Fiddlehead launches!

On March 11 we threw Fiddlehead’s inaugural event: a Middle Eastern-inspired dinner and sci-fi reading at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco for the new ebook company FreemadeSF. It was exciting, exhausting, and a success by our measures. We maxed out on guests, delivered on tasty food and drink, and got to ease people into an event of interesting, fun writing. The bartender at the venue, witness to it all, said he thought it was wonderful. Always trust the bartender.

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An ace team came early to help with setup. We had to get the food ready and transform a rock club into a space worthy of a sitdown dinner. Up went tables, down went tablecloths, candles, flowers and place settings. We didn’t want to go overboard on the sci fi theme, but we worked it into the table runners, menus and cool glowing flower arrangements. When attendees started arriving, we set out the hors d’ouevres: grilled halloumi toasts with butternut squash puree with honey from my parents’ bees, and cheddar gougeres made with our own homebrewed porter. Both went quickly, but the gougeres absolutely flew – I’ll be doubling the number I make next time.

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A touch I’m glad we incorporated – thanks to Brick & Mortar’s bartender Terry – were two signature cocktails to complement the meal, the brainchild of our friends at Spiritworks Distillery. The Buck (named after the first story read out loud that evening) was made with rye, vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine and orange bitters. Served on ice, I saw it getting sipped down all over the room. The Barbarella was also popular – gin, grapefruit juice, Campari, honey and mint. It was smooth and strong, and my personal favorite.

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After an hour or so of cocktail hour, we brought out dinner. Sides included shaved asparagus and fennel salad with carrot and sliced almonds, sweet potato fritters with harissa cream, and burnt eggplant with garlic and lemon on cabbage leaves. The main event was a chickpea phyllo pie. We did beef, vegetarian and vegan versions, as well as a gluten-free option. Based on the fact that many people went up for seconds, I’m judging the meal a hit.

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The piece de resistance was a tray of chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel icing, on top of which perched edible logos for FreemadeSF.

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With a room of full and happy guests, our emcee Kat took us through the rest of the evening: four readings, all set to live music. One writer even played the sitar!

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A huge thanks goes out to those who helped with the evening, and to those who attended as well. We can’t wait for the next one!

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