It might seem like an unlikely pairing, but Wandering Table hosted a Birds and Bubbles dinner across the corridor at the Yards Bruncheon on Thursday night in Kendall Yards, and the casual gathering was nearly sold out. Yes, the dinner was fried chicken, and assorted side dishes, paired with champagne.
“It’s delicious comfort food prepared with all local ingredients and a little love paired with amazing beers – well, in this case, champagne,” said Ken Dupree, special events director for Eat Good Group, chef and restaurateur Adam Hegsted’s company that includes Wandering Table and the Yards Bruncheon. “You really can’t go wrong.”
The dinners, which launched three years ago, were monthly for the first two years and have been every other month for the last year, Dupree said. Started as a Fried Chicken and Local Beer Dinner series, Thursday’s meal was a departure in swapping brews for bubbly. Hegsted opted to switch things up by pairing “high-brow drinking with low-brow dining.”
Bubbles, Hegsted said, are a battered-and-fried bird’s best friend. “We serve pickles with fried foods because they’re a palate cleanser, and so is champagne,” he said. “It has marvelous acidity and effervescence to cut through rich, heavy dishes.”
Thursday’s menu was comfort food to the core: fried chicken, cowboy pasta salad, lavender biscuits with honey butter, summer salad with watermelon and mint-lime vinaigrette, Cuban black beans (a surprise favorite of attendees) and lemon meringue éclairs.
Chef Ian Wingate of Wandering Table prepared the dinner, but it was served at the Yards Bruncheon because Yards is only open for breakfast, lunch and brunch. The space was free, avoiding an interruption of dinner service at Wandering Table.
Alcohol distributor Tyler Stevenson, an Eastern Washington University graduate who wore a Washington State University polo due to family ties and allegiances, poured three types of bubbly to complement the dinner.
One couple at the dinner shared that they have attended more than 30 of the informal, sit-down dinners. Another couple was celebrating their 48th anniversary. Previous dinners have included cocktail and beer pairings, so the champagne was a special occasion. One attendee quipped, “I’ve never had beans with champagne before!”
Pre-dinner plans to stop by nearby Brain Freeze post-dinner were thwarted by the sheer volume of the comforting family-style dinner and pours of champagne – and, well, the lemon meringue éclairs.
Dinners are usually $35 per person, not including tax and an automatic gratuity. The dinner calendar also includes a traveling chef and sommelier dinner four times a year, said Dupree, who also served as the dinner’s unofficial host Thursday.
September’s meal is a chef’s international dinner created by Hegsted in collaboration with chefs Wingate, Aaron Fish and Trevor Stratton (Fish and Stratton also are part of Eat Good Group). Guests at the dinner at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Yards Bruncheon will be served global cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
The five-course dinner will be paired with cocktails. Call (509) 443-4410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. See you there!
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