Monday, September 19, 2011

the other night at namu in the inner richmond

the other night, i ended up having an impromptu dinner with sus + a couple of folks she knows. we ended up at namu in the inner richmond. most of us in our dinner party have eaten at namu before...whether it be what they provide at the ferry building farmers market on thursdays and saturdays.....or at the restaurant on balboa and 6th ave. i was pretty confident that the food was going to be good, i've eaten there for dinner before. there were a couple of things different about this experience though.....one, i was there with sus who is friends with a few of namu's extended family of folks and two, this was the first time i'd eaten namu's food since the asian culinary event where the chef, dennis lee, was on the panel. i attended that panel event to support richie......(the top pic and the below pic are of my waiting with the food richie was planning to plate...and my eating at il cane rosso before the event started...i didn't take any pics at namu)....


and listen to him clearly articulate his passion about producing good food with good intentions......as well as efforts to push food forward.....in a public setting. from my perspective, it doesn't matter how many presentations i give....or whether there are only 30ish people or hundreds of people in the audience.... i find that it is always nice to have at least one friendly face in the crowd. this was my primary motivator for attending the event. yet, at that event, i was also able to listen to dennis lee speak about the journey of how namu came to be. the family effort. the challenges that they've experienced and overcome ....during the past few years. how cooking at home was still important despite the busy nature of the everyday lives of the folks at namu. the support that they receive from industry folks that enjoy namu's food.

i already knew that i enjoyed the food i had at the restaurant before, but it i entered the restaurant the other night with a different set of eyes....and a stronger appreciation of what they have been able to accomplish business-wise. i also knew i was going to have a unique experience because sus, in her typical charming self, knows quite a few people at market....including folks that are a part of the extended namu family. eating with industry folks is a unique experience. don't get me wrong....the food is just as good when i don't eat with industry folks....there are usually a couple of "extras" to the experience.

these extras include various table visits to say hi (in this case...to say hi to sus....and be very gracious to everyone else at the table)....and sometimes something that may have been whipped up on the spot. something not on the menu that the kitchen feels like sending out. while we ordered quite a bit of food that was delicious (i.e., oysters, seafood + rice in a pot, sizzling squid, gai lan, and the "korean fried chicken" w/dashi gravy).....things like yummy succulent "duck tenders" appeared at the table as well....which were not on the menu that night....and some kind of korean alcohol at the end of the night that i have NO idea what it was....but we all ended up doing a couple of shots of it at the table. the combination of the food and hospitality helped underscore a truly lovely evening filled with laughter, commiseration, poking fun at various stereotypes, as well as sharing....and eating....so much good food.

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