Chris and I experienced an amazing multi-course meal of rare and unusual ingredients prepared with great passion at Playground 2.0’s “Invitation Only” dinner. All we knew about the 30 course/10 drink pairing menu was the title “When the working day is done” and theme, FUN, so we had to put our complete trust into the hands of the Playground 2.0 team!
The dinner starts promptly at 7:00pm, iPhone time, so don’t be late! Chef Jason told us we were the first group to all be seated and with our butters made before the start time!
During each course, (while the other chefs are cooking right in front of you!), Chef Jason explains the ingredients, preparation and a little history behind them.
There was no way I was going to remember each course so I very much appreciated a copy of the “menu”; it’s actually a printed email between the crew about the menu. Below is what I could decipher from the “menu” because everyone knows my memory is terrible.
Drink 1: Sparkling water with lime-flavored and vanilla-flavored ice cubes. Ingenious idea! I want to try this at home.
Course 1: Fruit Cocktail – watermelon margarita, honeydew mojito, coconut pina colada
Course 2: Canard Duchene Champagne & Caviar
Course 3: Naked Cowboys on Playboys with pomegranate mignonette
Drink 2: Nitro Manhattan, real maraschino cherry!
Course 4: Turbo Fin Ceviches on chicken skin crisp
Course 5: Mangalitsa ham – Spanish ham
Course 6: Our Bread, Your Butter – this is when we used our own customized butter with bread made by Chef Tyler.
Drink 3: Pow Plop Wiz, – Oliver Lemasson, Les Vins Contes
Course 7: I Can’t Find My Silverware – Dungenss crab, avo mousse, pink grapefruit, masago. We had to literally lick the plate clean because we weren’t given silverware.
Course 8: Soup/Salad – Tomato consommé, basil, evoo, maldon, croutons
Course 9: Ultimate Jew Bagel – Caviar cream cheese, pickled onion, Chef Tyler’s bagel, smoked ocean trout
Course 10: Ryan Carson’s Childhood – 3 year aged tuna belly, grilled pillow
Drink 4: I’m Going Box Box to Sake Sake – Sake spirit grapefruit and white peach sake and Prosecco
Course 11: Russian Roulette – Shishito peepers a la plancha, yuzu miso. Apparently, one in ten peppers is spicy! Who knew.
Course 12: Albacore O-Toro Cone – Green apple, pop rocks, real wasabi, white soy
Course 13: King Tumpet a la Plancha – French press broth, garlic oil, ramps, fiddlehead, peas
Drink 5: White wine – 2011 Clos Roche Blache Sauvignon No 2
Course 14: Baby Artichoke con Tomate – Bocquernoes, Spanish white anchovies
Course 15: Corn Risotto made by Chef Max – Lobster, vanilla, marscapone, chive
Course 16: Tomme de Savoie – Mac n cheese in its own shell. The richest mac n cheese I’ve ever tasted. I love cheese but I could only handle a couple small bites of it.
Course 2: Porron – Beachwood Pricta
At this point, my stomach was completely full. Sadly, I could only take one bite from each of the remaining last courses.
Course 17: Tacos de Puercito y Cerveza de Porron
Trivia time! Whoever answers a trivia question correctly gets their choice of meat. I failed but, of course, they still gave everyone a piece of succulent pig.
Course 18: Playground Fried Chicken – Cumin, brown sugar, etc
Drink 6: T-Vine 2010 Frediani Vineyard Grenache
Course 19: 48 Hour Akaushi Short Ribs. Can you imagine cooking something for 48 hours straight???
Course 20: Raclette like Icarus
Drink 7: Port & tonic
Course 21: Marshmallow sorbet – Blood orange/ginger
Course 22: A Tale of Two Tities – Raspberry cream, blackberry cremeux, greek yogurt
Course 23: Pot Brownie – Bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate moose, soil pearls.
Course 24: Fortune Cookie. His read “You’re getting lucky tonight!” Mine read “Sorry ”
We were asked to take a special pill before our last course.
Course 25: Lemonade Snow Cone – no sweetner, just straight lemon juice or lime juice on shaved ice, but it tasted sweet because of the magic pill.
Drink 8: Fernet – an alcoholic beverage served after the meal to help digestion. Rhett, the sommelier likes the tastes but Chef Jason does not. I’m with Jason, it tasted like nasty herbal medicine. But, it worked! I didn’t feel stuffed anymore. I felt as if I could eat more, so weird.
The invitation-only policy may seem very pretentious but the ambiance is more like an intimate dinner party with new friends. I feel so special being a part of this exclusive club.
It’s by far the BEST meal of my life.
THANK YOU Jason, Ryan, Rhett, Max, Tyler, Ashley and Emily for a very memorable dining experience.
Chris and I will be back in June for another I.O. dinner but this time it’ll be my treat.
Disclaimer: There wasn’t enough time for me to take a picture of everything. The meal is 3 hours long but the time goes by quickly!! Also, the course numbering is off but I don’t want to correct it because this post has taken up too much time already. Hope you still enjoyed it