I'm super excited to try out this new menu on guests at my next "WEEKDAY CHILL" SUPPER.
We will start off with drinks and a meze spread of small bites in my living room and enjoy the view of the sunset from my balcony. The spread includes the showstopper "Persian Herb & Feta Platter" that pairs tangy Bulgarian Sheep Feta with fresh herbs: basil, mint, cilantro; Persian cucumbers, radish and scallions. Served with fresh Sangak stone-oven bread and two dips. This is a decadent way to start the gathering!
The main course will include my Roasted Salmon with tart & sweet carmelized onion and barberry relish; an insanely delicious Mediterrenean Slaw Salad in a garlicky & creamy Labneh dressing and a Fava Bean & Dill Rice with Potato Tahdig (crunchy bottom of the crust).
I will be hosting a delicious and memorable Persian Pizza Salons at my home in Silver Lake, Los Angeles on Saturday May 19th. This dinner will be a lavish, multi-course experience beginning with savory appetizers served in my intimate living room, along with complimentary signature drinks- my Persian Persuasion cocktail (and mocktail).
Following the mingling and appetizers, we will get seated at my communal table for a feast of three unique & gourmet Persian Pizzas that I will create and serve in courses. Each pizza is created on rustic Persian stone oven flat breads: Sangak and Barbari breads. I create my own custom pizza flavors using authentic Persian flavors such as fenugreek, barberries, feta and a variety of herbs & spices from my motherland. During the course of the meal, we will engage in lively conversations and get a chance to learn fun and interesting things about each other.
After this multi-course dinner, I will serve dessert and Persian Tea Service. Dessert includes the classic "Akbar Mashti" Persian Ice Cream with flavors of saffron, pistachio, cardamom and rose water. I will also serve bakhlava, a wonderful compliment to Persian Tea and a delicious way to end the night on a sweet note.
Below is the full menu (designed by me):
HOW TO RESERVE A SEAT:
There are multiple ways you can book a seat for this dinner. The cost is $45 (all inclusive) for this uniquely delicious experience.
Kitchen Table App (free dining app): https://www.thekitchentableapp.com/meals/1189
In addition my extensive background as a lifestyle/product designer & illustrator, I am also a passionate cook, event planner & hostess. I curate special dinners at my home in Silver Lake, where everything from the layout & styling of the tableware to the graphic design of the menu are part of my creative process.
Because I am a believer of the indoor/outdoor dining lifestyle, I am a big fan of beautifully designed melamine tableware that can be bold, colorful, memorable while also easy to handle and clean.
Below is an example of one of the menus I designed for a POP-UP DINNER earlier this summer. I designed both the graphics/visuals/branding of the menu as well as designing the dishes and offerings on the menu.
Below are some more visuals from the events.
I've decided to switch the menu up a bit for the third installation of the SAVAGE MUSE POP-UP DINNER SERIES and introduce this incredibly savory and unique wild salmon dish that I recently created in my kitchen.
This roasted fillet of salmon is topped with carmelized turmeric onion, tart barberries and some dried dill to round out the flavors with a little herbaceous lift to it.
For those of you who are not familiar with barberries, here is a little more information: Barberries are these incredible savory and tart berries that come from a thorny bush. Iranians called it "zereshk" and use the dried barberry in many dishes for its pleasant tart and fruity flavor. Here is an article about the health benefits of barberries.
All the other vegetarian dishes from the last pop-up dinner will still be on the menu for this third dinner in the series. At the last pop-up, the guests were going nuts over the labne sumac dip that I served as part of the appetizer spread. They seriously were devouring it like it was crack. I will make sure that this dish is well represented again in the upcoming dinner!
Below is the official menu and posters for the third SAVAGE MUSE POP-UP DINNER. If you would like reserve a seat(s), email me at email@example.com or click here.
The first Savage Muse pop-up dinner was on July 8th and it was fantastic! I had eleven very interesting, charming and enthusiastic guests show up to feast on course after course of home-cooking inspired by my mother and grandmother's Persian cooking, and infused with my own Savage Muse vibes.
The only major challenge I had was not having enough hands or time to take pictures and document the dishes I served, the table setting, and the amazing guests. All that will change at the next dinner because the very talented Ghazal Sheei (@ghazalsheei) will be on hand to capture the moment and the dishes with her tasteful eye!
Here is a festive shot that my right hand lady, Erica Vasquez @la_supere, took while I was plating the dinner up in my kitchen.
For the second installation of the pop-up dinner series, I'm switching up some of the appetizers, main courses and desserts. I will be introducing a sumac-infused labneh dip as part of the appetizer course. Sumac is a tart and savory dried berry that is lovingly used in many Persian/Iranian/Turkish and other regions of the Middle East/South Asia. Labneh is yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than unstrained yogurt, while preserving yogurt's distinctive, sour taste.
For the main entrees, I will offer both meat and vegetarian options this time. The meat dish will be the crowd-pleasing Herbed Meatballs with Pistachios in a Honey Pomegranate Glaze. The vegetarian dish is called "Khoreshteh Bademjaan", a traditional Persian eggplant braise that has a carmelized and tart flavor profile that is drool-worthy. Both will be served with a fluffy, aromatic dill & lima bean rice complete with tadig (a shell made of crunchy rice and thin potato slices) that makes the rice dish look almost like an upside-down cake when it is served!
And this time for dessert, I'm going to switch it up and bring some Mashti Malone traditional Persian ice cream into the mix, with it's hints of saffron, rosewater and pistachio and cool, creamy gelato-like texture. Check out this cool article on VICE.COM about Mashti Malone's ice cream legacy.
Here are the posters and menus I designed for Pop-Up Dinner #2.
If you'd like to join me at the table, click here to send me your reservation request.
This past Saturday, I hosted the second installment of a pop-up dinner party series at my home in Los Angeles. I was meeting and greeting all the dinner guests when one of them, who was a friend of a friend, asked me what the purpose of my dinner party was.
That question took me by surprise. I guess I just assumed everyone who had signed up to come to this gathering was looking to have a delicious culinary experience and maybe meet some new people. As I took a minute to gather my thoughts and respond to his question, I had to dig deep and ask myself what exactly the purpose of these dinner parties are.
Although I have made my living for the past 20 years as a fashion/ lifestyle designer and visual artist, cooking and feeding people has been a recurring theme in my life for as long as I can remember. As with many immigrant families, sharing a communal meal of large platters of food has been a part of my upbringing. It is one of the most significant and accessible ways for friends and family to experience a sense of abundance, even during the most difficult of times.
In my early childhood, my parents had lost all their wealth and possessions during the Iranian Revolution and had to start over in Arizona with only their talent and determination. I remember the joy of gathering around the dinner table for large platters of buttery, fluffy basmati rice and slow-cooked braised eggplant to ease and comfort us in our somewhat hostile and foreign environment (where our white Republican neighbors were both suspicious of and slightly fearful of us.)
Later in my young adult life, when I had moved to New York City in the mid 90's to study fashion at Parsons School of Design, I came out to my parents over the phone while stirring a pot of Ghormeh Sabzi to feed a couple of queer Iranian friends who were visiting me from San Francisco.
Ironically, I had been told that when a woman has mastered cooking this national dish, that she was ready for marriage. In my case, mastering Ghormeh Sabzi gave me the courage to come out as queer.
Breaking bread and sharing the dishes of our motherlands became a big part of the underground queer Arab/Middle-Eastern/Iranian/SWANA scene back in the 90's and early 2000's as well. Long before we had social media to connect us, those of us who were part of these diasporas that had denied our queer/trans existence, were hosting dinner parties and potlucks in our humble apartments and walk-ups in Brooklyn, Queens, San Francisco, Oakland, and many cities in between. We shared stories of both the positive and sometimes devastating effects of our coming out to our respective families, as well as held space for those of us who were still living in the shadows that we called the closet.
I moved around a bunch in my twenties and thirties for my fashion/design career: from New York to Minneapolis and back to Brooklyn before moving West and spending some time in the Bay Area before making Los Angeles my home seven years ago. Every time I start over in a new town, my first impulse has been to build community by inviting folks over to my home for an authentic Persian/Iranian meal.
Building community in LA has proven to be a completely different animal than what I have experienced in any other city I have lived in. Folks here are over-scheduled, over-worked, over-committed and have to factor in commutes, parking and geography every time they want to make a social commitment. People tend to congregate mostly with others who work in the same field as they do (read entertainment/movie industry). That organic way in which I have met and built friendships in other towns has proven to be rather ineffective in LaLa Land.
For me, creating these SAVAGE MUSE pop-up dinner parties is partly a way to bring together other folks who fall under the intersectional umbrella of mixed cultures, heritages, sexual and gender orientations, occupations and creative interests to come together and break bread together in a visually inviting, comfortable space.
It is also partly a way for me to more fully express my potential as a lifestyle/brand designer, event creator, visual artist and creative director who can create a seamless brand from the menu design to the social media marketing to the table setting to who I staff and what food I cook and serve. Every aspect of these dinner parties is part of the "Savage Muse" philosophy and aesthetic.
If you would like to get notified of upcoming SAVAGE MUSE events or read future posts and stories, subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of this page or click here to send me your contact info. I hope to see you at a future SAVAGE MUSE event!