Saturday, June 24, 2006
Ghetto Gourmet Report: Creating Community
To my left, a college professor and radio producer; across the table a lawyer-turned-TV-writer and a fashion designer; to my right, the girlfriends of our musical entertainers, who thought they were just coming over for a house party. And they were--sort-of. There was food, there was booze--and 25 people Indian-style on the floor around doors-turned-tables, all of whom had paid $40 to sit with strangers and eat a five course meal prepared by chef Cynthia Washburn, in the smallest Silver Lake kitchen you can imagine.
According to our host, Jeremy, the Ghetto Gourmet began as a way for his brother, who'd been working in restaurants in San Francisco, to try out his own cooking without the crippling cost of opening an actual restaurant. What started as a dinner for a small group of friends who all split the grocery receipts has turned into an underground phenomenon in the Bay area, and this was its first venture to Los Angeles.
Dinner was yummy--not the most amazing food I've ever had, but a creative, well-executed meal--especially the grapefruit and jicama salad with sesame seeds and the chili-coconut crusted seared ahi. What was amazing was the live jazz, the stand-up comedy (!), the sense of community created by sharing a meal. Over the course of our three-hour meal, wine was shared, stories were swapped, friends were made. I highly recommend attending a Ghetto Gourmet dinner if you can--it makes ya feel a bit better about the human race.