Wherein social media + vegetables + cocktails lead to educational dinner parties

If you asked me to compile the number of things that have come about in my life that began on the Internet, you’d get an exhaustive list. And I know I’m not the only one. This is a story of how awesome things can grow out of seemingly aimless discussions on the Internet.

Three Internet-turned-real life Tacoma friends and I were chatting on Twitter over a month ago regarding one’s week-long experiment with a juice fast. This friend isn’t extreme diet or liquid fast-prone, so I was genuinely curious when he brought it up. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Were you juice fasting?”

Brian: “Yeah, trying it out. I just need a better way to eat fruits and veggies.”

M: “I suggest cooking them (well).”

Etc. Soon, the two other friends that I’ve mentioned on here a few times before, Roxanne and Adrienne, chimed in with other tips on good, easy ways to integrate veggies into your diet. I think Adrienne mentioned throwing them in soup, Roxanne said steam them, and I said throw them in pretty much anything you’re cooking or making, (smoothies, pasta dishes, stir fries, etc.) and roasted Brussels sprouts, (because well, if you read this blog, you KNOW!).

Brian is a busy guy. He’s married, has a baby, works, partakes in the fine art of cocktail making and runs a cocktail blog that you should really check out. I totally understand how some may not know how (or just flat out don’t want) to cook with the little time we have left for the things we care about at the end of the day. That being said, sometimes you need something to go with your cocktails! I love cooking, and I didn’t learn how to until I became a vegetarian in college. I also love sharing, so as the conversation between the four of us progressed, I suggested this:

“How about we exchange some very basic cooking lessons for cocktail making lessons?”

And the rest is history.

Just kidding. Then Brian suggested we start a dinner club, (which I’ve fondly started calling our Underground Supper Club) started our Facebook group (*pushes back glasses*), and that’s when things really became history.

Last Sunday, we had the first of hopefully many of our underground supper club parties with partners (and baby) included, and it was lovely, delicious and educational. We decided to make the whole dinner vegan because apparently veggies outnumbered the carnivore (5 to 3, but who’s counting!), which was super rad of the group and convenient for us veg types. I sadly don’t have any pictures of people, (of course), but Roxanne snapped one and next time I’ll be sure to remember. Here are some snaps of all the food and beverages we enjoyed (and a recipe!):

This was how our evening started, which is to say it was a great foreshadowing. This is Brian's take on a Denny Triangle, originally created by Seattle mixer Jamie Boudreau of Canon bar. It contains gin and grapefruit juice among other ingredients, and was perfectly refreshing on a warm spring night.

Roxanne's photo of Adrienne (left) and I cooking on Brian and Brooke's amazing Viking Range, which I'm now coveting. Adrienne was at work on a soup, and I was making pasta sauce. I feel like we were both "in our elements" here.

Dinner is served! Adrienne's Root Vegetable Soup with Greens on the right, and my contribution: the Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach from "Appetite For Reduction." Both were delicious!

Adrienne created the soup recipe, and was kind enough to let me share it with you all. It’s posted up on her blog, A Big Mouthful, here. Go make it, soon! The original recipe contains beans, but she didn’t use them this time as we had a bean-based appetizer and my pasta sauce used navy beans. I suggest adding some vegan sausage to make it even more hearty for a main meal.

Roxanne's contributions were two wonderful iced teas and dessert (this is also her photo): these beautiful and amazingly rich Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies. You can find the recipe in "Veganomicon."

As we prepped the main parts of the meal, Adrienne and I coerced Brian into chopping and chatted with him about our processes/usual cooking steps. When it came to cocktails, it was his turn to teach. Here he poured Jamaican rum for our second cocktail: the Bywater, originally created by Chris Hannah.

Sadly, I didn't get a shot of the Bywater when finished, but here is a drink mixing action shot instead. This cocktail was just as excellent. It used green Chartreuse, which I'm a fan of due to local craft cocktail lounge, 1022 South.

Not pictured: Adrienne’s incredibly smooth, garlic-infused Rosemary White Bean dip. I kept running to grab some while cooking, it was so addictive and savory.

We haven’t planned any specifics for our next supper club gathering yet, but I am already looking forward to it!

Have any awesome food or drink-related events, gatherings or things come out of your online relationships and communities? If so, please share them!

“Internet” photo by Keith Ramsey, via Creative Commons

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