The greatest Shabbat experience I’ve possibly ever had is back with their 7th event. Pop-Up Shabbat will be celebrating 90’s hip hop with the theme “Jew-Tang Forever.” Buy your tickets for this weekends event and get on their mailing list for future events!
The night’s theme, Tikkun Olam (helping to perfect the world), reminds us to ask, “How we can help better the world?” Pop-Up Shabbat’s response is to provide access to organic and local foods to the community. They urged us that eating locally grown foods prepares us for a better tomorrow because we allow more room for self-sufficiency.
We met at the Ikea water taxi across the East River into Red Hook, Brooklyn. Oh lala, a perfect recipe for romance. We took a quick stroll to the converted warehouse at Pier 41. Three large decorated tables topped with framed prayer cards wooed us inside.
Friendly greetings were accompanied by apricot crostinis. We were invited to immediately begin our boozy adventure with masterly crafted cocktails. Spoiler alert: I became a gin-soaked mound of food by evening’s end.
Buzzing with excitement, people started filling in the open dining room. A two-piece jazz duo helped fill any potential awkward air between strangers meeting for an intimate homestyle dinner. We picked our own seats, and I hoped for fun dining neighbors that won’t mind my raging social anxiety. Speaking of social anxiety, the perfect elixir, wine, was freely being passed around like candy.
Our gracious hostess led the evening with a brief talk about this month’s dinner Oyganic theme. Beautiful, beautiful challah made its round (round, get it? cuz it’s round?). Pesto gruyère stuffed and traditional challah served with a strawberry rhubarb butter spread. C’mon. We quickly learned that this dinner ain’t childs play. Our chef, Sarah Schiear, is about to school us.
Then, spring pea gazpacho made with garlic scales, cucumber and mint. The presentation was stunning. These crisp and concentrated earthy colors played right into the farm-to-table theme.
Without delay, our entrees commanded their way onto our tables. Move on soup and make way for roasted carrot quinoa with smoked almond pesto. If that wasn’t enough, there was a second entree for meat-eaters: lamb shoulder roast with ramp salsa verde. Don’t think I forgot about you roasted asparagus and butter potatoes. If this dinner was a person, I would ask it for a second date. I was in love with every bite.
I wanted to eat everything the chef and her team prepared, but my breathing was becoming labored. I needed to walk and talk and get even boozier. When I come back from my rendezvous, but who did I see waiting for me on the table? Olive oil cake with rosé-soaked strawberries and lavender cream. I don’t know how to quit you dessert.
So relaxed, so full, and so boozy–I forgot that I wasn’t at home, and I cannot go lie down to “work this off”. We said our goodbyes to everyone, exchanged contact information, and gave to the tzedakah box.
Jews know tradition. The tradition of Shabbat dinner was artistically and tastefully honored at Pop-Up Shabbat by sticking to a never fail formula: good food and good people.
photos by Adam Thompson