Start with the exotic Silk Road cuisine of Laíli restaurant and dress it up with specialty olive oils and vinegars from The True Olive Connection and you have the recipe for Edible Monterey Bay’s next exciting Supper Club, popping up in Santa Cruz on Monday, November 5th.
Actually, what started the whole idea was ice cream. Laíli owner, Wafi Amin, had been working with Mary Cody at Polar Bear Ice Cream on a new flavor that incorporated some special spices. She mentioned that the folks at True Olive were starting some similar projects with her and that they should meet. So Wafi went over to the neighboring business in downtown Santa Cruz and the rest is history. Not only did a dinner plan get hatched, there are now three of the shop’s vinegars featured on Laíli’s menu.
Since opening in November 2010, the two couples that own The True Olive Connection—Susan and Michael Pappas and Guillermo and Mona Silva—have made it their life’s work to promote the benefits and pleasures of quality olive oil. With a large amount of evidence suggesting that many imported olive oils are falsely labeled, blended and sold, having a source for a genuine, pure product here locally is a great resource for us all. Their retail shop and tasting room on Lincoln Street has become an energetic hive for community events such as the First Friday Art Tour. On any given day the store has a selection of 37 olive oils, 27 aged balsamic vinegars and seven other gourmet oils like coconut, walnut and avocado.
Wafi Amin, who brings his Afghan heritage and extensive restaurateur experience together in this striking dining space on Cooper Street, owns Laíli Restaurant, which also came to town in the fall of 2010. The open kitchen, beautiful candle-lit dining room and stone walled outdoor courtyard create a unique place to enjoy Laíli Chef Cori Goudge-Ayer’s interpretations of Afghan cuisine using fresh, local ingredients.
The five-course Pop-Up Supper Club menu, prepared by Chef Cori, will feature items such as Tabouleh with Fig Balsamic, Pumpkin Boranee and Harrisa Oil, Persimmon and Chicory Salad with Walnut Oil and Filet Mignon with Polenta, Chard, Fried Parsley and Eggplant with Eureka Lemon Oil and Pomegranate Balsamic. The imaginative dishes are sure to result in a memorable evening, shared with the Edible Monterey Bay magazine community.
In addition, three special beverage selections are included, starting with a seasonal Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Mimosa. To top it all off, the date of the dinner happens to be the 2nd anniversary of The True Olive Connection, so to celebrate they will offer a special tasting of the evening’s highlighted vinegars and oils along with music on the patio while guests are being seated.