Monday, March 9 was the first of The Greasy Spoon Diner Supper Series pop-up dinners, which challenges a Vancouver chefs to take over the kitchen at Save On Meats and serve a dining room full of guests to benefit programs that support the local community.
Each service will consist of a four-course meal with every penny of the $95 ticket price going towards an A Better Life Foundation program.
Chef Scott Jaeger of The Pear Tree Restaurant was first to cook on March 9, doing his dinner in support of Growing Chefs, a program where volunteers from the food and restaurant industry visit primary schools to teach kids about growing healthy and eating right.
We started with a concoction called “The Slow Burn”, which is an original creation by Mark Brand of Save On Meats. Inspired by a Bloody Mary but…clear. For those of us old enough to remember Crystal Pepsi, you know how making a beverage clear that wasn’t clear before messes with your head. Made with Deep Cove Oliver gin, it’s doesn’t taste exactly like a Bloody Mary but you can tell what it was going for. Rather than the rich, intense flavours of a Bloody Mary, it’s a vibrant, light version that has more kick than you would think.
Each of the meals four courses is paired with a drink from a local brewery or distillery. For Jaeger’s night, we were treated to mason jars of beer from Deep Cove from North Vancouver.
The split pea soup with smoked ham hock and shallow froth was delicious. This and a grilled cheese sandwich and I’m good. It came with a Deep Cove Frost Bitten Tea Saison and some delicious soda bread, which is a bit like cornbread without the cornmeal.
Next up was my favourite, the “Corn Duck Hash,” a pastrami-cured duck confit inside a Yukon Gold rosti potato with a poached hen’s egg. Just amazing, well balanced and seasoned. Lots of different flavours and textures, all made better by a runny egg yolk and the paired Deep Cove Star Struck Rye IPA.
I was told the inspiration for this pop-up dinner series was to make the best diner food possible, and to elevate what we think of when we sit down at a greasy spoon. Jaeger’s venison meatloaf quite appropriately defines what they were going for. The seasoned venison is wrapped in double smoked bacon and served with fried brioche croutons, pickled tomatoes and a trumpet mushroom gravy. I wanted more mushrooms in my gravy but I was very happy with the paired beer, a Deep Cove Loud Mouth Pale Ale.
To wrap up the meal, we had a spiced caramel pear with hazelnut crumble and aged cheddar, paired with a dark, chocolatey Deep Cove Porter Cask. Even though I’m allergic to pears, I ate this whole thing. I could put that hazelnut crumble on anything and, as weird as it sounds, the flavuor of aged cheddar cheese gives this dessert just enough of a funk to make it more interesting.
Next in line to cook at The Greasy Spoon pop-up are Brian Skinner, Hamid Salimian, David Wong and Ryan Stone, decorated chefs representing the Earl’s Chef Collective. Each chef will prepare one of the four courses.
The event takes place on Tuesday, April 21st. For more details, head to www.greasyspoondiner.com.
The Greasy Spoon Diner Pop-Up
When: Once a month, dates TBD
Where: Save On Meats, 43 West Hastings Street
Cost: $95 (inclusive of tax and tip)