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supperking app to host and find local events / or, how i played chef for a night
January 30th, 2013Mary, products, RecipesMary Desjean 0 Comments

SupperKing is a freshly minted app out on the marketplace that hopes to bring friends, neighborhoods and strangers alike together to share in a very important thing that happens every day: eating!

Whether you want to split and share expenses with friends, or simply play chef for a night and sell seats at your table for your home cooking, SupperKing hopes to fill a niche by allowing people to easily find events near them or to host events of their own.

The idea for the app came from various ideas and experiences: visiting a foreign country and seeing large groups of outdoor gathering, and wishing there was a way to easily experience the culture by joining in to try new foods and meet new people; a single person living in an apartment building and eating alone and wishing for a platform that would enable him to seek out and meet neighborhoods to share a meal; cooks who love to throw dinner parties but want/need to share the expenses with friends.

Now, I’m not really into the “dining with strangers” thing, but I am totally into throwing dinner parties and playing chef! I was recently invited to try the free app (current only available for iOS but coming soon to Android and the web) to host a dinner of my own and to take the app out for a test spin.

Here are my thoughts.

THE GOOD

– It’s super easy to use. You can easily set up a new event – it’s almost like just setting up something in your calendar but with additional options (like photos, location, and picking out what kind of menu you’ll be having at your event).
– The lowest price to set for an event is $1 and you control the costs of the event. All payments are currently through Paypal – in the works is the ability to use credit or debit cards without a Paypal account.
– Can easily search for events nearby that you may want to attend. Easily find other home cooks in your area and possibly share a meal.
– Great for starting weekly food clubs or dinners, holding events for pop-up chefs/restaurants, holding charity events or just trying to make a little extra money with home cooked meals and for making new friends.

supperking-hosting-screen

[my pretend puppy bowl party]

THE NOT AS GOOD

Since it’s a new app, there are some flaws with it that SupperKing hopes to address in the future:

– Currently, hosts cannot edit their events so I wasn’t able to add to my description or change anything about my event. But, I was assured this would be changing soon.
– One of my guests registered for my event, but then was removed. I never received her payment and she wasn’t notified that her payment didn’t go through. Definitely needs some kind of notification system so guests can be informed.
– No way to easily contact your guests (or host) from the app if there’s a change or update to the event.
– Currently no way to easily promote on social media if you’re a host, but there is an in-the-works feature that will allow hosts to do this.
– Additional tools would be nice to see, such as photo galleries, voting, and comments – currently no way to communicate with the host/guest to ask questions, or to inform about dietary restrictions or allergies.
– I also felt myself wishing it would automatically add the event to my calendar.

supperking-event

[how the event looks in my "past events"]

SupperKing still has some work ahead of them to create a really robust and great app – but the starting point and idea is a great one! I hope to see the app build up and gain some more events, hosts and followers and that improvements will make this very easy for everyone to use. I could see myself using the app to host future events and play chef again (and hopefully share costs), or to maybe have a charity dinner to raise money for our annual bake sale (who knows!). I probably still won’t want to invite strangers over for dinner, but maybe that’s just me and my anti-social ways…

Now… let’s check out my dinner! I set my price point fairly low ($1) since I was just taking this thing out for a test drive.

dining-table-scape

I did my best to make this look like a restaurant with the table runners, low lights and candles glowing. If I was going to play “chef” for a night, I was going to do it right.

menu-tablescape

I even made menus, yo. I’m so hardcore.

homemade-bread-loaves

[course one: loaves of homemade bread]

When coming up with the menu for this dinner, I wanted to make foods that I loved. One of the things I love, love, love is bread. Seemed like a prime opportunity to break out and use my recipe for No Knead Bread again. This bread is so easy to make and it’s really delicious – all win win! You just gotta prep in advance.

sliced-homemade-bread

[all sliced up]

I baked this bread off that morning and when my guests arrived that evening, I popped the bread in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp it back up. I put a little water on top for “extra crispness”. I forgot to take photos of the accompaniments for the bread, namely a white bean dip made with cannellini beans, onions, garlic, and spices plus little saucers of blood orange olive oil and balsamic glaze.

One of my goals for this year? Bake more of my own homemade bread! I’ll branch eventually (maybe).

crispy-polenta-with-mushrooms

[course two: crispy polenta squares with a three mushroom medley]

Course two involved mushrooms (with thick sliced bacon!) since mushrooms are one of my most favorite things ever.

The mushrooms joining the party were baby bellas, oyster mushrooms and simple little white button mushrooms. They were cooked in butter and more of that blood orange olive oil (new favorite thing!!) along with some bacon, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a touch of fresh rosemary and oregano then topped off with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

polenta-sans-mushrooms

[crispy polenta squares, sans mushrooms]

For the non-mushroom lovers (pfft), they got simple squares of polenta. The polenta was prepped earlier that morning and is simply a concoction of garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper, homemade chicken stock, half & half, and milk with yellow cornmeal. And of course, more Parmesan Reggiano. God, I love that stuff.

This course had a bit of heat that snuck up on you as you ate it. The first few bites didn’t seem spicy at all, but as you went along… bam! Spices!

mini-bao-sandwiches

[course three: bao buns, two ways]

I went all “Asian” for the third course! These were originally supposed to just be pork belly bao buns… but they didn’t have any pork belly at Whole Foods when Jake and I went! I had to compromise and decided we’d do it two ways: one with some really lovely skirt steak we got at Whole Foods and another way with some of the marinated pork belly from H Mart.

The skirt steak was marinated for two days in some Filipino BBQ Marinade called Mama Sita’s. I used the little steamed buns I discovered at H Mart to make these tiny sandwiches. The meats were done up on grill. The beef bao got a slice of skirt steak and a piece of thick cut bacon while the pork belly got little bits of cilantro.

lasagna-muffins

[course four: lasagna muffins]

For the main entree, I went Italian. Yeah, I was pretty much all over the place with this menu.

I didn’t want to do something I made before, but I also didn’t feel like stepping too far out of my comfort zone… so I did lasagna with a twist and did it muffin style. The “muffins” are actually wonton wrappers. I think the wrappers I got were maybe a little too thick for this recipe and in hindsight I would just gotten the regular square ones instead of these thicker, round ones.

I made my own simple meat sauce and Jake helped me layer these up with fresh ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Some of the muffins got two layers of wonton wrappers and some just got one since I ran out. These baked at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. They had a slight crunch on the outside which I could not decide if I liked or not…

lasagna-muffins-with-salad

[lasagna muffins with a simple salad]

The lasagna muffins were served with a simple salad that had a homemade lemon honey vinaigrette as the dressing.

beer-pouring

[pouring for the beer tasting]

I made dessert the night before so I got to have a little break after we finished the entree. Lucky me! We started drinking a bit more beer at this point – sharing a few bottles between the six of us.

beer-tasting-beers

[beer bottles from tasting - only 5 of the 8 we sampled]

The banana bread beer was incredibly interesting.. the flavor in your mouth really did make you feel like you just nabbed a bit of banana bread. The strawberry beer was one of my favorites – it was really more like a wine cooler than a beer (and it seemed kind of fizzy). Off on the far left is a “Friendship Brew” made at Green Flash Brewery just down the street from me. We even had a smoky/spicy beer (the one on the far right) that I decided one gulp full was enough for me. Stacey and Frank brought the Blonde beer and a few others and Heather brought another Peachy beer that again, tasted more like a wine cooler (I also like that fruity one!).

desserts-plate

[course five: desserts! brownie and meyer lemon semifreddo]

After drinking for a bit, I decided it was finally time to dig into the last course: dessert!

I made chocolate brownies with bits of Valrhona chocolate. I thought I overcooked this just a bit since it wasn’t quite as fudgy as the first time I ever made it… but it was still good. It came with a caramel sauce on the side. The caramel was probably the lowlight since my first batch was burnt and I overcompensated on the second batch and didn’t cook it long enough… sigh.

The meyer lemon semifreddo though more than made up for the sadness there since it was DELICIOUS. It was sort of a cross between a mousse and an ice cream since it was a soft, semi-frozen dessert. You create the base and then whipped cream is added and whipped in before you freeze it for a few hours. I added extra lemon to my base so it had a bit of tartness to it – but with just enough sweet to still call it dessert (and not make you do the lemon pucker face).

dinner-group

[the group]

Here’s me and the whole gang! If we had been to the sides more, than Frank would really be looking like Jesus right there…

* Disclaimer: I received a $150 Whole Foods gift card from SupperKing to host my own event and try out the app. All opinions are forever and always my own.

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