Culture November 28, 2017
High risk, high reward?
They say technology is making us less adept at face-to-face interaction. But what about an app thats entire purpose is to bring people together IRL?
No, I’m not talking about Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel. Forget about dating apps for the moment. (Though if a connection arises, who am I to judge? Get yours, girl.)
Instead, imagine a Thanksgiving dinner with all of the best parts of the holiday – food, cocktails, all of the PIE – but without any of the negatives – judgment about your new tattoo or hair color of the month, your crazy Aunt Betty or your kind, yet pretty overtly racist grandparents… I digress.
Oh – and did I mention? – you don’t have to cook any of it.
Because that’s exactly what I did this year, thanks to the Kitchen Table App. Of course, I was surrounded by strangers, but high risk, high reward… I guess?
For the app’s Friendsgiving event, they brought together 70 people at The Daily Dose Cafe in the Arts District of Los Angeles. We squished together at picnic bench-like tables, on the most adorable vine-covered patio decorated with small chandeliers, lanterns and, my favorite, twinkle lights.
If I were so vain as to think Kitchen Table App had been targeting me specifically, I would have said they saw me coming from a mile away. Because those lights combined with the photo booth at the entry – boy, does your girl love a photo booth – and I was a fan before the dinner even started.
But it only gets better from there. Upon walking to the center of the patio you could see an adorable arrangement of mouth-watering pies and the pièce de résistance, two glass beverage dispensers, one of which was topped off with floating apple slices.
Turns out, these were the specialty cocktails for the evening, Thanksgiving Daiquiris, a collaboration with LA’s Greenbar Distillery. And the darling pitcher the wasn’t decorated with apples? Yeah, that one was flavored with cinnamon.
They also had mint on the table, instructing guests to fill their glasses with ice and a combination of the mixtures, before pulling off a mint leaf and clapping it in your hand to release the flavor. Then you drop it in your drink, and enjoy. And enjoy it, I did.
Now, when I signed up for the event on the Kitchen Table App, I randomly selected a host. I just needed two seats to accommodate myself and my friend. Who cares where we sit if they’re all strangers anyway, right? Well, there seemed to be a little serendipity when it came to our host, Alison U., because not only was she flat-out awesome, but the movie and TV costumer was an amateur baker like myself. We both made the same dessert to celebrate the 2015 Oscars (Courtesan au Chocolat from “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and she was good friends with my boss from my first job in LA. Guess Hollywood isn’t so big after all.
We also ended up seated across from a character from a very popular teen drama – yes, you’ve heard of it – and a Hollywood manager. It’s funny how natural and commonplace it is to meet people “in the business” after a few years in Los Angeles.
And you know what? They were all great. Everyone mingled, opened discussion up to the table and nobody bogarted the Mexican street corn (which was the best dish, IMO). It might sound like we got lucky with our table, but after they did host introductions, it seemed like it was pretty hard to pick out a bad one.
There were food bloggers, chefs and two people who work to showcase people of color in the craft beer world. And they all seemed awesome and personable. Like, I want to go sign up for everyone’s upcoming events.
I guess it’s about time I tell you about Kitchen Table App, huh? It’s pretty interesting. Kitchen Table App “brings people together to share dining experiences, make memorable meals accessible and easy, and redefine what it means to eat local,” per its website.
After creating your account on the (free) app, you can browse events in your area. Each will list the host, where and when it will take place, what cuisine it will be and how much the meal will cost. It will also show you how many seats are available “at the table.” And it’s super easy to join.
Now, for someone who loves entertaining… but lives in Los Angeles, this is kind of a dream app. You don’t have to worry about slaving over a stunning spread (and themed cocktail!) just for your friends to bail at the last minute. You’d think if you’re paying for your seat you’d be at least a bit more likely to overcome the flaky LA stigma and actually show up, right? (I’m not bitter.)
Bottom line is, I know we’ve kind of made a joke about how technology can do just about anything these days with the whole “there’s an app for that” phrase, but in this case, there really is. If you’re looking to meet new people, eat delicious food and get buzzy on some high-class cocktails (or not, no drinking required!) Kitchen Table App really can do that for you.
And I’m about to undergo some (free) host training, so it could potentially put you at a dinner table with yours truly. I know, I know, this app is what dreams are made of. (I kid.)
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