Savor Dining- Comtemplative Gastronomy Pop Up Dinner Recap

vegan coconut cake with almond, cocoa and edible flowers.

Something unique is happening in a mid-century style apartment complex tucked away in Scottsdales trendy Old Town neighborhood: A mindfulness based dining experience with ingredient driven cuisine called Savor Dining. This is not your typical pop-up and it couldn’t be more distinct from the club scene only a couple miles away blasting obnoxious music with too much bass (no offense if you like that part of town, its just not for this girl). Background tunes were by the like of Martin Denny and Bela Bartok, and yet somehow the event did not feel uptight or bougy rather it was evident that every detail was thought out and executed with care.

Its creators, Joseph Martinez of Arizona Microgreens and executive chef, Nick Rusticus of Sondor Provisions are the exception to the sterotypical “lazy and entiltled” millenials; each one an entreprenuer in their own right (btw, that sterotype is false). By visiting farmers markets, Nick crafts a local and seasonal menu that changes each week based on what he finds and the dietary needs of his guests (the evening I attended was almost entirely vegan and gluten free). Joseph, through his faraway travels and old world sophistication fills the room with stories of hitchhiking and a solo dining experience that lead to the mindfulness activity he shared with us. He leads us through an excercise in eating that transcends the “bigger, faster, fatter, cheaper” food industry of today. A much needed reminder for me to slow down and really honor the food on my plate.

As a passionate foodie myself, this was a completely new experience that was truly rare and I could not reccomend it enough if you are in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I am still buzzing from playing this “game,” as Joseph describes it.

Lets chat about the food shall we?

spaghetti squash, sweet peppers, black garlic, pickeled beets

With honest enthusiam I might be the biggest spaghetti squash fan you know and I had never before paired beets with it, pickeled no less. The squash was prepared two ways, the typical “noodle style” and cubed, so that with each bite it seemed to melt apart in your mouth. As with nearly every dish served, the vegetables were the true star and the flavor of the ingredients were able to shine.

potato, spinach, mushroom, miners lettuce

Nick shared about his method of poaching these potatoes in a heavily herbed water before roasting them to perfection. It showed great techinique and highlighted his talent. The herb flavor was delicate yet distinct and I loved learning about this new way to elevate spuds…, again proving my point that potatoes are the most versitle vegetable, lol (beer, french fries, gnocchi, potato chips, loaded potato soup, gratin, hashbrowns, latkas. I’ll stop, you get it)

micro greens salad, dates, lemon, sunflower, celery

I am no stranger to the Micro salad from Arizona Microgreens as I buy it for myself and used it in my Marketplace Picks when I owned Superette Cafe. If you are looking for an alternative to your regular romaine or kale, this is worth the try. With the addition of crunchy, salty sunflower seeds balanced with sweet chewy medjool dates this salad had flavor and texture without being doused in dressing.

hierloom tomato, avocado, basil, balsamic, glacier lettuce

Personally the star of this dish was the glacier lettuce. Completely foreign to me, this was my first time seeing and tasting it. It is an edible succulent (very cool) with a velvety texture covered in what look like tiny drops of water, almost fuzzy. As you bite, you feel these little drops pop in your mouth, truly unforgetable for a salad green. Its season starts in the winter and lasts until mid-March when it is too hot, so keep your eyes peeled at the market for this gem. Of course the hierlooms were silky, the basil fresh and bright, and the avocado speaks for itself.

In closing a want to simply express how awesome, cool, lovely, rad, #lit, and unique this pop-up was.

Check out Savor Dining for the remaining available dates.

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