Another wild and wooly one is in the books. Our most recent production; Scrumptious Chef pop up restaurant number twelve, was devoted to the cuisine of Oaxaca via the lens of legendary chef and food historian Diana Kennedy.

She’s the grand dame of Mexican cuisine, something that sticks in the craw of a lot of people due to the fact that Kennedy is a white woman from the UK. We could not possibly care less as to her skin color or country of origin; ol gal knows Oaxaca like the back of her hand, and her recipes read like a road map to the state’s cuisine.

Our run-up to this event was longer than any other at 4 weeks of planning and menu preparation. By the time we unlocked the doors at Tamale House East our crew had swollen to 11 workers as we knew we were in for a wild ride.

With over 200 reservations on the books, this was our biggest pop up food party since we tackled wild game at our Wild Foods of Texas event way back in January.

Staring at long lines and a slammed kitchen at previous pop ups set us to thinking on how we could better serve our patrons. Our crude, counter-intuitive idea proved to be a real winner. We now serve appetizers-only for the first 30 minutes of our food parties.

The effect being that we can hustle out our starters, get a few bites of food in folks bellies then spend the next couple hours at a more leisurely pace constructing entree plates.

It worked.

Cream Team’s queso and RL Reeves Jr’s posole were both sold out in under a half hour.

Two hours of proper supper service followed as our pantry and hot line slowly dwindled down to nothing. The moles were the stars of the show as they should be; we’d spent over 60 man hours breathing life into these ancient formulae.

It showed.

People periodically would gangster-rush the counter demanding to know what was in these transformative sauces. Thankfully, Tamale House East was selling copies of the Kennedy magnum opus; Oaxaca al Gusto so all we had to do was point and nod.

Diners finished their repast with big bowls of pastry chef Diana Sanchez’s rice pudding garnished with a panoply of fresh sliced fruits and berries.

Aperitifs and digestifs gushed forth from an ice cold keg of Saint Arnold’s Oktoberfest.

After fourteen months of throwing the best food parties in Austin, Texas we’re finally hitting our stride. We’ve got a crack team of chefs and front of the house people, and a team of dedicated research foragers regularly fanning out across Central Texas to make sure we’re sourcing the best meats, cheeses and produce.

Stay tuned for our next pop up: Let Us Now Praise Famous Texans.

field reports from our first 11 events

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