Foodies go underground … literally!

Chef Dustin Busby

Chef Dustin Busby

My sister-in-law, Tess Richard, and I, armed with a little poem we had been emailed, set out for the 100 block of Gay Street last Friday night looking for a very special party.

It was another of the super fun “Trust Fall” dinners. Trust Fall is an underground supper club. Attendees vie for a limited number of tickets that sell out in a matter of minutes — maybe seconds! They don’t know where they are dining until the day of the event when they receive an email that usually tells them the location. But, in this case, all we got was a rhyming riddle.

“What secrets remain — oh, the suspense!/Your clandestine affair is set to commence

You’re about to join a most unusual tribe/Whose primary intentions are to eat and imbibe”

We definitely wanted to find that party! We were aware that the chef for the evening would be Dustin Busby, the proprietor of the Hoof food truck. His partner in the endeavor, handling the wine pairings: Blackberry Farm sommelier and director of food and beverage, Andy Chabot. But where was the darn place?

“Our wandering clan moves from place to place/But our Village stays hidden with nary a trace

The white rabbit is fast and follow you must/The door may seem small, but to fall you must trust”

You only are allowed to purchase two tickets to the Trust Fall dinners. Tess and my brother, Jimmy Moxley, had arrived in Knoxville about 4 that day. I told her I had something interesting for her to do. My husband, Alan, and Jimmy were on their own.

“Finding our wonderland entails cunning and wit/It’s not for the timid. Are you ready to quit?

Surely not, I declare! This game you will play/Your journey begins on one hundred South Gay

Search the block close until you can spy/A darkened storefront with a torch to read by.”

Tess and I went up one side of the 100 block and down the other looking for darkened doors and torches. Nothing. We did it again. We saw two other couples whom we suspected were looking for the same thing. Then we lost the other couples. They must have found the location! Then I got a text from one of my friends who is on the host committee. (We aren’t allowed to reveal their identities.) “You walked right by earlier,” the text said. “Retrace.”

We did. Finally, we noticed some folks gathered in the tiny little office of a graphic design firm called The Village. In the window, almost unnoticeable, was a burning candle. The torch!

As soon as we entered, we were ushered through the space and onto a back porch where a charcuterie tasting was set up and champagne was being poured. It was a non-vintage Stephane Coquillette.

 

Andy Chabot, sommelier and director of food and beverage at Blackberry Farm, and his wife, Sarah Chabot.

Andy Chabot, sommelier and director of food and beverage at Blackberry Farm, and his wife, Sarah Chabot.

This charcuterie display was awaiting our arrival, as well.

This charcuterie display was awaiting our arrival, as well.

Matt Gallaher, the chef owner of Knox Mason, was a guest at this Trust Fall dinner. He was the chef at one of the dinners not too long ago.

Matt Gallaher, the chef owner of Knox Mason, was a guest at this Trust Fall dinner. He was the chef at one of the dinners not too long ago.

Country pate and tomato jam.

Country pate and tomato jam.

Christopher and Shona Burger are proprietors of Century Harvest Farms in Greenback. They provided a lot of the food for the dinner.

Christopher and Shona Burger are proprietors of Century Harvest Farms in Greenback. They provided a lot of the food for the dinner.

“All this was just beef and cucumbers until my partner, Dustin Busby, got ahold of it,” Christopher Burger said.

From left, Tom and Sallie Namey, Shona Burger and Caroline Levenson.

From left, Tom and Sallie Namey, Shona Burger and Caroline Levenson.

After 45 minutes, it was time to change locations. We were escorted down a staircase, and soon we found ourselves underneath Gay Street. We went north under the road and came out beneath the Gay Street viaduct.

Here's Tess heading down.

Here’s Tess heading down.

The folks at The Village designed the logo for Trust Fall.

The folks at The Village designed the logo for Trust Fall.

Under Gay Street.

Under Gay Street.

Moving along.

Moving along.

Here's where we popped out!

Here’s where we popped out!

This prep area was a very good sign.

This prep area was a very good sign.

The first course would be served on these pieces of slate. Very cool.

The first course would be served on these pieces of slate. Very cool.

We went inside this door.

We went inside this door.

And we saw this beautiful table!

And we saw this beautiful table!

My place.

My place.

Bread was served in small cast iron skillets.

Bread was served in small cast iron skillets.

Cherry wood smoked tilapia and celery salad.

Cherry wood smoked tilapia and celery salad.

It was delicious and very smoky. Which is why it paired so nicely with the Ramey chardonnay from Sonoma Coast.

Next up was my most challenging dish of the evening: wild burgundy escargot with bread and onions.

I forced myself, out of principle, to eat one snail. But the onion, sauces and toast were delish.

I forced myself, out of principle, to eat one snail. But the onion, sauces and toast were delish.

Wine pairing was Bergrstrom pinot noir from Willamette Valley. I really like pinot noir.

Tess and I agreed the best dish of the night was this homemade stuffed pasta with parsnip and pear agri doux. It doesn't look it, but it was unbelievably light.

Tess and I agreed the best dish of the night was this homemade stuffed pasta with parsnip and pear agri doux. It doesn’t look like it, but it was unbelievably light.

Wine was an Altesino Brunello di Montalcino.

Then, it was time for a little break. We took a stroll into a courtyard surrounded by an urban forest.

This way to the courtyard!

This way to the courtyard!

Past the meters.

Past the meters.

Interesting twig sculptures divided the back lots of some of the residences out there.

Interesting twig sculptures divided the back lots of some of the residences out there.

Here's the courtyard.

Here’s the courtyard.

 

Back inside, some very delicious chicken was being served. It was accompanied by carrots and beans.

Back inside, some very delicious chicken was being served. It was accompanied by carrots and beans.

A wonderful Feraud-Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape was the wine. Yum.

Larry and Deb Fauver were among the guests.

Larry and Deb Fauver were among the guests.

As were our downtown friends Breese and Kathryn Johnson.

As were our downtown friends Breese and Kathryn Johnson.

We were getting pretty full by the time the coal roasted beef with Swiss chard, potatoes and grilled grape sauce came out.

We were getting pretty full by the time the coal roasted beef with Swiss chard, potatoes and grilled grape sauce came out.

And the “big” wine: Chappellet cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley.

Dessert, if you can believe it, was apple stack cake!

Dessert, if you can believe it, was apple stack cake!

It was served, according to our menu cards, with a 2007 Niepoort Garrafiera tawny port. But, at this point in the evening, I really couldn’t swear to what we were drinking! Just that we liked it! I loved the “food suggestions” on the wine’s website: Garrafeira is a fine and elegant port and is best appreciated on its own and in good company. Ha.

I think Cari Gervin of Metro Pulse enjoyed the evening as much as we did.

I think Cari Gervin of Metro Pulse enjoyed the evening as much as we did.

Here's Tess, my sister-in-law and good friend.

Here’s Tess, my sister-in-law and good friend.

More sweets were delivered at the end of the mean. I couldn't even THINK about eating them!

More sweets were delivered at the end of the meal. I couldn’t even THINK about eating them!

Dead soldiers.

Dead soldiers. There were seven different wines served! Not counting the champagne at the start.

I think Matt Gallaher, who sat to my left and who knows a thing or two about fine dining, summed up the evening best. “Without a doubt, this will be the best food and wine pairings served on Sept. 26, 2014, anywhere in the Southeast!”

Bravo to everyone involved with putting this evening together. And thanks so much.

(Click here to read about a previous Trust Fall dinner.)

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9 Responses to Foodies go underground … literally!

  1. Ellen Robinson, on September 30th, 2014 at 3:43 pm said:

    These dinners are so fun! I am sorry we missed this one. Too much to do in Knoxville this time of year. BTW, Mox, your food photography is outstanding! Worthy of Saveur IMO. Starving now!

  2. Alan Carmichael, on September 30th, 2014 at 3:58 pm said:

    I went “underground” also, meaning not on the Blue Streak this time. You outnumbered us on courses. Jimmy and I had one course each; he had pasta and I had a hamburger at Trio.

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on September 30th, 2014 at 9:26 pm said:

    Thanks, Ellen! Alan: Sorry to abandon you. But, it sure was fun!

  4. Gay Lyons, on October 1st, 2014 at 11:11 am said:

    Darn! I meant to go to this. Ellen’s right–so much to do. Autumn in Knoxville is a flurry of great events & fun times.

  5. Georgiana Vines, on October 1st, 2014 at 11:23 am said:

    I’d like to know how to try to get in on the next one.

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on October 1st, 2014 at 12:11 pm said:

    Hey, George (and everybody). There are two ways to get on the list to be notified about upcoming Trust Fall events. Follow Trust Fall on Instagram (#trustfallknox) or email them at trustfallknox@gmail.com and ask to be put on the list.

  7. Ryan Levenson, on October 1st, 2014 at 1:43 pm said:

    I agree with Matt… It was (by far) the best dining experience in the Southeast on that night. For us, it was the best dining experience of our lives. We couldn’t have asked for anything else. Thanks to everyone involved. Great food and camaraderie.

  8. Tess Moxley, on October 1st, 2014 at 8:26 pm said:

    I am honored that Cynthia Moxley selected me to be her guest! This was a fun filled evening with spectacular food and wine! I would like to take this time to thank everyone involved in presenting this awesome event!

  9. Cynthia Moxley, on October 1st, 2014 at 9:51 pm said:

    Tess: You were my number one choice because I knew you would be up for adventurous eating! And you were. (Even though you cut off the smallest piece of snail I have ever seen to taste! Ha!)

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