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Posts Tagged ‘Underground dining’

Boquete’s “Blue Vistas” Dinner

Written on February 9th, 2011 by no shouts

When it comes to Underground Dining, Chefs Renny Kranich and Marvin Pupino raised the bar on Boquete’s craving for gourmet events.

Twenty-four lucky guests accepted invitations to enjoy the mountainous blue vistas rising high above the home of Mary and Jack Mossette, as well as the delectable 5-course menu laced with blue cheese, blueberries and a touch of blue in the martinis. Most of the invited guests dressed in blue to enhance the evening’s theme. Everyone sensed that this was a “happening”, not to be repeated again.

The menu reflected the market cuisine of Panama, and the chefs utilized local ingredients throughout the dinner. The lettuce was organically grown in Boquete, white fish was fresh-caught off Panama’s shores, and the fresh whipping cream came from local dairies here in Chiriqui Province.

This is the entire menu, you may want to duplicate some of the pairings at your next dinner.

Fusion Consommé
Croistini topped with Eggplant Relish

Green Salad with Blue Cheese Crumbles

Intermezzo: Beer-soaked Green Grapes

Roast Pork with Cherry Liqueur Sauce
White Fish with Asparagus-Bacon Sauce

Cucumber-wrapped Zucchini
Blue Ribbon Winning Black-eyed Peas

Blueberry Tres Leches Cake
Fresh Whipping Cream

The dinner was preceded by “Happy Hour”, the “signature drink” was the Blue Martini, of course. These martinis were made Blue Curacao and Beefeater brand London Dry Gin, as they were originally invented.

The choice of entrees included fresh white fish or roasted pork and the guests were equal in their selections. Before dinner, guests were presented with a toy pig or fish, depending on which entree choice they made. The pigs were wearing blue ties!!

Throughout the evening, music could be faintly heard wafting across the dining room, blues music, of course.

This was a magical evening for honeymooners from New York, Rick and Pam Wake. They were visiting the mountains of Panama for a short time and happened upon this very special Underground Dining experience in Boquete.

Everyone wished them many happy years together, hoping they would return soon to Boquete. It was a beautiful way to begin their new lives together, as well as to experience what fine Panamanian cuisine can be.

I love this photo of the Blueberry Tres Leches Cakes. The chefs topped each slice with different colored cherries, but no blue! I could have made blue ones, don’t you think? The fresh whipped cream was a huge treat.

Chefs Renny and Marvin made this evening very special in many ways. They brought together folks from all over the world and treated them to fine foods prepared in Panamanian style. They were beautiful to look at, delectable to taste, glorious to enjoy with new friends.

Thanks very much to Jack and Mary for sharing their “Blue Vistas” of Boquete with all of us, their home is delightful in every way.


I’m Ready, Set & Blogging to Be a Star!

Written on September 19th, 2010 by 9 shouts

As you’ve noticed, I’m competing to be the 2010 Foodbuzz Blogger of the Year, which is a big stretch for me. It’s really quite amazing!

These folks look amazed, but they’re having fun learning new food skills together and getting to know each other - they are Boquete Gourmet readers!

Sure, I’ve been blogging for almost a year, it all began on September 30, 2009. It was then when I realized that this new life-style I was living at the top of a mountain in Boquete, Panama, opened up a world of opportunity in so many ways.

But, a year is such a short time to learn not only the ins and outs of blogging, but also how I could make a difference in my new Panamanian community by sharing my experiences with others.

The purpose of this blog is to share what defines me as a food blogger and to explain why I think I should be the next Food Blog Star.

First, my goals of blogging are not just to relate new, innovative recipes to my readers, but I want to communicate the whole, new life-style I’ve been living for the past 8 years. And, I want do it though the hearts of my readers. How is that possible? EASY - - through FOOD!

I’m passionate about food, it’s been my hobby all my life. I can’t visit a new place without trying the local cuisine and attempting to reproduce it in my own kitchen as soon as possible.

There are lots of ways Boquete Gourmet is different from any other blog on the web. My subject matter includes as many aspects of living in a foreign country as possible.

Not only do I blog, but I’ve tried to include as many of my readers in food-related activities as possible. These are all photos of Boquete Gourmet readers, the “real stars” of this blog.

Boquete Gourmet readers visit unusual, unfamiliar area restaurants, travel to neighboring communities together, enjoy Underground Dining events and participate in cooking classes taught by local cooks, bakers and International chefs.

Boquete Gourmet readers are getting involved in their new, foreign community, they try new foods, contribute recipes to the Boquete Community Cookbook and shop in stores unlike anywhere else in the world because of reading my blog.

Boquete Gourmet readers see what it’s like to share experiences across cultures, to dine out of their comfort zone, and to build a new, blended community together.

Everyone in Boquete enjoys pure, mountain water that makes the finest cup of coffee in the world. We all enjoy clean, cool air year-round, and the freshest, home-grown foods the rich, volcanic soil can produce. But, to learn each others customs and life-style through a food blog, is truly unique.

Finally, why should I be the next Food Blog Star? I’m passionate about getting people involved with each other, about sharing each others skills, and about “developing community” not only in Boquete, but in little communities everywhere!

As a “Food Blog Star” I will be able to invest $10,000 promoting “Build Community - Dine Together” throughout the world, helping to foster understanding and peace through man’s basic need, food!

Wish me luck -

Boquete’s First “Underground”

Written on May 19th, 2010 by one shout

Everyone was atwitter as news of the location of Boquete’s first underground dinner was sent to confirmed invitees only. This was a private affair and an event that has unending possibilities in Boquete.

Years ago, I hoped to receive an invitation to this most misunderstood and adventurous form of dining experience. Friends in Florida had invites to local events such as this, but never me. Because the guest list is private and I didn’t know many people who attended such events, I didn’t know much about them. I only knew they packed a bottle of fine wine into their fancy wine totes and went to some “mysterious” place for a gourmet dinner.

But on Saturday, I attended my first “Underground”, and the first such event in Boquete’s history. As you can tell by the photo, the guests and the location will remain undisclosed, but I’ll include the menu and a couple “chef moves” below. It’s difficult to describe an indescribable event, but here’s a glimpse.

The evening was fun-filled and a bit glamorous. The crowd was amazing, people who have lived in Boquete for years and folks who were visiting here for the first time. Young and not-so-young, dressy and smart-casual attire, all types of gourmands. Three things we all had in common; a love for adventure and fine living, a yearning to do something different, and a desire to meet new friends for the first time.

To have a renown chef, Lauretta Bonfiglio, to present the dinner, was icing on the cake!
Chef Lauretta’s “Six Tables” were moved to the dining site from the Bistro Boquete, closed for a few months for renovation. They were arranged in neat fashion, draped in matching tablecloths and each setting was arranged in a formal design with shiny tiles, crown-shaped napkins and a scroll marking the menu, as listed here.

Lauretta’s Six Tables
“Nouvelle Creole - Underground”

Tomato, Mozzarella and Roasted Garlic Tart

Carrot and Leek Soup with Fresh Thyme

Garden Fresh Greens, Walnuts, Pears and Blue Cheese
Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Caribbean-Style Chicken with Brown Sugar and Peanut-Spice Rub
Cajun Au Gratin Potatoes

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Dark Rum, Red Chili Sauce
Wild Mushroom Rice

Chocolate-Almond Ice Cream Torte with Ganache, Whipped Crème and Fresh Mint

The guests enjoyed being served at the same time, course by course, table by table. Each place setting was coordinated in style and color, and each dish seemed more interesting than the last. The conversation grew as the dessert was served, topped with whipped cream and a birthday candle. As guests lit their candles and sang “Happy Birthday” to Roger, Lauretta and her staff appeared to huge applause, bows and flashbulbs.

This is what Underground is all about, enjoying a special evening with good friends, great food, and memories that will last forever. Boquete is a magical place with stunning rainbows, rich full-bodied coffee and world-class restaurants. Now, Boquete has opened a whole new dining style, one with a bit of mystery included. I understand “Six Tables” are moving to an elegant coffee finca for Boquete’s next Underground.
Can’t wait!

Boquete’s Expanding Underground!

Written on April 29th, 2010 by one shout

You won’t hear much about it, unless you’re lucky enough to be invited. Dallas, Detroit and Denver have gone underground, so why not in Boquete? It’s a dining trend that is spreading around the world and will likely be with us for a long while. “Underground” is not subterranean, in this case. It can take place out in a field, on a finca or anywhere.

Underground dining happens in unusual locations, on dates and at times least expected. What is it exactly, and how can folks in Boquete get invited to such affairs?

If a chef is between restaurants and would like to host a meal in a private home or a warehouse, an “underground” event is scheduled. Often it gives chefs who don’t own their own restaurant a chance to show what they might do if the menu were under their control. The location of these events is not disclosed until the day before, and then only to the guests with confirmed reservations.

Because there is “little overhead”, prices are kept low. Diners bring their own bottles and set-ups are usually provided.

Invites are sent by email, only. Seats are reserved strictly by return email, on a first-come, first-served basis. Sometimes, only previous underground diners will be invited, or people referred by previous diners. No money changes hands until the event, cash is paid at the door. No-shows are removed from the “guest list”.

The “Underground Dinner”, by its nature, is elegant and gourmet, consisting of at least 5 courses. The menu is left totally to the chef, who is eager to please the guests. There may be entree choices offered, sometimes not. Many websites further explain this type of event, and some sites give actual menus that have been served at such “underground” affairs.

World-class, fine dining has been available in Boquete for many years, as most residents and visitors know. Now, the options are expanding. BYOB? I like it! Cora

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