There are few thing that I find more fun and interesting that a good pairing of food and art (and wine, that goes without saying). It’s not too often that you get to see those two together (maybe because food can be messy and art can be expensive?), unless the latter is observing you from the walls while you proceed to enjoy the former.
With new concepts in food, enjoying food and food itself have been elevated to an art form on their own right. Pop-ups, secret meals by invitation only, impossible presentations, unexpected locations and fusion of flavors have changed the whole landscape of food and the ways of enjoying it.
A couple of weeks ago, Dad Vivant received an email from a local art gallery/cooking/tasting spot. They were organizing a noodle dinner at their space. The idea of eating at a gallery surrounded by art is really appealing to us so, of course, we had to sign up (and, along, convinced some friends to join). A bowl of homemade Hong Kong style noodles soup and two drinks for $10.00 was a deal too good to pass. Plus, the intro we received from Court Tree really piqued our curiosity, as the chef was taking the opportunity to cook noodles as a nod to her childhood, her grandfather, her chef father and her “culture and the lasting memories of her time in Hong Kong” as a child.
So we got two tickets for Dad Vivant and myself, thinking about exposing the girls to new food concepts, and assuming that they could share some of our noodles.
The date of the pop-up dinner came and we decided to meet with some friends at 5.30pm (with children coming along to dine, one needs to get to places at a sensible hour). Good thing we decided to get there early (in our pre-children standards, that is), as when we got there, the intimate space was taken over by a long communal table with patrons enjoying their noodles and there was already a half hour wait. We also noticed that we were not the only ones who had decided to tag little ones along and, best of all, they seemed to be enjoying the experience.
The space is really tiny and it’s on a second floor with really steep stairs, so bringing a stroller is not recommended. The white walls rotate different forms of visual art and for this occasion the walls were left empty with only three paintings, doubling as menu, of the noodle offers: shiitake and tofu, wonton and scallion, and crispy pork, and a colorful paper dragon hanging from the ceiling.
We were given two red raffle tickets to exchange for two drinks of our choice: cold Tsingtao for the wait and white wine in little plastic cups for the dinner.
After one of the families finished dinner, we were seated at one end of the table, la Petite Wasabi next to me and Little Sous Chef between our friends. The long communal table was covered by a long brown paper tablecloth that we quickly used as the canvas of the girls’ artistic expression (no crayons for kids here, but you would be amazed at the stuff one can find in my bag!).
We ordered different soups so we could all have a taste of them all. Dad Vivant ordered the crispy pork one; our friends, the shiitake and tofu and the crispy pork; and I ordered the wonton and scallion one.
The broth was very flavorful without having that salty after taste that screams MSG. The noodles were thin and perfectly cooked. I must say that the tastier of the three was the crispy pork one (but then, how can one go wrong with pork?) and the wontons were flavorful and of a decent size; however, I must admit that I just had a couple of bites of my bowl.
Anticipating that the girls wouldn’t be able to eat a whole bowl on their own, we had just purchased a meal package (one bowl, two drinks) for each of the adults, thinking that we could share a couple bites with the girls. I can’t believe I made such a rookie mom move! Little Sous Chef was moody and not really hungry, so she ate as little as expected. But then, she was not sitting next to me. La Petite Wasabi, on the other hand, decided that coloring the paper tablecloth and just getting a couple of tastes of my soup was not going to cut it. Basically, she ate most of my meal and not happy with having eaten 3/4 of the wontons and most of the noodles, she finished the bowl of soup, which was almost bigger than herself. I guess we should consider it her way of complimenting the chef.
Overall, a most fun experience in which we got to enjoy amazing homemade food, art (even though we missed the life music) and mingle with some other people from the neighborhood.
They have more pop-ups lined up for the year and what seems to be fun cooking classes, which I think would make for a fun family afternoon.
Court Tree Collective
371 Court Street, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11231