“UGK: Ports of Indulgence” took place in the home of Deborah McLeod, owner and Director of Chroma Projects, a gallery and arts lab in Charlottesville, VA. After learning two days before the event that the initially planned venue would no longer be able to host UGK, Deborah and her husband Rob generously opened up their home to 50 strangers for UGK’s pop up dinner.
Chef Matthew Tlusty (Executive Chef of Juleps in Richmond, VA) created a five course meal that was adventurous, delicious, and at times even a bit nostalgic. Charred octopus with cherrywood smoked bacon was the opener, and provided yet another reminder of the possibilities that lie in a marriage between bacon and seafood. A crowd favorite for the evening was a carrot and dill soup that was creamy without being too heavy, and buttery without overpowering the flavors of the fresh vegetables and herbs. And the fifth course took many of the guests back to their youth, topping a salt and clove baked apple with butterscotch and Pop Rocks, adding a textural element to the meal that was both inventive in this fine dining context, and instantly recognized by guests who hadn’t enjoyed the crackling candy since their childhood.
All in all, this evening in Charlottesville, VA was a great success. In fact, many of the guests informed us on their way out that their dinner partners were their “new best friends.” Hopefully, the connections made at this UGK event will continue well into the new year, and we will keep bearing witness to the power of food as a source of creativity, community, and pleasure.
Photo Credits: Our Local Commons (www.ourlocalcommons.com)
CHARRED OCTOPUS, CHERRYWOOD SMOKED BACON WITH A WARM MINT AND WHITE BALSAMIC DRESSING
OUR FAMOUS CARROT & DILL SOUP
CHESAPEAKE ROCKFISH BRAISED FENNEL, SPINACH PERNOD SAUCE AND CREAMED CAROLINA RICE
BRAISED WILD BOAR WITH JACOBS CATTLE BEAN AND PEPPERCORN ROSEMARY BISCUIT
SALT & CLOVE BAKED APPLE WITH BUTTERSCOTCH
FAMIGLIA PISANO “RIO DE LOS PAJAROS”
TORRONTES RESERVE, 2014
CHATEAU GUIBON BORDEAUX 2013
CLOUD BREAK ZINFANDEL
QUINTA DEM CARVALHAS TINTO 2012
OFFLEY TAWNY PORTO
NV – PORTUGAL