Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Parties That Cook Recipe Deck Party

It never fails that I always feel really hip when I get a chance to go to some kind of event in San Francisco. When Abbie mentioned that her sister's company "Parties That Cook" would be having a party for the release of their newest recipe deck "More Sumptuous Small Plates" I invited myself along. I knew this would be a great chance to get to know the company a little better as well as sample some of the great food! They were serving a number of the recipes from the deck we would be purchasing so it was fun chance to taste test.
I've had some experience with PTC within my day job, one of our mutual clients had a number of their programs at our site. What PTC does is create an interactive atmosphere where the evenings participants join together to cook the meal. The events I got to witness were corporate team building dinners, but PTC also puts on their own events as well as parties for people in their homes or other venues. They bring all the gear they need which is great because as long as you have space and power you can have a party that cooks!

The event we attended was held at the Horatius Gallery and Event space in the Portero Hill area of SF. A former restaurant the space has been transformed into the ideal setting for parties and events. There is a gorgeous granite bar running almost the length of the room framed with light wood accents. There was a casual seating area at the front and more at the back with high boy tables running the length of the room. We were greeted at the front by Abbie's sister and got name tags, each one with a cute little question like "If you were a spice what would you be?" or "what is the best thing your mom cooks?". These make for a great ice breaker if needed. As we made our way in search of our complimentary glass of Banshee wine (Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc) we heard someone call our names. Unbeknowst to us our friend Michelle was there with one of her colleagues! We eagerly joined their spot at one of the high boy tables and had a great time catching up as the different appetizers were passed by the PTC staff.
First up was their Bahn Mi meatball sandwich, their take on the popular Vietnamese sandwich with seasoned beef & spicy pickled veggies in a baguette. I had actually just tried Bahn Mi for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it. I was not disappointed by the PTC offering! The meat was moist and flavorful, the veggies adding the appropriate tang and crunch, and the spread just took the flavor over the top! As this was my dinner by the end of the night I had gone back for a second one because these were so tasty as well as filling. I could absolutely see making these for a picnic lunch although they do seem a little too large to offer as an appetizer. The recipes were all small plates though so combined with a few other small things this makes for a great party food.
The next thing to pass our way were the crostini with house made ricotta and red pepper jam. First off - I love bruschetta and crostini, they are some of my favorite appetizers to make. Secondly I have recently become obsessed with this style combo the creamy with a sweet and spicy on top. While rudimentary it hearkens back to one of my mom's classic party dips- the block of cream cheese topped with salsa. Obviously this is a much more refined version of that palate play and is one of my favorites. I was so impressed by their making of their own ricotta and am eager to use the recipe I bought and try on my own. I often lament the fact that the container of ricotta available is almost always way to big for my needs and it is difficult to use it all without wasting. Hopefully if I can make my own I'll be able to make just what I need! This was a great treat and absolutely one I will make in the future.
As the different appetizers passed by us on their way to the back area where many of the guests had congregated it became a running joke that try as we might we could not get our hands on these little Chalupas. Every other server with a tray would kindly stop at out table but it seemed inevitable that if the chalupas were coming through they would either run passed us, tray held high above their heads, or as soon as one of us would walk up someone would be grabbing the last piece. This, of course, made their appeal that much greater. We had to get our hands on them! Everyone at our table kept a keen eye out for the next batch to be distributed to walk by. Finally I caught sight of a tray coming. It was obviously meant to make it's way to the back but with a quick dive I stopped the girl in her tracks and finally got to savor this treat! The base had a similar consistency to a crumbly shortbread with the flavor and texture of cornmeal, the avocado was fresh and abundant, the lime sour cream added a freshness and the chorizo some spice and saltiness. While I enjoyed this bite I was left wishing there had been more chorizo and less avocado. While it was tasty the avocado overwhelmed the palate and the chorizo was only barely noticeable.

I am sad to say I was too busy popping the fourth appetizer in my mought to take a picture! The Bacon-Wrapped Dried Plums with Roquefort & Balsamic-Honey is one of PTC's biggest crowd pleasers with it's sweet, salty and tangy notes and definitely on of my favorites! A perfect bite size these appetizers are served on a toothpick which is perfect because they are a little sticky with the sauce but well worth it. I plan to make them for a get together this weekend check my Cntrdbytheplate twitter feed for pictures of my attempt!
Just as the party was winding down the dessert was served and the servers didn't have to walk far! Guests flooded the trays to get a bite of PTC's "Coffee & Doughnuts" cinnamon sugar beignets with a mocha dipping sauce. Again they were not disappointed. This sweet treat really hit the spot and finished the evening on a high note.

Overall we had a great time at this event, the Parties that cook staff is warm and inviting and they really know how to put on a lovely event. If you are looking for a great team building or a fun theme for girls night you should definitely check them out!  And look for part two of this post next week in which I will make two of the Appetizers from their Recipe deck!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for coming AND posting this lovely blog! We're glad you enjoyed the food that night, and even left with a new go-to party recipe! Hope to see you at another event soon.. Cheers!