Austin is lucky to have a thriving foodie population, which offers lots of unique opportunities for new and surprising food experiences. One of the more interesting hidden gems I have encountered lately has been the Supper Friends experience hosted by 2 Dine 4 Fine Catering.
Located on East Side near East 7th and Pleasant Valley Drive is 2 Dine 4 Fine Catering’s facilities, which include a beautifully renovated and totally charming bungalow called The Swoop House. This spot plays host to 2 Dine 4 Fine’s Supper Friends experiences, multi-course meals designed by either the company’s own culinary team, or by guest chefs. (An upcoming event on February 8, for instance, features Perla’s sous chef, Josh Venne). The dinners are open to the public, with reservations available by phone at (512) 467-6600 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We checked it out on a recent Friday night, and found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the beautiful setting, delicious food, and unexpectedly welcoming atmosphere. We arrived at The Swoop House around 7 p.m. for appetizers and cocktails. We were total strangers to the event, and did not know anyone else who was attending.
The Swoop House itself drips with warmth, thanks to lots of cozy lighting, beautiful wood, and charming appointments. The bungalow includes a small bar with a handful of chairs as you enter, which shares a room with the first of three large tables for guests. The tables, scattered between three rooms of The Swoop House, were decked out in white linens with charmingly mismatched white wooden chairs. Guests names await on place cards, as the catering team begins greeting them with trays of appetizers and a welcome cocktail. (Be advised, though, that the rest of the evening is BYOB, so alcohol for dinner is up to guests).
The Supper Friends events evolved as a more interesting method for offering tastings to would-be customers of the catering team. The team noticed that people enjoyed the tasting experience more where more people were sharing the experience, and the setting felt a little less rigid. Thus, the Supper Friends events emerged as a way for potential catering customers to try out the meals for their upcoming events in a festive atmosphere, while also having the opportunity to see others experiencing the potential menu.
The night of our visit, a bride-and-groom-to-be were having a tasting of a Latin-inspired menu. We sampled tasty items ranging from tangy sofrito nachos to an absolutely delicious pork carnitas tamale. The dinner conversation was lively, and guests seemed truly excited and enthusiastic about the experience. The chef and catering team did a great job of keeping guests informed about their offerings, and welcomed input about the quality of the meal.
The Supper Friends experience was one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable food experiences I have had in some time. The menus and dates are announced by email on the Supper Friends mailing list, and are also available on the Supper Friends website. The menu prices change, but generally run anywhere from $45-$75 for a multi-course meal. I highly recommend signing up for the mailing list, or checking out the menus online, and selecting one that tempts your palate. I will definitely be checking out another Supper Friends event soon.