Round and Round She Goes

If I tuck my knees just under my chin, I’m certain that any casual observer could give me a nudge and I would begin rolling. It was a big food weekend.

IMG_1135

Vegetable Platter at The Turquoise Room

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting my favorite restaurant¬†for three meals this week. Complement that with a quick take-out from a best Mexican food spot and ice the whole thing down with a pop-up dinner lovingly created by a favorite food blogger. I’m round but Lord, I’m happy.

Inside one of the last remaining Harvey Houses, the Turquoise Room Restaurant dishes out Arizona fare to behold royalty. On the North wall of the restaurant, there are three backlit paintings created by Tina Mion – San Ysidro for the gardens, San Pasquale for the kitchen and Santa Barbara for the building.

IMG_1143

Green chile polenta with black beans and eggs

The beautiful La Posada hotel deserves a post of it’s own. Purchased as a derelict site in 1999, it’s a true testament to the ability of determined entrepreneurs to create community. Still a railroad stop, the hotel is bustling with activity and this past weekend held the opening of Journey Stories; a Smithsonian exhibit brought to Winslow by Arizona Humanities.

I headed south from Winslow with reckless abandon to Tucson where Kusuma (Kumi) Rao of Ruchikala was holding a pop-up dinner. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a pop-up dinner does just that – it appears somewhere that you don’t anticipate it. We were treated to an elegant meal celebrating the flavors of Northern and Southern India in a fusion of color.

Beet Fritters

Beet Fritters

Our five course meal included wine and beer pairings and at the start of each course, a short loving description of our food from Kumi herself.

Butternut Squash soup

Butternut Squash soup

The other enormously fun thing about a pop-up is not knowing anyone else there and finding ourselves immersed in a slow food community outside of our town. The individuals spoke of markets and festivals and food swaps and we were also treated to jars of mole from Mano y Metate.

Kale Salad with avocado and fennel marinated in mango chutney

Kale Salad with avocado and fennel marinated in mango chutney

I think the most apparent things were the extreme love of food shared by the group but also the passion for feeding others demonstrated by Kumi. After preparing a five course meal for a large group, she still appeared happy and energized.

IMG_1156

Lamb stew over citrus polenta with Arugula

Check with your local slow food community for pop-ups in your area. Better yet, make sure I have your email as DH and I are planning to host a meal like this once the summer weather is finished.

IMG_1157

Amazing rose panna cota with swelled basil seeds and white chocolate

Now, I’m off for a week of juicing and green smoothies to recover! Thanks Kumi!

Previous Post
Leave a comment

58 Comments

  1. The colours, Tammy! They are exquisite! It sounds like it’s been a great week. Your five course meal is sumptuous!

    Reply
  2. So, I’ve clearly missed something – “pop up meal” ? – say more! Anyway, what a sensual, delicious, rich description you’ve provided. YUM!!

    Reply
    • It’s a wonderful meal that just “pops up”. Sometimes it occurs in a closed restaurant, sometimes in an empty building. In this case, it was in a home.

      Reply
  3. Those dishes are a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. Just lovely!

    Reply
  4. FAB-ulous! Swelled basil seeds? Must investigate that!! Sounds “swell”!!! Love the liberal use of polenta – one of my favorite dishes.

    Sometimes I put dehydrated red and green peppers in mine. Not much taste to them, but the “festiveness” is divine! Cheddar cheese and Montreal steak seasoning provide the flavor boost.

    Reply
  5. Sounds fun! Sure I would have chosen vegan options, but I also enjoy the focus on locally grown foods, especially when eaten in both historic and surprising locations.

    Reply
    • Sounds like we’ll have to come up with some vegan options to entice you Rob. Have you visited Winslow?

      Reply
    • I just did a Ruchikala vegan pop up a couple weeks before this one! The vegan menus are some of my favorites!

      Reply
  6. Happy juicing! :D But all those delicacies seemed to be totally worth it! :)

    Reply
  7. Your post immediately took my breath away! I am salivating! Great photos, great description and, yes, I would love to learn more or attend a pop-up! Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Lisa H

     /  June 25, 2013

    Oh, yum! What beautiful food. I’ve never heard of beet fritters, and the swelled basil seeds look really unusual. I’ve never heard of a pop-up meal, sounds like fun!

    Reply
    • The swelled basil seeds were a lot like chia but with basil flavor. Pretty amazing.

      Reply
  9. Boy, am I joyfully jealous, or what?!!!

    Reply
  10. Yum! Everything looks so delicious. We really need a Mexican Restaurant that has Vegetarian offerings as good as your pictures.

    Reply
  11. Hi Tammy, Such great dining adventures! Pop-Ups have, dare I say, popped up in Nashville over the past year, and they truly are a lot of fun. I love the creative ephemeral use of space and the entrepreneurial spirit behind them.

    Reply
    • It really did have a rich entrepreneurial feel. I was amazing and energized by the food conversations and that were taking place. Looking forward to more!

      Reply
  12. I have always wanted to be part of a pop up! One of these times! Your meals sound wonderful, and if it means a little tipping over, that can be simply a temporary side effect from too much happiness! :-)

    Reply
  13. When I come to visit . . . I want to go to the Turquoise Room for one of those Veggie Platters. I’ve scrolled back 3x to check out all the stuff on that plate. YUMMY!

    Kumi did a fab job with an ambitious looking 5-course meal. Glad that you enjoyed.

    Reply
    • Yep, the Turquoise room is the bomb Nancy. I get there about once or twice a year so the weekend was a real treat.

      Reply
  14. Gosh! That is really a yummy looking set of photos! Thanks for posting!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    Reply
  15. Such timing. I just read a blog post on Epicurious about the Harvey empire. An historian named Stephen Fried wrote a bio of Fred Harvey, and is in the process of “assembling an online cookbook of the restaurants’ original recipes.” You recommended the Turquoise Room when my husband and I made our trip out there, and we visited, so this book and collection interest me. So does your post here – look at all that fabulous food!

    Reply
    • What I love about Harvey was that he was the first to incorporate the Customer Experience into his work and really understand the value of good service. It was a game changer that many businesses forget.

      Reply
  16. That vegetable platter is enormous. Is the plate dusted in paprika? Looks like The Turquoise Room is very generous with their servings and that corn looks really good xx

    Reply
    • Yes, it is dusted with paprika. The servings are so large and hence, the rolling part!

      Reply
  17. So, that’s what a ‘vegetable platter’ menu item in restaurants looks like. Although a vegetarian, I have always hesitated to order the vegetable platter as I have been afraid of ending up with a bland plate of boiled / steamed vegetables. I will keep a more open mind next time.

    Would love to be included in your pop-up! Actually, would love to help you organize it. Please don’t hesitate to ask for whatever help you would need.

    Reply
    • Well, no guarantees! Sometimes you will get a plate of boiled veg however, at the La Posada, it is amazing. I’ll take you up on your offer to help A S.

      Reply
  18. aaaaaaaaaaa…..I am now drooling on the keyboard.
    That is friggin awesome…that beet fritter and rose pannacota…If i ever get to visit you, this is where I am eating!

    Reply
  19. oh my, it all looks amazing! I love foodie weekends :)

    Reply
  20. These dishes look outstanding! I often serve at a wine and food pairing up here, and love seeing the exquisite touches that make every dish so elegant. The butternut squash soup appears to have a yogurt topper under that one simple slice of bacon? That would offset the sweetness of the soup nicely, I’m sure. Thanks, Tammy!

    Reply
    • Love the pairings. The butternut soup was paired with beer – an IPA. The bacon on top was candied and the soup is spiced with fennel.

      Reply
  21. Tammy, all your pictures look fantastic! What a great food weekend. I’m intrigued by the panna cota with the basil seeds – how cool!

    Reply
    • Yes, I have to learn more about that! Panna cota is bread and this certainly didn’t seem like bread but it was an amazing desert – so innovative and fresh.

      Reply
  22. Please add me to any and all possible pop-up dinner lists – The Bat and I are close enough to make the journey! Your meals look amazing (and totally justify a bit of roundness!)

    Reply
  23. Suddenly I’m craving that vegetable platter and the polenta below it!! That all looks amazing.

    Reply
  24. Tammy,
    I’m happy to read you enjoyed a great week in food. What a treat!

    Reply
    • oh my goodness! It was such a treat and thank goodness it only happens only now and then!

      Reply
  25. If you can still tuck your knees up under your chin, it’s not time for the juicer yet.

    Reply
  26. What a happy image–so full of wonderful food you could roll! What a fun weekend!

    Reply
  27. Sapna Gupta

     /  July 1, 2013

    What a great weekend of enjoying food and the company of those who love food! Would love to be part of a pop up meal, Tammy. You and Kumi have inspired me to organize a culinary event this fall around Deevali, the Indian festival of lights.

    Reply
  28. Great post!
    That vegetable platter looks delicious.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: