Last night we had the chance to check out a pop-up dinner, one of our favourite date night ideas, because there’s always an element of surprise. You never know what to expect when you walk in the door, and the food is usually delicious. The style was New Orleans and Second Line Food Company had us excited even before we walked down the stairway into the speakeasy style bar.
When we walked down the stairs, entering Nightjar, we immediately remarked at what a fantastic match the venue was for the pop-up New Orleans Style dinner. From the dark moody feel, to the decor in the Speakeasy that invited you to sit and drink, the location nailed the theme of the evening. Nailed it.
There were three, well-chosen drinks, designed for the evening: the lager, a bourbon lemonade with a grilled lemon slice and peach tea cocktail. We made sure to try all three, and the peach tea was the hit, with the lager close behind.
Salivating as we were reminded of the menu from the chef, the anticipation was short-lived, as food and drinks started to arrive on our table, in what seemed like an endless procession. They warned us there would be a lot of food, and they were right.
For the first round, hot cross buns were served in a paper bag, adding to the feel and overall style of the dinner – and we couldn’t get enough. The buns were the perfect combination of salty and sweet, with traditional bun taste, and a hefty shake of salt on top. They were like the down-home buns you’re grandma makes, but taken to the next level. Next to the spicy pickles, that had the perfect amount of crunch and heat, the pairing had us optimistic about what was to come next.
What came next was the cornbread. Taking a quick bite with the mint julep maple syrup, we had plans to save this one for the chicken, but it was too good to leave, and just like that, our plate was empty. Moist and delicious, the cornbread made me envious, knowing that I wouldn’t likely be able to accomplish the level of delicious, in my own kitchen.
The bottomless sides included Cajun sweet and spicy potato salad, corn and black bean salsa with candied bacon and a spinach salad, all three salads had great, fresh combinations of flavour, but we couldn’t get enough of that corn and black bean salsa. It was full of traditional flavours, with a twist, quickly agreeing that it was our shared favourite.
The bourbon peach pecan and shaved radish salad was a nice fresh side to the delicious, smoky chicken (double rubbed, barrel roasted, two day marinated chicken) and disappeared quickly from our plates.
Three sauces accompanied the literally, finger-licking-good-chicken, all perfect for dipping in those big pieces of smoked chicken, and came in generous portions, leaving lots left over to drizzle on the chicken, before we packed up the plenty of chicken leftover from the half-chicken portion, to take home. White barbecue sauce was a new experience, something we had never tried but the sauce with the double apple took some of the heat off of the perfectly smoked chicken, with the perfect hint of sweetness. It was a clear favourite, as you could tell by the empty bowl.
Overheard at Tickets to Dixie: “Oh, I was just telling her that I was on the best date ever”
So stuffed with delicious food, but somehow finding the space for those last few bites of delicious, delicious pecan pie, you could feel the excitement in the room, as the second seating began to arrive.
The whole vibe of the dinner, from the down to earth experience of the chefs coming out to explain the menu, and the energy created when the band made their way around the room with their instruments, combined with the delicious food, got us really, really excited for what’s to come for future events. After the experience we’ve got only one question? When can we get on the list for the next event?
Make sure you’re following Second Line Food Co. on Twitter to stay up to date with future events – based on our experience this time around, we can’t wait to check out the next event!