January 20, 2022

Muddy Leek Underground Dinners



Muddy Leek Underground Dinners

A mouth-watering scallop perfectly seared and served with a chanterelle and Goat Cheese Crepe. Chef Whitney Flood also brews beer and offered a delicious spiced Wit beer, brewed especially for the season.

If you want to “un-restaurant” yourself, love gourmet food, like to be surprised and meet new people in an intimate setting that could be someone’s home or a historic venue, there’s a worldwide phenomenon called “Underground Dinners” or “Closed-Door Dinners” that has reached into Topanga.

Topanga’s Bon Melange Catering, established in 2006 by Chef Whitney Flood and his wife and business partner, Julie Retzlaff, is now part of this underground scene that keeps the location a secret until you confirm your reservation, as well as the menu that is revealed when you sit down to dinner.

They began the monthly underground events early this year as another outlet for Flood’s creative nature and to let more people know about them.

“We like to throw parties and this way I can experiment with new ideas, do what I like, and let more people know about us,” says Flood.

A rainy Saturday evening, November 12, was the last event of the year, held at the Mountain Mermaid that welcomed guests with a blazing fire, a selection of wines, Flood’s own brew of spiced Wit beer and tasty hors d’oeuvres passed around to about forty guests by the accommodating wait-staff.

Music by guitarist Matt Van Winkle enhanced the evening.


Muddy Leek Underground Dinners

Chef Whitney Flood doing what he does best for those who love what he does.

We staked out our seats arranged at long tables set with white tablecloths, china and silverware when we arrived.

We had no idea who we would be sitting next to. They were total strangers, not from Topanga, a cellist and his father. The conversation came easily as we learned things about each other and found areas of common interest.

Conversation ceased with arrival of the amuse bouche, a basil and corn cake, then picked up between servings of a starter of roast Kabocha Squash with Pine Nuts and Black Truffle; a Salad of Winter Greens with Persimmon and Citrus Pomegranate dressing; and mouth-watering Seared Scallops accompanied by a Chanterelle and Goat Cheese Crepe. The entrée was Braised Niman Ranch Lamb Roulade au Jus with Celeriac Puree and Carrot Chips. Dessert was a deliciously decadent Almond-Hazelnut and Pistachio Florentine graced by a Port Cherry reduction. Plates of cookies were extras.

These gourmet dinners are a true mélange of local, seasonal, organic, sustainably grown and hormone-free products, well worth the $85 ticket.

Their next underground event is scheduled for the end of January, 2012. For reservations, go online to bonmelangecatering.com/muddyleek. For further information, contact Julie Retzlaff by e-mail julie@bonmelangecatering.com or phone (310) 584-6593.