Haiku Review: A Summer Berkshires BBQ by Theory Kitchen

We were all wondering if we should have packed life vests for the flood. But the looming clouds and moody sky only made us anticipate the intricately planned menu even more.

Theo Friedman has been hosting small-scale artistic pop-up dinners in his Manhattan loft for over a year, and last night was his first foray into a large scale more casual dinner event. He and fellow Berkshires collaborator Zach Goldman created a BBQ smorgasbord menu more elaborate than anything I’d seen before, especially in a remote farmhouse by two under-thirty culinary masterminds.

The kitchen was a pop-up tent, where Theo, Zach, and streams of helpful friends grilled, chopped, sauced, and served things like shuck-your-own oysters, brisket tacos with salsa rosa, homemade sausages with fresh tzatziki, charred escarole with fried onions, zucchini in romanesco sauce, and a panzanella salad so good I cried a little. And I’m definitely forgetting at least five other dishes that roamed all over the misty field. This grilled hen-of-the-woods, for instance.

People brought their babies, their dogs, their dog-babies (see above) their own picnic blankets, a badminton court, various decadent libations, and a multi-generational snacking festival emerged. Even 30 minutes of pretty heavy rain couldn’t dampen the spirit, though it did do a number on the open grill, lovingly revived by many stakeholders.

After the rain, it was time for dessert, poetry, rainbows, and a campfire. It really could not have been more perfect.

But truly, the dessert was a highlight for me. It was like when a beautiful woman arrives at a party and for a minute nobody can talk about anything but her. That beautiful woman was ice cream. Theo whipped up strawberry and angostura bitters dry ice sorbet, paired it with Meyer lemon frozen yogurt, drizzled them with lavender caramel, then flung smoked salt upon the millieu like it was a careless gesture. Yet something makes me think it was not careless at all. There was also strawberry shortcake, which is what I apparently got a photo of, so here it is.

I would be remiss to leave out the music over the course of the afternoon and evening. The playlist, I found out, was thoughtfully curated by local DJ and drummer Jules Jenssen, who I briefly interviewed (along with other scenes and views from the occasion) here.

Yes, it was a good day.

Learn more about Theory Kitchen below.

Much love.