Monday, July 29, 2013

Dinner Lab Nashville - Central Thai

Dinner Lab Nashville - Central Thai

It's finally here....Dinner Lab has officially arrived in Nashville!!! A couple of weeks ago I told you about a cool new dining concept that was coming to Nashville ( See that initial blog post on Dinner Lab coming to Nashville HERE). After a much anticipated wait, I walked into a historic warehouse with cement floors in an area of town I had never ventured into previously for an awesome dining experience!

Not only is Dinner Lab a great dining event but also a great place to meet new people! I met some fellow foodies who all work for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee: Amy Fair- Director of Donor Services, Kelly Walberg - Online Marketing & Web Content Coordinator, and Jenn Scheartzenberg - Director of Community Initiatives. The cool thing about meeting these ladies is that Amy and Kelly are from Ohio and Amy is specifically from Toledo, OH...I was born in Toledo, OH and spent the first 12 years of my life there! Jenn is from NYC and when I lived in Philly, my friends and I would travel to NYC every now and then (Boy do I love that place :-). Needless to say, this gave us a lot to talk about!

Check out my unique one-of-a-kind dinner experience below!

We didn't find out where we would be dining until 24 hours in advance of the cool is that! The building where we dined is over 100 years old and the owner is actually working to turn the space into some cool restaurant and coffee shop space. For now, it is an open industrial space that was the perfect backdrop for this event!

Fresh Cucumbers with a spicy dipping sauce
A great selection of wine and cocktails were flowing all evening......
The long communal tables are in place to facilitate networking and meeting new people

Chef Lalita Kaewsawang is the featured Chef for the evening
Per Dinner Lab -  "Chef Lalita has always been a bit of a rebel. Between growing up in Chaing Mai, Thailand, living with a Lao family and working in a Lao Restaurant in her teenage years, Lalita never bothered with pesky "fire code" rules when she began cooling her favorite childhood dishes in her dorm room for the students of Wesleyan University. And, while the administrators eventually shut down Lalita's Mango Tree, they couldn't keep a girl down for long.Chef Lalita now lives and works in New Orleans. Tonight's menu is a compilation of dishes Lalita learned growing up under the tutelage of her Laotian stepmother, and it's always a special night when she throws on the whites!"

Dinner Preparation

Chef Paco Robert will be the featured Chef for next week's Dinner Lab - Puerto Rican Cuisine

Signature Drink - Siam Sling made with Vodka, Lemon, ginger, cucumber, cardamom, leches and an assortment of bitters
The husband and wife bartender team serving up great craft cocktails are Jon and Lindsay Yeager of PourTaste ( They started this business, PourTaste, about a year and a half ago when they got married. They even have a pour taste app for smart phones!

Myself with fellow Nashville Food Blogger, Melissa Corbin of Corbin in The Dell

Diners settling in for the evening

Dinner Lab COO, Drew Barrett, discusses the concept for the evening

Chef Lalita discussing the menu for the evening: Central Thai

1st course - Grilled prawns, green mango, fish sauce caramel, cashews
Somehow, I totally forgot to take a picture of the very first course of the night....YIKES! I think I was so excited to enjoy it that I forgot about the picture...LOL

Thai Tea - This was mildly sweet and paired well with each dish!

gai yang: Coriander-Lemongrass rubbed grilled chicken wings with sweet chili sauce. Along with the dessert, this is probably my favorite dish of the night! There was so much flavor in the one's like they injected it with delicious spices!

pad phrik khing - Dry sauteed pork belly, ginger paste, salted duck eggs, kaffir lime leaves, sticky rice. The sticky was a great texture to pair with the mix of mild and bold flavors of this dish

khanom jiin kaeng kiao wan kai - House made green curry, catfish balls, rice vermicelli, eggplant, crispy basil. The catfish balls were flaky and full of flavor. The green curry flavor was just what I expected....tasty!

Drink pairing for dessert - Milo Chocolate Milk

 ka nom pang sak ka ya - Pandan custard, white bread
This dessert certainly looks simple, but it delivers an unexpected sweetness that I wanted more of! Who would have thought that white bread could be so delicious!?!?!?

Learn more about Dinner Lab @

--Dr. April

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