ForageSF Tries to Stay Alive with Mystery Dinners

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Wild Kitchen Mystery Dinner

Where: It's a mystery!

When: July 24-26

Cost: $90

With its underground market shut down by the San Francisco Health Department last month, ForageSF has returned to its other venture: staging pop-up mystery dinners.

The site of these dinners is sent to attendees only on the day of the event. Previous locations have included coffee shops and restaurants, because they're not too intimate: ForageSF's latest e-mail seeks spaces that fit 20 to 80 people.

The next dinner is special for a few reasons.

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Holly A. Heyser
Hank Shaw
​There's a guest forager: Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast. There's a fishing trip on Sunday that people can join to help in foraging the dinner.

And there's ForageSF's business situation.

"The dinners are our way of staying afloat," says proprietor Iso Rabins. "The dinners are our only source of income we have without the market."

Rabins didn't do a dinner last month: "We took a month off with this whole market debacle," he says. But he hopes to get the dinners going again.

This month's eight-course menu is ambitious: local caviar blinis, slow-cooked duck gizzards with duck heart tartare, local oysters, oil-poached rock cod with summer veggies, hand-rolled gnocchi with nasturtium flower pesto, rock cod bisque Provencal, wild mixed greens and flowers with duck gelee and wild grape verjus, and elderberry panna cotta.

Of course, because the dinner is foraged, last-minute substitutions may occur.

Normally the dinners are advertised only by mailing list to help them stay under the radar. Thus we can't give you one-click ordering, but we can tell you the way to get on the mailing list is to visit ForageSF's website and sign up or try the "Contact" link.

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