As someone who loves to cook and host at my home, the Kitchen Table App intrigued me. If you saw my weekly shopping cart at Costco, you would imagine me returning home, cooking for enough young children to fill half a soccer team. In reality, I cook for myself and my husband (and occasionally sneak some of my culinary treats to my two German Shepherds).
Kitchen Table App describes itself as a way to cook or attend a meal all while making new friends and meeting neighbors. I relish any opportunity to host my friends and family in my home, and the opportunity to do this more often was enticing. My husband and I recently purchased a new home in Northeast Los Angeles, and haven’t had much opportunity to meet our new community. I went into Kitchen Table App’s event intrigued and excited to learn more.
Kitchen Table App hosts large monthly events based around a theme, and offers users the opportunity to host their own events and meals. The theme of Kitchen Table App’s event was Oktoberfest. I opened the app to reserve my seat with a specific host. All six hosts had very interesting backgrounds including a food blogger, comedian, and entrepreneur. It was difficult to choose between Devon, head brewer of Arts District Brewery, and Christopher, the oyster proprietor, who was shucking oysters tableside. The night was gearing up to be good! I realized that my love for oysters outweighed my love for beer, and chose to sit with Christopher. Using the app was straightforward, easy, and exciting! I easily paid through the app, and my seat was waiting for me.
This hosted event took place at the Daily Dose Cafe in the Arts District. The patio was beautifully lit with string lights. A live band playing traditional German music greeted guests as they walked in, recreating the feeling of a small beer garden in the south of Germany. Arts District Brewery was pouring tastes of beer, and attendees snacked on roasted nuts while pretzels and sweet potato fries were served.
As an introvert, I asked myself why I would place myself in a situation where I would be sitting at a table with 10 strangers and forced to interact. This is every introvert’s worst nightmare. I felt some anxiety leading up to the event, but immediately found myself relaxed and at ease when I introduced myself to those at my table. I was seated around two other couples, whose ages ranged from young professionals to retirees, and the table host, Christopher, who immediately started shucking oysters and providing us with oyster education. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily we all got along and carried on with fun conversation. This was the highlight of the evening. Lots of laughter, new restaurant recommendations, and fun was shared amongst the group I sat with. Over plates of roasted veggies, and bratwurst, we carried on conversation as if we all were old friends. The bratwurst served was actually Impossible Meat, a company leading the forefront in plant based meat.
Kitchen Table App touts itself as a way for people to meet and engage neighbors over a meal. At their Oktoberfest meal, they succeeded in their goal. Looking around at all the tables, all diners were engaged and enjoying the new company they met. You would never have guessed that these were tables of strangers who were randomly seated together, but all were interacting.
Kitchen Table App served classic food that was reflective of their $30 price point. The meal included roasted nuts, soft pretzels, sweet potato fries, roasted veggies, and brats in buns along with beer tastings. A evening out at an average restaurant in Los Angeles for an entree and drink would easily run you over $30, so the Kitchen Table App’s meal offered a good bang for your buck. Surprisingly, out of the full menu, the most unique item served was the homemade ketchup. It was spicy and smoky, and unlike any ketchup I have had. The oysters, provided by our host, Christopher, were the true stars of the show. Shucked seconds before I consumed them, I was able to taste the salty and briny complexity of an east coast oyster.
As someone who loves to try new and interesting things, I am always looking for unique and memorable dishes, but I understand that Kitchen Table App must cater to all tastes at their events. Most diners may not be adventurous eaters, however Kitchen Table App provided food that suited even the most simple palates. As someone who dislikes small talk and socializing with strangers, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the unfamiliar company at my table and I recognize the true value of this event: the opportunity to meet new people and to get to know them in a fun and relaxed way.
Kitchen Table App is truly innovative in their vision and mission, and successfully executed these aspects in their Oktoberfest event. I’m looking forward to attending more Kitchen TableApp events in the future. I’ve even caught myself imagining six strangers sitting with my husband and me at our farmhouse dining table. What could I cook? 48 hour sous-vide pork ribs? Forty-clove Garlic Chicken? Slow cooked pork belly seared to perfection? Stay tuned for a future post on me hosting my own Kitchen Table App dinner!