hole in the sand: pop-down dinners

jan20_pinon.jpg
 

 

Hole in the sand is starting up a new desert dinner series! Each event is a 5-course meal featuring one plant, generally from the Mojave desert or the surrounding regions. This month we'll be dining on Piñon pine. 

This is an intimate dinner gathering with limited seats, and tickets must be purchased in advance online. There will be two dinners on the 20th: one at 6pm and one at 8:30. Please read through all the FAQs below, as there are some important bits regarding the consumption of wild foods.

 

 

ABOUT THIS MONTH'S INGREDIENT

 

Pinus Monophylla (Pinaceae): Single-leaf piñon pine

Inarguably one of the most potent food sources for native populations, piñon pine nuts contain nearly 3000 calories per pound of raw nut, nutritionally rich in the fat and protein categories. The harvest window for the nuts (which are contained in the cones) is very small, and these prized nibbles are also a favorite of critters, so as soon as they hit the ground, it’s over. Cahuilla Indians would stay near the groves throughout the short-lived piñon season in August, shaking boughs to loosen mature cones and catch them in baskets. The green cones can be harvested before they open into toothy balls, which would extend availability backwards to June, but the immature cones are tightly closed and require quite a bit of rendering to coax the seeds from their shells. Traditionally, this is done by roasting them in a pit, opening up the cavities to reveal the nut still tightly bound by its casing. So additional battering ensues. All other times of the year, the needles can be snipped and infused in teas, sauces, oils, vinegars…any liquid really! The resulting flavors can range from bitter and woodsy to punchy and riding the edge of citrus. The flavor of pine is pretty strong and can quickly wipe out any complimenting elements to a dish, so start out modestly. As with juniper, if you’re infusing a stew or sauce, it’s good to contain all the plant parts in a cheesecloth sachet so you can easily remove the needles when you’re satisfied with the flavor; as romantic as it sounds, picking individual pine needles out of your mouth while you’re trying to eat is rather unpleasant and distracting. Trust me, it’s no fun, even when you’re sitting around a campfire in good company.

 

FAQs

 

where does the dinner take place?

The dinners take place at a private residence in north Joshua Tree, CA. After you purchase your ticket(s), you will receive a confirmation email with your receipt, and then a second personal email from Sarah, which will give you the address and directions.

What time should i arrive?

There are two seatings for each dinner: one at 6pm and one at 8:30pm. Please arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of your reservation time, as we will get started promptly and begin serving the first course shortly after the dinner start time.

WHAT IS THE BEVERAGE SITUATION?

Water will be provided for all guests, but if you would like something else to accompany your meal, you may bring that with you. This is BYOB, so please bring any alcoholic beverages you might want to consume. 

where can i see the menu?

Each dinner consists of four savory courses and one sweet course to finish, with each course focusing on one featured ingredient from this region. These dinners aim to creatively bend and exhibit the featured ingredient, reshaping it into a collection of surprising culinary configurations. The menu is not published ahead of time and will be shared with you when you arrive for the dinner. Think of it as an adventure!

I'm a vegetarian

Great! Please select the vegetarian option when you checkout.

WHAT IF I HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY OR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS?

Please contact me with any serious concerns before you purchase a ticket: thesarahwitt@gmail.com   I will do my best, but may not be able to accommodate your specific needs. Please make sure to mention any allergies in the first field in the "additional information" section of the checkout page. 

I'm PREGNANT OR NURSING, ARE WILD FOODS SAFE FOR ME?

Certain ingredients are known to interact with the female reproductive system and are not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing. Although only a small amount of these ingredients are used for seasoning, please be aware of these possible interactions. It may be best to dine with us another time; if you do choose to attend, please note this in the dietary concerns field in the "additional information" section.

I'M NOT PREGNANT OR NURSING, ARE WILD FOODS SAFE FOR ME?

There is an inherent risk in eating any food, but particularly with uncultivated varieties. I have done extensive research on all the plants I use, from both culinary and medicinal perspectives, and use negligible quantities of these plants. Although it's rare, there's always the possibility that a food will not sit well with you. The dinner features one plant, but often I pair it with other wild herbs, so If you have a serious health condition or a compromised immune system, it's best to avoid consuming unknown foods. Please contact me if you have any specific questions about the safety of wild foods: thesarahwitt@gmail.com

what if i need to cancel?

Bummer! Please notify me ASAP. Tickets are non-refundable for cancellations made within 24 hours of your reservation time, or if you fail to show up. The number of tickets available are limited, so let's make sure someone else has a chance to eat if you can't!