Tag Archives: Secret Supper Clubs

Bona Sera Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

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Pasta Rogue

This post is mostly food porn showing off the great meal the gang at Bona Sera Secret Supper Club made for the volunteers who gave our time to support the great food and causes Bona Sera supports.

And this was just part of the meal. There was squid dish, potatoes, fresh salad and dessert with lots of wine all around.

Bona Sera is hosting another Secret Super Oct 15, for more info check out their facebook page:

Check out pics from a previous bonasera event

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Caprese Salad

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Lamb with Rice

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Lobster Bisque

Underground Food

First it was secret supper clubs and now there are complete underground food festival and farmers markets.

They Gather Secretly at Night, and Then They (Shhh!) Eat, by Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times

Underground Market: At this quasi-clandestine monthly event, a tribal gathering of young chefs, vendors and their iron-stomached followers are remaking the traditional farmers market as an indie food rave.

At midnight, the smell of stir-fried pork bellies was wafting through the Mission district. There was live music, liquor, bouncers, a disco ball — and a line waiting to sample hundreds of delicacies made mostly on location, among them bacon-wrapped mochi (a Japanese rice paste) and ice cream made from red beets, Guinness and chocolate cake.

In a sense it is civil disobedience on a paper plate.

How they work is that people sign up as members of a super club. As members they are allowed to attend “private” (public) events. The food vendors post that the food has not been inspected with language to some sort, and that allows them to sell their food to the public without the red tape.

The article says that it provides a kickstart for new chef/food business.

So could this take off in Ann Arbor?

AA is getting an outdoor food cart mall this year (Marks Carts) and the AA Farmers Market is also looking to add Wednesday nights this summer to their schedule.

And the passage of the Cottage food Law has also opened up Michigan for more small-scale food businesses.

We also boast secret supper clubs, breakfast clubs and private fundraising dinners.

And there are local food events like the Home Grown festival and street fairs.

So do we need an underground market too?

If there is enough people to support it, I say sure.

I do feel that Underground Food has a cachet, and in this economy any chance to generate some income and possibly make head way with a potential business is good. Most of these underground food markets are in larger cities where there is most likely competition to get in farmers markets and there could be a lot of fees and start-up costs.

With that said, I really would love to see more local food infrastructure to help create more above ground small food ventures.

This means more low-cost or even free commercial kitchens available to support local food product businesses and prepped food vendors.

Maybe local farmers markets or a group of markets could invest in a few food carts and rent them out to would be prepped food vendor.

I bet there would a lot of people who would like to sell prepped food at a farmers market, but do not because of the huge up front cost and commitment. Starting a small prepped food business is costly.

The LunchRoom, an upcoming Ann Arbor vegan lunch cart, successfully raise over $10K in micro donations for their Kickstarter.com campaign. $8,000 will go to their food cart alone, which is on the lower side because they are doing a lot of the building themselves.

I figure part of a local food system could include a few food carts that could be available for rent for a one day or short-term use. I picture it as a permanent fixture at a farmers market with various would be full-time or one time food vendors taking a turn to provide a variety of offerings.

It would be excited to come to a market and see what kind of prepped food was being offered at say “The Farmers Markets food cart.” One week could be pizza, another Philly cheese steak and another Indian food.

Fun, Food and Funk: Bona Sera Secret Super Club

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Bona Sera, Ann Arbor’s secret supper club, provides great food and fun for charity.
But do not tell anyone. It really is a secret.

About 40 people gathered under a tent on a cool September night in Ann Arbor for a clandestine dinner party. The theme of the party was “Fairy Tales Under the Sea.” Guests dined on an elegant six-course meal featuring seafood and were entertained by a sea of drag queens.

This was not an ordinary dinner party. This was a Secret Supper Club.

Secret supper clubs, or underground restaurants, are food gatherings that are held in secret. They are run by passionate home cooks, local food advocates or rogue chefs looking to create adventurous food. They range greatly in size from intimate dinner parties for six to large events held in warehouses. Guests of these events are “foodies” who seek out unique food experiences.

Bona Sera is the brainchild of two women nicknamed “Bad Fairy” and “Wonder Woman.” Their real names, like their club, are also secret. They started Bona Sera in December 2008.

“I had worked with Clandestino in Chicago, and the Ghetto Gourmet in San Francisco,” said Wonder Woman, referring to other secret super clubs. “And when I moved to Ann Arbor, I thought starting a club would be a good way to meet people and be social.”

“The name Bona Sera is actually a typo for the Italian word buonasera, which means good evening,” Bad Fairy said with a wry smile. “Wonder Woman misspelled it, but we had already registered the Web domain name, so we stuck with it.”

To participate in a Bona Sera event, one has to first register online to be a on a mailing list. Announcements about upcoming events, which include the date, theme and menu, are posted on the website: bonaserasupperclub.com. Participants forward an e-mail to reserve a spot. The location, which is different each time, is not disclosed until a day before the event. Fans of Bona Sera generously donate their homes to host the secret suppers.

Why all the secrecy? Technically, these events are illegal. Only a licensed caterer can offer prepared food to the public for money out of a private home. Bona Sera, like most secret super clubs, does not have a license.

“We had some people who attended past events that were in a position to arrest us,” said Bad Fairy. “We could be fined.”

“And they would take our food away,” Bad Fairy said sadly.

“We use the words suggested donations,” said Wonder Woman. “And we change locations every time.” These were tricks that she picked up from Clandestino to avoid getting caught.

Guests do not have to pay any specific amount for the meal, but $50 is the suggested donation.

All of the money raised from these parties after the cost of food goes to charity. The charities for this event were Uncle Rock’s Place, an organization that provides support for patients with HIV/Aids and their families and The Ozone House Kicked Out Fund, which is a shelter for runaway gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

“We like to find organizations where a small amount of money would provide a larger impact,” said Wonder Woman. “This supper club raised about $1,200. We have raised around $10,000 for local charities.”

“Most people do this as a business,” said Wonder Woman. “We’re the only one I’ve read about who does it exclusively for charity.”

Bona Sera has an all-volunteer crew who works for free, including the entertainment. It has also established good relationships with local food suppliers like Monahan’s Seafood, which supports the club by providing discounts. These relationships mean that Bona Sera can raise more money for its charities.

The food for these events is eclectic, which mirrors both women’s food tastes and style.

One supper club featured a whole roasted pig. Another had a Mexican street food theme.

“People seem to like it. It is unique and invented,” said Bad Fairy. “A food critic commented that the squid was so tender that he thought it was pasta.”

“We try to put a twist on things,” said Wonder Woman. “We did a fried pig’s ear served with salad. And we did a Gorgonzola and burnt honey ice cream.”

“We drink wine, and it comes out of our head,” said Wonder Woman, referring to how they create a menu. “Themes come from a dish we want to do.”

Not all events go as smoothly as they would like. The grill stopped working at their largest-attended event, and on another occasion they stacked their home-made ravioli wrong, which resulted in them all sticking together. “It took us forever to get them apart and we were only able to serve one per person instead of three,” said Bad Fairy.

“The next will have a duck theme,” said Wonder Woman.

They are planning their next event sometime in early December. And there is talk of a future “mushroom theme.”

To get in on the secret, go the bonaserasupperclub.com and sign up to be on the mailing list.

Bona Sera Secret Supper Club: Night of a 1000 Drag Queens

Ann Arbor Food For those not in the know, secret supper clubs are underground restaurant/catered events that operate in secret. The reason for the secrecy is because they usually are run out of a home kitchen that is not certified. This makes it technically illegal to charge for the meal. The way around this is to have a charity sponsor the meal and ask for a “donation.”

This makes it a fund raising event/meeting, which at least in the state of Michigan, makes it possible to serve a home cooked meal/bake goods for a donation. I am not completely sure how this all works, so to be safe and to make sure these dinners are not shut down, they are held in secret.

With this said, since Bona Sera is a secret supper club, and the people involved are sworn to keep their secret, I can not confirm or deny any of the people present, the location, or anything else about the latest Bona Sera Dinner event.

The Secret Menu?

Assorted Apps:
Herb Tomato Focaccia

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Mushroom Focaccia

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Corn “Ho” cakes with goat cheese and zebra tomato

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Grilled plantain with chevre and chive

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Assorted Sushi

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Grilled cooked clams with lime brown butter

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First Course

Popsicle Melone con Frutta Fresca (Melon Popsicle with Fresh Fruit)

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Second Course

Anima Sacra Ravioli with Lobster Prosecco Beurre Blanc

(Sacred Heart Ravioli with Lobster Prosecco Butter Sauce)

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Third Course

Molte Pieghe Naked Fichi con Formaggio di Capra

(Naked Figs with Goat Cheese)

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Fourth Course

Rapporti di Maiale con Melone Gazpacho

(Intercourse of Pork with Melon Gazpacho)

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Main Course

Your Choice of:

1. Parmigiano Cotta della Melanzana

(Grilled Eggplant Parmesan)

2. Roquefort del Manzo con le Noci

(Beef Roquefort with Walnuts)

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3.  Pesci Bianchi l’avocado ed il Gambero l’avocado ed il Gambero

(White Fish with Cream, Avocado and Shrimp)

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Chocolate Orgasm Torte with a Zabaglione Stonefruit

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