Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Dai Due Dinner

Last night I had the privilege of attending a Dai Due dinner. The brainchild of chef Jesse Griffiths and his partner, farmer Tamara Mayfield, Dai Due is a roving supper club that offers multicourse dinners prepared with only locally produced, seasonal ingredients, grown with sustainable agricultural methods.

As you can imagine, Jesse and Tamara are big supporters of the local food movement, which is how I ended up at the event. Dai Due sponsored a benefit for Green Corn Project, and I attended as a GCP board member. It was a rough assignment: eat wonderful fresh food, drink Texas wines, and discuss one of my favorite organizations, but somebody had to do it.

What this event even more special was that Tom, the owner of the Great Outdoors nursery, offered up his house as the location for the dinner. (I've met him a couple of times now and have unfortunately completely forgotten his last name. Can I blame the wine?)

Tom lives down south, in Manchaca. Driving through his neighborhood, you would never know that a lush oasis lies behind his fence. The area between the back patio and the pool is the highlight of his yard. It's filled with tropical and semi-tropical plants. You could almost feel a slight ocean breeze (if you had enough cocktails). It was still 90+ degrees in the shade.

The property is actually quite large, and I couldn't resist looking around a bit. This side of the yard was the nuts-and-bolts gardening area--a greenhouse, pots, and tools.

Before I could wander too far, it was time to dine, or drink, actually. We started the evening with muddled peach Tom Collins drinks on the patio.

We then moved inside for the eight-course meal: marinated red snapper, shrimp and grits (my favorite of the night), tomato salad, sauteed rabbit loin, poached turkey salad with purslane and oyster mushrooms, butternut squash soup, Veldhuizen cheese, and peaches with cat's tongue cookies for dessert.

I shared the table with a lovely foursome of well-traveled friends. Vietnam has now moved up on my list of places to visit. Between the food, the drinks, the company and the good cause, I couldn't think of a better way to spend an evening.

If you are interested in attending a Dai Due dinner--and I highly recommend it--sign up on their mailing list and act quickly when you get the list of events. Even before Dai Due's mention in the July issue of Food & Wine magazine, its dinners sold out quickly. I imagine they fill up even faster now. You'll be surprised and delighted at the wealth of food available locally.


  1. Dai Due is totally on my list of things to do. Glad to hear it was so much fun. And the menu sounds yummy!

  2. Wow! What a wonderful experience. Food, drink, garden. That's my idea of heaven regardless of the heat.

  3. It does indeed look like a wonderful evening and the setting is lush and oh so green!


  4. That looks wonderful. We have gone to and actually hosted a similar group, Supper Underground, at our home as well. It was such a treat. The garden setting of your dinner was beautiful. I'm not surprised considering all the wonderful tropical things they have at the nursery.