I can't even remember the number of Aces of Taste pop up dinners that I have attended, but this one was very special. The theme for the evening fell on and spotlighted the Lunar New Year, and featured chef Cuc Lam. Cuc is also a fellow food blogger, and one of the sweetest most genuine people you'll ever meet. Vietnamese cuisine is one of my absolute favorite genres of food, so having the opportunity to taste food made from the hands of Cuc, made this a big deal for me.
Every seat was filled with excited diners, many of which I found were new to the concept of a pop up dinner. I usually attend these events solo so I got to know the ladies around me, and even ran into a few people I only know from profile pics online. Of course with food and cocktails galore everyone is in a good mood, so if you're looking for a new way to make friends, consider a pop up. So let's get to the good stuff, the food.
Chinese sausage, Roma Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil & Tom Cuon Chien- Shrimp Rocket Rolls
Shrimp wrapped in purple mints, fried and drizzled with chili garlic sambal
Lutus Root Salad with Crispy Fried Tofu, Shrimp & Pork served with Fried Shrimp Chips
New Year's Sticky Rice with Slow-cooked Lemongrass Beef and Carrot Stew
Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Skewers served with Vermicelli tossed in Garlic Onion Aioli, Fresh Herbs and Nuoc Mam Cham
Mini Tapioca Pearls, Jackfruit, Lychee, Coconut Milk on Coconut Panna Cotta
I enjoyed everything and finished every plate. I don't know who these people are that don't finish their food, but I am not one of these monsters. Just kidding....not really. My favorites of the night would be the chicken and shrimp skewers, but I also enjoyed the dessert. Texture makes or breaks a dish for me, and the dessert offered plenty of texture with the soft panna cotta, and pops of jelly-like Tapioca balls. The first course was also a texturial playground with the fried tofu, crunchy celery and soft shrimp. The dinner like the decor was colorful, authentic, and playful.
I also appreciated the $5 gift card to Krogers that was concealed in the red envelopes on the wishing tree. ( I think that's what it's called.) There was also a raffle at the conclusion of dinner included a ticket to their next dinner the follow week which I won!!! I'm one of those people that could never win a game of anything as a kid so I was beyond ecstatic to win a seat to another dinner, a sold out dinner at that. More on that dinner in the next blog post.