Urbanspoon Dine-Around Dinner at the 5th Annual International Food Blogger Conference

Posted: September 26, 2013 in Dessert, Drinks, Events, Food, Restaurant
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 5th Annual International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) brought about many different activities and opportunities for all attendees. While a majority of the conference took place at the W Hotel in Downtown Seattle, attendees would find a few activities that took place outside of the hotel. One such event, the Urbanspoon Dine-Around Dinner, provided attendees an opportunity to have dinner at a mystery location with a pre-selected group. This Surprise Supper, as they put it, covered dozens of restaurants over various towns/regions in & around Seattle, and placed attendees at these locations, mainly based on dietary needs if necessary (i.e. vegans went to a vegan restaurant). Each group would depart the hotel to the location via shuttle at various times depending on the group, leaving as early as 7:00 pm to as late as 8:30 pm. No one in charge divulged any information about any of the locations until Saturday, when attendees could trade their positions for other groups. For example, I got originally placed in the Downtown 2 group, which ended up at RN74, but I traded that spot away for Belltown 2, which I later discovered would land me at Spur Gastropub.

Led by chef/owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, Spur Gastropub pays homage to the local area’s pioneer, fishermen, and outlaw roots. Sourcing only local ingredients, Spur’s menu changes frequently based on availability of products in the season. With an eclectic and modern American menu, Spur takes traditional cuisine and applies modern techniques to preparation. For our dinner, Spur served us a five-course meal with one complimentary drink, which I exchanged for a local beer on tap. I shared the table with ten other individuals, including Jessica Tupper, Carrie Trax, Bordeaux Wines, and more.

For our starting amuse-bouche, we received a Sockeye Salmon Crostini with mascarpone, capers, and pickled shallots. Available year-round on their menu, Spur sells these two-bite starters individually for $4 each.

Spur served us their Chicory Salad as our first course. A simple chicory & sorrel salad topped with Gorgonzola cheese and candied pecans, the lack of dressing allowed us to taste the ingredients’ real flavor without the heavy saturation of dressing found in corporate restaurants. This salad sits on Spur’s seasonal menu for $10.

We received a plate with Venison Tartare next. I have eaten venison and tartare previously as separate preparations, but I have not tried this combination yet. Spur tops the venison tartare with compressed yogurt, sliced cucumbers, and dark berries. Olive oil crostinis accompanied this dish to help break down the intense gamey flavor of the venison. Finding its place on Spur’s seasonal menu, you may order this for $18.

For our third course, our servers brought out this plate of Seared Gnudi. If you can picture gnocchi, then you can envision gnudi, made with ricotta cheese and flour instead of potato. Served with sharp cheddar, soubise sauce, and radishes, this course carried the best comfort food feeling so far, as it reminded all of us about gnocchi. Only available this season, you can try this amazing twist on a classic for $18.

The fourth and main course of dinner came out in the form of Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks. Sitting on a bed of red cabbage, crispy spaetzle, and compressed cider (the cubes on the plate), Spur has reinvented this dish from their menu. Although it currently appears on their seasonal menu for $26, Spur plated this dish unique just for us, using spaetzle in a creative manner to accompany this pork cheek. Like any slow-cooked meat, this pork cheek fell apart so nice and smooth when biting into it. Spur got this dish right, and I feel sad for seeing it on their seasonal menu, knowing that it will not linger around for much longer.

After the main course, our servers brought out a palate cleanser. Deceiving me at first glance, these large spoons held something icy and cold, not grainy like it appeared to me. I cannot accurately describe this, but it tasted sour and slightly salty… like a margarita.

Finally closing out the evening, Spur plated for us this White Peach, Jasmine, and Leatherwood Honey dessert, a mixture of various desserts. A scoop of peach sorbet sat on a layer of plum powder, providing the tart taste for this dessert. A piece of sponge cake and slice of white peach accompanied the sorbet, plus two pieces of meringue. Guests can order this off Spur’s regular menu for $10.

We all wrapped up fairly quickly following dessert, while I still had a drink to chug. With no shuttle to bring us back, we all walked back to the hotel collectively; luckily, the weather did not give us any problems, save for a bit of wind. On our way back, we spotted this oddly-placed ice cream statue on the corner of 4th & Blanchard.

Thanks so much to Urbanspoon for the dinner and opportunity to explore a fine local establishment. Can you believe that Urbanspoon covered dinner and a drink for all of this year’s conference attendees? Not every conference attendee could make it to the dinner due to its start late in the night; in fact, we did not leave Spur until about 10:30 pm, three hours after the shuttle left the W Hotel. So far, everyone that attended a dinner has reported great success in the event, but everyone had something to say about the late dinners. More likely than not, Urbanspoon will rectify that issue next time, should Urbanspoon redo this dinner special at next year’s conference. In the meantime, check out the local eats around Seattle, as they have lots of unique cuisine that I have never seen nor heard of.

  1. It looks beautiful! We had a great dinner too (and you could’ve been with us, but…. :P). I have to give you a hard time, you know. 😉 Great pictures! I could go for another meal like this!

  2. […] Urbanspoon Dine-Around Dinner at the 5th Annual International Food Blogger Conference […]

  3. Alice says:

    Looks like you had a fab dinner! Did you love the Urbanspoon Dine-Around? I loved ours! My post isnt up yet though!

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