Before I became a parent, I said I would never become one of those people who doesn't get to hang out with my friends as much. But it totally happened. Life changes, you get busier, and you have to make a way bigger effort to maintain friendships—especially with other friends who have kids. Because, chances are, they've been too busy to make plans, too. Bob and I are usually pretty good about having date nights, but it's more rare that we get to see a handful of our friends all together in a kid-free and relaxing adult environment.
So I thought it would be fun to gather a small group of our friends who are parents together to have a nice dinner out all together at Room Forty's tasting room at The Fig House here in L.A. It was a way to have a private dinner that was cozy enough to feel like we were at someone's house without all the clamour and difficulty of a big reservation at a restaurant.
I chose a mix of friends who didn't all know each other super well but had a couple things in common in addition to being parents—everyone was creative in some way and at least one person in the couple was a self-employed business owner.
To start off the evening, I thought it would be fun to have wrist corsages for the girls and boutonneires for the guys to really relive the days of our youth. It brought me back to my first date with Bob—the senior prom! Botany Flowers made some beautiful wildflower versions for each place setting, and we had our own "Bachelorette" moments pinning them on.
It's funny to hear what goes on in a dinner with ten parents—from labor stories to our shower habits to drooling over the food which was way more amazing than anything we'd be having at home.
Room Forty's chef, Libry Darusman, created an amazing menu for us to enjoy which included these drool-inducing dishes:
-Gin agar noodles with green olive bolognese and blue cheese
-Fennel soubise, house-made tofu, compressed pear, regianno foam, and crystal flower
-Diver scallops, raw coco mustard, butter popcorn tortellini, and puffed black rice
-Black cod, beet duxelle, nicoise pain perdu, red wine butter, and tomato foam
-Gazpazzo consommé with smoked street cart fruit
-Rib eye cap, cheek pastrami, shitake tartare, smoked corn jam, carrot confit, and pea ice cream
All topped off at the end with this S'mores made of graham soil, chocolate and coffee ganache, housemade marshmallow, and hickory smoke. I'll be sharing the recipe for this with you guys next week as it's too good not to duplicate at home!
At the end of the night, we got to hear how the chef made various dishes (um, like the butter popcorn tortellini!) which is such a treat and something we never get to experience at a regular restaurant. There's nothing like getting a custom catered dinner on an intimate scale. With full bellies and refreshed minds, we all came out of it feeling like we had such a special night just for us and walked away with a stronger connection to everyone else we dined with that night. Catching up with friends over food is probably one of my favorite things to do ever. Thanks so much to Room Forty for the amazing meal and beautiful space to have our dinner.
I hope our night out will inspire you to make time for yourself and make a special night out to reconnect with your nearest and dearest.
P.S. As a catering company Room Forty's primary function is private events, but as big believers in community, they’ve opened up their tasting room for private dinners like the one I hosted. If you're in Los Angeles, it's a treat I hightly recommend.