Taste of Egypt with the Saffron Supper Club
The Saffron Supper Club.
It’s a place where the love of food and culture combine – and it’s presented to you by the uber-talented team of Maude Eaton and Sara Liss.
Brought together by their love for Persian cuisine (and the lack of it in the Miami area), this dynamic duo created a roving dinner club highlighting the flavors of the Middle East. These dinners have been taking place since 2013, but it wasn’t it until earlier this month that I was able to experience one for myself – and I’m kicking myself for not getting to one sooner.
Eaton, a passionate culinarian who I have known for years, collaborates with the chef to come up with a tantalizing menu, whereas Liss adds in a cultural component to the festivities.
While these dinners have taken place at such restaurants at Byblos Miami, Bocce. and The Sarsaparilla Club, their latest dinner took place at Mina’s Mediterraneo, a hidden gem located in Miami’s MiMo district. (Yes, you need to plan a trip there soon.)
The evening began with a cocktail reception on the outdoor patio at Mina’s Mediteranneo. This isn’t your standard patio, but a hidden oasis, and it was a perfect venue for this event. Guests were served a Dusty Rose Craft Cocktail sweetened with St. Germaine, lime and a splash of rose water that was both light and refreshing — and was paired with a warm, flaky Spanakopita and a savory Kibby, almost like a meatloaf sandwich.
After mingling with the crowd, which included both regulars to the Saffron Supper Club’s events and some newbies, like us, we made our way to the long wooden community tables.
The setting was relaxed, yet sophisticated and the aroma that filled the air made us feel that we had left the bustle of the city. Our worries were gone and it was now time for our palates to take a joy ride.
Menu for Saffron Supper Club
First up – true comfort food – or better known as an assortment of dips (or meze) and pita chips. Pictured below we have a housemade hummus, besara (ground fava beans with cilantro and dill), and tzatziki (Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic and mint). Although I could have filled up on these dips and pita chips, there was much more to come.
Chef/owner Yasmine Kotb, who came to the United States from Cairo, Egypt explained to the group that what was on our menu for the evening was typical for a Sunday night gathering with the family in Egypt. We were in for a treat.
Next in line came a delectable Shirazi Persian Country Salad that was studded with pomegranates. The combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and peppers, not only gave me my vegetable fill for the evening, but had me wanting to lick my plate clean. Light flavors, fresh ingredients – sometimes that’s all that it takes.
As the evening continued, we each received a bowl of aromatic broth – and that was followed by a plate of roasted chicken and Persian rice (with the ever-popular burnt crusts). Although we could have sat and wafted the spices at us and we could have been in a happy place, it was time to create a sumptuous bowl of soup and combine all of the individual ingredients.
A scoop of this, a scoop of that. Now, only if we could create this taste sensation. This was followed by a creamy zucchini bechamel, different than a Greek Moussaka that you might relate more to the bechamel sauce. Layers of zucchini, cheese, ground beef and bechamel made for a hearty dish – comfort food at its finest.
To finish things off, we were served a piece of Konefa, a traditional dessert to the region. This creamy dessert was beautiful in every way (texture, flavor, presentation) and was made with shredded Phyllo, custard and rose water – something that I’ll be dreaming about in the nights ahead.
Mina’s Mediterraneo is located at 749 NE 79th Street, just 2 blocks east of Biscayne Blvd. For more information visit minasmiami.com or call (786) 391-0300.
The Saffron Supper Club hosts monthly events in the Miami area. The next one will be a Nowruz Dinner at Byblos Miami taking place on April 8, 2017. For more information about the club and their upcoming events, visit the Saffron Supper Club on Facebook.