We CraVe Detroit is a pop up dining experience that has started to make waves around the city. The creators Vera DeVera and Craig Dalyrmple relocated to Detroit after of hosting successful dining experiences in California for the lat 15 years. They believe in cooking one of a kind meals that celebrate food. They pair some of the areas best chefs, with some of its coolest non-traditional venues and give people more than a meal, it's more of a experience.
We had a chance to interview the duo before their next event, a Mad Hatter themed dinner that is taking pace this Saturday, October 10th at The Eastern in the Eastern Market. Check out what they had to say to learn more about this new way of dining and make sure to grab tickets before they sell out!
"I (Vera) have been organizing pop-ups since the early 2000s, starting in Oakland and San Francisco, CA, with the Ghetto Gourmet and Canvas Underground.
Unlike many pop-ups here in Detroit, we actually do pop up in various venues (not traditional restaurants or cafes) and also work with a rotating cast of chefs. We CraVe Detroit’s ‘secret’ dining events encourage strangers to meet one another offline, share stories, and make new friends. Oh and eat. Eat lots of tasty food."
Why do you think pop ups have become so popular?
"We CraVe Detroit brings restaurant quality food and an intimate communal dining experience in an “unknown” setting.
People come because they are looking for authentic social experiences that are outside of the traditional means. It’s so hard to have a conversation at a bar or club, and it’s hard to meet people in restaurants.
Bringing people together is what we're really about – we can’t do it without people who are willing to step outside of what they know and try things at least once. This encompasses the chef, our adventurous diners and artists. Everyone is willing to go out on a limb, and this is the common thread among all those who willingly participate."
Why did you choose a Mad Hatter Theme?
"At first the chef and I talked about what was in season and you see most restaurants doing Oktoberfest or harvest themed dinners this time of year. Because I really dig the pallet walled garden at The Eastern, I focused on a garden theme. And that got me started down the rabbit hole: how could I get our diners to participate and also enjoy something they wouldn’t see anywhere else? That’s where the Mad Hatter tea theme came from. We’re encouraging everyone to be playful and sport a fun hat as they dine on tea-infused dishes."
How do you choose the menu selections?
"Once I gave Chef Jared the theme, he ran away with it and based his menu on chapters and imagery from the book.
Amuse Bouche: "Beet Street": Bacon Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Beet Sugar, Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Beet Sugar, Roasted Garlic, Lemon Tea Gastrique, and Sliced Beets.
First: "Rabbit Food": Local Greens and Cheese; Poached Pear; Raspberry Tea Macerated Plum, Lavender, and Black Currant Vinaigrette
Second: "Happy Pumpkin": Heirloom Pumpkin Bisque with Cardamom, Nutmeg, and Vanilla Chai Tea Infusion
Main: "Queen of Hearts": Cherry Chicken Roulade; Ghost Pepper Compound Cheese Filling, Cherry Tea Compote, Grilled Asparagus and Magic Marinated Mushrooms
Dessert: "Eat Me": Mini Apple Galette with Cinnamon Basil, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious Apples, Maple Syrup, and Honey Vietnamese Cinnamon Tea Creme Anglaise"
Where do you get the food from?
"We visited Eastern Market to personally source our vegetables/fruit and poultry directly from the producers. That means we’re working with Melo Farms (again-we love Melody and Lynn Nye), sourcing micro greens from Maple Creek Farm, beech mushrooms from Give and Grow, mini pumpkins from NW Kaltz Farms."
Where will this dinner be hosted (venue)?
"The garden at The Eastern in Eastern Market."
Why are tickets $75 dollars? What does that include?
"There is a lot of care that not only goes into preparing the food but actually growing it -- everything is high quality and we personally know who we’re sourcing the food from. For example, each guest will be eating the heirloom pumpkin bisque from their own mini pumpkin from NW Kaltz Farms. Melo Farms’ poultry will be freshly butchered by Melody and Jared -- they are free-range and antibiotic free. "
Why did you decide to relocate from San Fran to Detroit?
"Craig and I made great money in San Francisco, but we never felt we were getting ahead with our incomes. We worked long hours and the cost of living was just too much. Craig is originally from Western Michigan, and I’m a California girl...but I lived in Oakland just after the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s. We kept tabs on Detroit and it’s revitalization. There’s a lot of positive energy and creativity here and that’s where we want to be. San Francisco has kind of lost its soul in the tech boom and I feel like the Detroit spirit is going strong despite the hardship the city has faced."
What do you like about Detroit? How does it differ from your previous home?
"First of all, we used to rent a 700-square-ft 1-bedroom 20 miles south of San Francisco for $1900/month. Now we have a 3-bedroom with garage and yard for nearly half the cost. In Detroit, you don’t have to watch where you step for fear of stepping in human feces or piss like you do in San Francisco. I admit, I miss sunsets on the San Francisco Bay and hills, but the sky appears much larger in Michigan."
How often do you hold these dinners?
"We hold these dinners twice a month and we don’t do the same menu twice."
How can someone stay in loop if they can’t attend this one or do attend this one and want to come out for the next one?
"They can join our list at wecravedetroit.com."