Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Tiny Kitchen returns!

I am pleased to announce the return of The Tiny Kitchen next month and will host dinners for six guests on Sunday, December 4th, and Sunday, December 11th. There will also be a special New Year's Eve dinner for eight guests (location/menu forthcoming). 

The seven-course tasting menu is below. If you would like to reserve your seat for Sunday, December 4th, or Sunday, December 11th, please email trevormsparks@gmail.com with the names of the guests in your party. 

White Gazpacho
Chesapeake Bay Crab Tostada

Aloo Paratha
Braised Lamb Shank
Brussels Sprouts Smash

Seasonal Fruit Tarte Tatin
Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Panna Cotta

For those dining on Sunday, December 11th, I will have the honor and privilege to share my kitchen and cook with my mother, Lorie Garver. Full payment of $75 per guest is kindly requested a week prior to your dinner (via Venmo/PayPal). An additional wine pairing is also available for $35 per guest. Dinners include complimentary Evian water, fresh artisan bread, and La Colombe coffee/tea.

I look forward to cooking for you.

-Chef Trev

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Tiny Kitchen: May dinner menu now ready!

The dinner menu for May at The Tiny Kitchen will be:

Beer-Braised Pork Belly, Rocket Greens and Pear Salad

Frenched Pork Chop with Red Onion Soubise, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Please email The Tiny Kitchen if you would like to make a reservation for either Saturday, May 21st, or Sunday, May 22nd. The price is $38 per guest, and an optional wine pairing is available for an additional $20 per guest.

I look forward to cooking for you!

-Chef Trev

Mother's Day 2016 at the Dilawri residence
Potomac, MD
(photo by Shravan Dilawri)

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Tiny Kitchen: Recap from April & May dinner info

Hands down, the Tiny Kitchen dinners on April 23rd and 24th (pictured below) included food that has been some of the most enjoyable to prepare. I mean, come on, who doesn't enjoy ricing potatoes and rolling out gnocchi (thanks Aunt Amy!)--so methodic and soothing--and then turn potatoes into dough, to then see them become little dumplings that soak up ALL THE SAUCE . . . what more in life and out of your kitchen does one need?

Making Panna Cotta (thanks Arjun!) for the first time was a unique and interesting experience. I even bought a scale and gelatin to make sure I made the Italian dessert to the EXACT specifications since I hadn't yet made it before. And after Saturday's first run, I increased the ingredients for Sunday by 150%--and tripled the fresh raspberry garnish: A VERY GOOD DECISION.

And replicating one of the best kale salads I have ever had west of the Mississippi (from Mariposa in Sedona--thanks Momma!) tickled my senses and memory recall in the loveliest of ways--just like the Copper Pennies (thanks Granny!).

A FINAL TRUTH: when I thought about preparing an all-vegetarian dinner for April, I did not have the best or most optimistic mindset, but I was determined to make a dinner I knew a few special friends would be able to enjoy, and in the end, it has been the most fun to make. And I further realized I need to start making fresh bread...


I will soon have the menu ready for dinners on Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd, and I am now accepting reservations for May. To make a reservation, please email The Tiny Kitchen

And now, here is a short recap of the April dinners--many thanks to Claire for the photos:

Sedona's Mariposa Organic Kale Salad, Tofu Skewers with Harissa Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Handmade Gnocchi in Porcini Mushroom Sauce, Zucchini Bacon and Granny's Copper Pennies (not pictured)

Raspberry Panna Cotta

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dinner menu for April 23rd & 24th

The dinner menu for April 23rd and 24th is below, and this month, I will prepare an entirely vegetarian meal for dinner guests. Both nights are now fully booked. If you would like to make a reservation for May 21st or 22nd, please email The Tiny Kitchen.

Sedona's Mariposa Organic Kale Salad, Tofu Skewers with Harissa Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Handmade Gnocchi in Porcini Mushroom Sauce, Zucchini Bacon and Granny's Copper Pennies

Raspberry Panna Cotta

Recap from March dinners:

Pickled Shrimp and Fava Smash on Rye Toast with White Gazpacho

Prosciutto-wrapped Atlantic halibut with Sage Butter Sauce, Crispy Curry Roasted Broccoflower and Lemon Zest Capellini

Strawberry Tartlets with Breton Shortbread Crust

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dinner menu for Saturday, March 19th & Sunday, March 20th

I am (FINALLY) ready to share the dinner menu for March, but first--because I think about these monthly dinners constantly--here are some questions I have found myself asking when preparing the menu (scroll down to the blue if you just wanna see the menu and availability for March):

- What's seasonal and local and fresh? Okay, so what's available in DC?
- What meat/poultry/fish to feature in the main course?
- Should I prepare an entire vegetarian dinner menu?
- How complicated will each course be the day of the dinner?
- How will the presentation look for each course?
- What will be used to garnish?
- How much use of my oven and range will be needed?
- How much can I prepare in the evenings before?
- Will I need to speak with the farmers, butchers and markets in advance?

Suffice to say, I have learned so much about the often complicated answers to these questions, but through it all, I have become a smarter chef in my Tiny Kitchen, and more importantly, I now know what ingredients to have on-hand daily, what type of kitchen equipment is essential, and what I can do to improve every month, every meal, every dining experience. So here are a few things I have learned:

- garnishes and sauces are everything
- plating is also very important
- a good place setting is necessary
- service is equally important as how the food tastes
- the music will ultimately set and determine the mood
- building the menus take days of planning, thought, and phone calls, so plan each monthly dinner three weeks in advance

So now, without further delay and after a week of planning, here is the three-course set menu for Saturday, March 19th & Sunday, March 20th:

Pickled Shrimp and Fava Smash on Rye Toast with White Gazpacho

Prosciutto-wrapped Atlantic Halibut with Sage Butter Sauce, Crispy Curry Roasted Broccoflower and Lemon Zest Capellini

Strawberry Tartlets with Breton Shortbread Crust

If you are interested in placing a reservation for Sunday, March 20th, please email Tiny Kitchen at trevormsparks@gmail.com with the names of the guests joining. At this time, Saturday, March 19th has been fully booked. The dinner menu in April will be fully vegetarian, and at this time, Saturday, April 23rd is fully booked, but Sunday, April 24th has availability. The vegetarian menu for April will be available soon--stay tuned!

- Chef Trev

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaped though back-to-back February dinners!

Good news, friends...monthly dinners in my apartment have continued with success, and this past weekend, I hosted the first back-to-back evening dinners of the year. What a feat, and I spent more time in my tiny kitchen on a beautiful day in DC (in FEBRUARY!) than I normally would, but I accomplished what I've only dreamt of before.

For February, I made a few key changes to the ambiance, offerings, and execution. As well, items on the menu were a completely new recipe or departures from what I knew, and for the first time, both Saturday and Sunday nights were fully booked.

Dinner was a three-course meal over two and a half hours, and it featured an endive and orange salad, followed by braised lamb with cauliflower au gratin and green beans, and for dessert, I proudly baked a three-layer carrot cake with caramelized pineapple and cream cheese frosting, which was complemented by garnished gelato, served a la carte.

The photos below provide brief insight, but the dining experience is truly, sincerely, and tastefully better with each course, in a bowl or plated, in front of you, and five other wonderful humans around the table sharing it with you. Oh, and wine pairings make dinner only that much better.

A few final notes before the photos below:
  • Menus for March and April dinners will be posted this week. The March menu will feature fish (no meat products), and April will be entirely vegetarian. 
  • Dinners for the next two months are March 19th & 20th, and April 23rd & 24th. At this time, there is availability on Sunday, March 20th, and Sunday, April 24th. Both Saturday dinners (March 19th and April 23rd) have been fully booked. Wait list only.
  • FUN FACT: Beginning May 21st and 22nd, I will have space for up to EIGHT guests each night.
To reserve a night for up to six spaces, please email me: trevormsparks@gmail.com. Additional dates available further out, and for up to eight guests, are May 21st & 22nd and June 25th & 26th. And now, enjoy what went down over the weekend:

Lamb shanks before braising.

The Tiny Kitchen.

Browning the first set of shanks.

Lamb shanks for six!

Sunday night guests: Nima and Kelsey.

First course plating.

French and Belgian endive salad with blood oranges and a house-made vinaigrette.

Main course plating!

Braised lamb shank with cauliflower au gratin and lemon garlic green beans. 
(green sauce also pictured: mint chimichurri).

Sharing the ingredients with diners Carla and Karim on their dinner.

Dessert prep!

Three-layer carrot cake with caramelized pineapple and a surprise a la carte vanilla gelato with chocolate chips and pineapple.

Guests for Sunday, February 28th (L-R): Claire, Karim, Carla, Vivian, Kelsey, and Nima.

Stay tuned for menus for March and April - coming soon!

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 dinner is a wrap.

If I had to use one word to describe the experience I had cooking for my January guests for the first monthly dinner, it would be gratitude.

I was nervous embarking on this endeavor. And since I operated on my own, I was constantly in my own head about every single aspect, almost obsessively. But you know what, I made it happen, and while the possibilities and variables around its execution rested solely on my shoulders, success was ultimately defined by my guests and their experience.

I am so grateful to my five dinner guests: they were patient, loving, and even braved Storm Jonas on a Sunday night (January 24th). I also found an additional level of confidence through their encouragement, compassion, and support--before, during, and after the dinner--so it absolutely could not have been a success, nay a dinner, without guests. Thank you, friends.

This is Chez Spa.
So come eat.

Brussels Sprouts Mash. Seasonal Fruit Tart Tatin also pictured.
Photo by Jess Lennon

Dinner guests Jess and Andrew. 
Photo by Jess Lennon

Dinner guests Brent and Ilana.
Photo by Jess Lennon.

Orange Roasted Beet Salad with Rocket Greens, Goat Cheese, House-made Vinaigrette.
Photo by Jess Lennon.

Appetizer presentation. 
Photo by Jess Lennon.

Utica Greens Stuffed Veal, Brussels Sprouts Mash, Seasonal Vegetable Bake.
Photo by Jess Lennon.

Seasonal Fruit Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (not pictured). 
Photo by Jess Lennon.

The first guests for 2106 monthly dinners (L-R): Jess, Ilana, Andrew, Rebecca, and Brent.
Photo by Jess Lennon.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

February and March dinner updates.

Dinners for February are fully booked.  Wait list only.

Reservations for Sunday, March 20th are now available. Dinner on Saturday, March 19th is fully booked. The menu for March dinners will be available soon.

Please email trevormsparks@gmail.com for reservations, questions, and menu inquiries. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I want to cook for you and your friends (FEB 2016).

As I continue on my quest to cook for you and your friends in 2016, I must first say THANK YOU for your overwhelming support and encouragement after my initial post. I am filled with joy embarking on this endeavor and have been inspired by cooking for many of you in times past and for numerous different occasions. 

In the last week, a number of good questions came up about these monthly dinners, so let me answer a few of the most common questions:
  • The dinners will take place in my apartment, located at 1205 7th Street NW, but I can be available to cater dinners at a different location or in your home upon request.
  • Guests are asked to arrive at 6:30pm. Seating for dinner will be at 7pm. Once seated, the dining experience will last approximately 75-90 minutes, so please plan accordingly. Following the conclusion of dinner, guests are welcome to stay and share their thoughts and ideas for improvements.
  • I will greet all guests, take their coats or jackets, and pour them a glass of wine, but then I must return to the kitchen and continue with meal preparations. It is kindly requested that guests limit their time in the kitchen due to space limitations, the chef's focus, and meal preparations that will require the full use of the kitchen.
  • Lastly, I will have a fish entrée and a vegetarian entrée in the months ahead, so please stay tuned for those menus and make your reservations accordingly. 
After much consideration, and in consultation with a few very interested guests, I am delighted to share the dinner menu for Saturday, February 27th and Sunday, February 28th:

French Endive, Orange, and Walnut Salad with Honey Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

Braised Lamb, Cauliflower Gratin with Turmeric and Hazelnut, Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Carrot Cake with Caramelized Pineapple and Nutmeg Cream Cheese Frosting

Reservations can be made for up to six people on Saturday, February 27th and Sunday, February 28th. The cost is $38 per guest. Full details for the dining experience, payment, wine pairings, and cancellation policy will be shared in email reply to each reservation request. The menu for Saturday, January 23rd and Sunday, January 24th (Sunday is fully booked) is as follows:

Orange Roasted Beet Salad with Rocket Greens, Goat Cheese and House-made Vinaigrette

Utica Greens Stuffed Veal, Brussels Sprouts Mash, Seasonal Vegetable Bake

Seasonal Fruit Tart Tatin with Vanilla Bean Gelato

The weekends I will be hosting dinners for the first half of 2016 are as follows:

March 19th & 20th
April 23rd & 24th
May 21st & 22nd
June 25th & 26th

Reservation requests can be made as far in advance as requested by emailing trevormsparks@gmail.com. Full payment is required one week before your dinner. Thank you all again for your support, and I so look forward to cooking for you in 2016!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I want to cook for you and your friends.

In 2015, there was something I returned to again and again (and again!), but I never fully acted on it. This year, among other goals and aspirations, I resolve to make this one thing happen because I thought about it and studied it more than anything else last year. It also came up in conversation with many groups of friends and family, and I was encouraged time after time to pursue it. I even mapped out a business plan for a related venture with my close friend. My idea has been simple from the start:

I want to cook for you and your friends.

I want to do something you've likely enjoyed in past experiences with supper clubs, dinner parties, going to a local pop-up, or even coming over for a meal--all incredibly fun! But this is no potluck, friends...What I will do is cook a three-course meal (appetizer, main course, and dessert) for six guests on a Saturday and a Sunday evening one weekend a month. The menu for January 23rd and 24th is as follows:

Orange Roasted Beet Salad with Rocket Greens, Goat Cheese, House-made Vinaigrette 

Utica Greens Stuffed Veal, Brussels Sprouts Mash, Seasonal Vegetable Bake

Seasonal Fruit Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Bean Gelato

I've priced the dinners in January and February at $38 per person. BYOB/W is recommended (no beverage license, yet!). Handcrafted cocktails, wine pairings, and/or coffee with your dessert are each available if arrangements are made in advance. 

The catch to these dinners is that I won't dine with you but will instead cook the entire meal from start to finish, pour your wine, and clean up everything. This is how it has to be and why it will be different from you coming over for a meal like in times past. This will be a fun experience, something new to do with your closest (or new!) friends, and you will support my passion. Added bonus: January dinner guests will help me brand it for 2016!

It will be one of the most private and intimate dinners you will find in Shaw this year.

Please email me (trevormsparks@gmail.com) if you and friends are interested in making reservations for January 23rd or 24th or if you'd like to reserve in advance for February 27th or 28th (menu forthcoming, reservation confirmation required after posting). 

Now the fine print: I will post an update here once the reservations for each night have been filled. Full payment required one week in advance. Agreement with terms, conditions, and cancellation policies required  on reservation confirmation. Legal jargon, blah blah...more simply: 

I look forward to cooking for you in 2016!
Sunday, January 24th is now fully booked. Wait list only. Spaces are still available for Saturday, January 23rd. Reservations are also now available for February 27th and 28th.