience) to set the mood.

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    Amuse and Cocktail hour.

    There was an open bar during the “cocktail hour” - your choice of champagne, cans of craft beers, or one of the expertly mixed (and strong) cocktails. No complaints here!

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    The amuse (Grape Salad / White Anchovies) was served as a passed hors d'oeuvre during the cocktail hour and reception. To be totally honest, I didn’t love this one, but luckily this was the only one that fell (mildly) flat to me. It wasn’t bad, just didn’t necessarily come together for me. The sweet/tart of the grape salsa came off somewhat like a pickle relish. I’ll gladly chalk this one up as just so-so because (spoiler alert) the rest of the meal was excellent!

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    After we were all seated we got a brief introduction about the Arts of Life program, a bit of info about the ensuing meal, then we all took our seats. Wine was served, and kept full throughout the meal, they want you to be happy here.

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    Bresaola Salad - Creamy Goat Cheese Dressing
    This was a great starter, minimal ingredients used in perfect harmony. The goat cheese was mild and refreshing in contrast to the salty, funky, chewy bresaola. Excellent!

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    Skate Wing - Cauliflower - Preserved Lemon
    Another great dish. At this point I began to realize these dishes weren’t going to be precious morsels, rather (happily) pretty significant portions. I wasn’t sure about this combination of ingredients when I heard the description, but the cauliflower as a puree worked pretty well with the texture of the skate, and the preserved lemon added the perfect punch of salt and sour to keep the dish from being bland.

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    Roman Gnocchi - Short Rib - Gremolata
    This dish signified the height of the progression from lighter courses to more substantial. Perfectly cooked, rich and hearty, but also balanced out by the fresh and tangy gremolata. A perfect culmination: after this I actually expected dessert to be served.

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    Marscapone - Truffly Honey
    On the path to dessert we went a little lighter with some marscapone and truffly honey. It was a bit short on the bread crisps, but that didn’t stop me from licking my plate clean.

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    Fizzy Fruit - Lemon Gelato
    Force carbonated fresh fruit served with Lemon Gelato. It was a great palate cleanser after a satisfying meal.

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    Overall this was a great meal and a great time, and as I already mentioned, I’m looking forward to attending more in the future. At this level of quality the price point is extremely reasonable. They provide a great value for a great cause. I hope to hear some LTHers join in and voice their opinions about the upcoming events.

    The next two dinners are themed “Avant Garde” on February 27 and “Revolucion” on March 19. Thus far the organizers had been keeping the dinners small (email list only), but they have decided to open these next two up to LTH attendance. Tickets can be purchased and details about the meals can be found here: “Avant Garde” and “Revolucion”
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain

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