Feastly is a newish company dedicated to great food and expanding our sense of community. It allows almost anyone to easily set up a pop-up dinner party. Based on location the site already has a large selection of professional chefs, caterers, and home cooks looking to bring their skills to your home. The events can be open to the public or invitation only.
The dinner we attended was hosted by a couple of young tea makers, recently relocated and looking to meet fellow food enthusiasts. From their perspective the set up was fun and fairly simple. Yana G our chef for the night was also part of The Salo Project , an organization looking to bring Filipino cooking and culture to all 50 states. Living in Maine I can’t imagine having a better way to experience this excellent food.
The set up was unique, banana leaves covered two long tables. Sticky white rice then formed a runner down the center of the green leaves. As each of the many courses arrived, the food was spooned out and set along the edge of the rice. Using only our hands we then combined bites of rice with the various dishes. The lack of utensils was a nice conversation and the food was excellent. Despite being billed as “only” a five course dinner Yana was so happy with our local markets we ended up with a gut-busting 8.
The dinner started with okra in a spicy shrimp paste and garlic. It had a potent slow building heat that combined with the slightly sweet rice to for an almost irresistible blend. Despite my mouth being on fire it was difficult to pace myself. Luckily, a few of the guests with Filipino heritage let us know it was a sign of appreciation to eat your way all the way across the rice. The arrival of the second course crispy fried anchovies in a shrimp garlic paste more than gave me the incentive to breach the rice wall. The brought to mind sea salt and candy and had just a hint of underlying heat. It was at that point that our feast truly began with a sauté of diced pork belly and crispy pork ears. I was in heaven! The dishes keep flowing, whole cooked fish, braised goat, Maine lobster in the shell with a coconut sauce. Quenching our thirst were pairings of beer brought by another nice couple that had relocated to Maine, in their case to start a brewery Rising Tide . Our final adventure was the chance to try a fertilized egg. The braver dinners described this as having a fermented intense chicken flavor. Desert was an amazing dish of ripe mango Maine maple syrup and rice. Overall a happy fun night. Also nice way to meet new people and experience the surprise of new food. As an added benefit I can’t help but think of Feastly as a solid way for new chefs, caterers and start up food ventures to build and audience..