Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ding-Dong, Dine and Dash

Shanghai is a great city for extroverts.  Work, classes, national associations, and alumni association gatherings make getting to know people from all around the globe a regular thing.  

Chris and I love meeting new people and eating, so we were pleasantly surprised to receive the following email from our friend Vivian:

Dear running Chefs,

The stage is set for a second round of the Running Dinner in Shanghai!
We’ll be happy if you join us again for another night of eating, talking and lot’s of fun!
The procedure stays the same:
You will get paired with a complete “stranger”, together you will cook one course and get treated for two other courses – everything in different locations.
At the end of the evening, everyone will get together in a new secret bar.
Yes, it is so secret even we don’t know yet where we’ll all end up after the dessert! (not even to speak of the “after-bar”-location…)

No matter if you can join us again or not:
Don’t forget to spread the word and let your friends know about the running dinner!
To make it interesting again, some “fresh” faces are wanted. 
And as we don’t do more advertising than this, we completely rely on your recommendations or mail forwarding: all stays among friends and friends of friends of friends…

Looking forward to it,

Katja & Christoph

Needless to say, Chris and I were very ready to join in the fun!

Preparing for this dinner kind of felt like prepping for a blind date. I had no idea where I would be going, what I would be eating, or who would be ringing my doorbell.  Luckily, I had Chris as my partner to prep our main course so I would not be completely in the dark. 

Two days after I received an email containing the address for our first course, Chris and I hopped in a cab to Xintandi.   We knocked on the door to find a beautiful warm shrimp salad and new friends from Germany, China and Brazil.  My fears of awkward silence quickly faded when we shared our work, menu plans, and F1 stories.   Forty-five minutes later, it was time to race to our place to put the final touches on dinner.

Joe and his running mate made a yummy salad!

Cooking the main course was a challenge.  We had to prepare a meal that tasted good that could be constructed before our first course and heated right before our guests arrived.  Since our meals were supposed to reflect our home country we prepared roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  As I was putting the final touches on the potatoes and gravy, we heard a knock on the door.  In came more friends from Germany, France, and China.  

Bon Apetit!

We enjoyed dinner with our guests.

After two very yummy courses, I was almost ready to call it a night.  However, there was desert to be eaten!  So we hopped into a car and headed to Top of the City for our desert.  By this time, the prospect of knocking on a stranger’s door in search of food was no longer nerve wracking.  We opened the door to meet more folks from Germany, Australia, China, and Belgium.

After a heavy dinner, I was ready for a little desert.

The Belgian mango cobbler desert was delish!

After finishing our Mango Cobbler it was time to head to Le Cafe des Stagiaires.  Unfortunately, I was getting over a case of pneumonia so I wasn’t able to meet up with everyone at the end of the night.  However, I heard people had a great time!

Running dinner participants got happy hour prices at the post dinner bar. 

Will we participate in running dinner again?  Absolutely! Ding-Dong, Dine, Dash!