Saturday, February 22, 2014

Foodstart has backed Shirley's Diner... Will you?

I just posted a Shirley's Diner project on Foodstart, the crowd funding site: Our goal is to raise $1,500.00 by Mar 31, 2014 (If we raise $5000.00, however, the FoodStart will also chip in $500.00 so that's awesome). Please help us - every little bit counts. Early backers get cool perks and rewards like Great Karma for supporting a cool, local business. Thanks for your help and please spread the word!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2.18.14 Launch Day. Wait, Really?

Today, out of the blue, I felt a particular nudging.... "do it, launch today." I was in my car, driving alone at 7:57 a.m. and there it was, almost to the point of an annoying pull saying... "do it, launch today." This new venture of mine is my baby, so there was no way I wanted to jump off a building without my wings inspected, inspected again, verified and secure and yes, inspected yet a third time. I had spent the previous 6 months doing market research, discussing the concept with consultants, creating the social media strategy, forming my team and slowly developing a brand and marketing materials. You know, all the things responsible entrepreneurs do before they leap off buildings. However, that pull this morning would not relent. Because the business has been created in honor of my late Grandmother and Brother, I had to stop and listen, if only for a few seconds in my garage to see if this voice might be one of them or both.

I sat there listening to a Bruno Mars favorite: "Talking to the Moon" a song which reminds me of my brother for some reason. I am not a tearful person, but there I sat, now 8:00 a.m. quietly crying over the song, the nudging, fear, mourning or an interesting cocktail of all four. What in the hell was wrong with me? I knew from my extensive research that I was onto a good idea and everything really was falling into place. But still, I couldn't LAUNCH yet for fear of what my facebook, twitter and personal friends might say or think. Yet, my grandmother, who was in many respects my number-one-fan, kept popping into my head, followed by my little brother, still age 28 as if suspended in some sort of post-mortem time capsule. "Do it, launch today" they repeated until I reached for my phone without even knowing it and began typing a status which looked like this....

Most of you do not know that for the last six months, I have been working on a cathartic project to keep the legacy of my grandmother Shirley aka Noni alive. She was an impeccable cook and hostess; she passed these traits on to my brother, Clifton and I and my son, Nano has gotten it as well. So we have decided to launch an event planning and catering company in memory of Noni and Clifton. For those who have wanted to sample Nano's cuisine, your chance is coming. Soon, you will have a chance to like our page, Shirley's Diner. Please do!!! We have been having huge parties at the Woo house for 10 years... It's time to venture out. Ahhhhh wings don't fail us now.

And with that, I hit the SEND button knowing that I could not pull it back from the vast abyss known as cyberspace. I peaked over the fence of my future with both hands securely affixed over my eyes, parting my fingers only for a second just to look at the results of what I had done..... 38 people had "liked" the facebook page I had created within an hour and a half with comments such as "Great concept!!!!" and "Looking forward for more to come." WHAT????? Another 40 people had become "friends" with the second page I created.

Much like waiting for the perfect time to have baby, if you wait too long, the time might pass you by because there is no perfect time. Metaphorically I had the baby today, launched the business, listened to the voice, jumped off the building, scratched a wing and gained a few followers and I did this ALL by 10:46 a.m. Not bad with only two cups of coffee. Thank you for joining me on this journey. It's sure to be an amazing ride.

~Corecia J. Davis-Woo
Founder and Creator of Shirley's Diner

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shirley's Diner Announces our Official Event Photographer, @ajwoo22

It is with great pleasure that we announce the addition of our very own event photographer, AJ (Ajiah) Woo. She comes to us with over three years of photography experience and was introduced to photography by the late Kathy Carlisle, a photographer and faculty member at St. Francis High School with an impressive resume of photography credentials.

AJ is a 17 year old junior in high school, however her youth has not stifled her creativity. At the age of 14, she was asked to have her work shown in a prominent Wilshire Blvd. hotel. She has developed a portfolio including landscaping, architectural details, animals, engagement photos and has already been commissioned to photograph her first wedding in May, 2014.

For us, AJ's primary responsibilities will include taking photos at all Shirley's Diner events, particularly our Supper Clubs, photographing food for display on social media, marketing and promotional materials and chronicling the activities of our chefs to be used in an upcoming cookbook. Her work is followed by hundreds on instagram where you can find her at ajwooooo or follow her on twitter @ajwoo22. We look forward to working with this young and talented artist.

Welcome AJ WOO!!!!

My asked and @ShirleysDiner1 answered

Blog.My caught up with Shirley's Diner recently and asked us about our new venture.  Here is a short excerpt from the article....

From secret supper clubs to the first all clean comedy club in the United States, we recently polled 52 brand new small business owners about the kinds of businesses they were starting in 2014, what makes their start-up so special, and where they plan on taking their company in its first year and beyond!
“My name is Corecia and my sister and I are starting a unique business of a secret supper club. The premise is to announce the dinners, open them to 10 couples and its first come, first served by invite only. We already have a growing mailing list and will launch on February 2nd. Shirley’s Diner is named after my grandmother who passed away from cancer 5 years ago on February 2nd. We will be featuring many of her recipes.”
Corecia Davis-Woo, Shirley’s Diner@ShirleysDiner1

Friday, January 17, 2014

All About the Chicks

As the company prepares for the launch of Shirley's Diner Secret Supper Club next month, I have been experimenting with a variety of meals for about 4 months. Taking great pains to select quality, local ingredients and combing over dozens and dozens of recipes, the goal is to serve our guests the BEST we have to offer. 

Last night I had the pleasure of making Chicken Cacciatore which, by the way, means "hunter" in Italian.  I slow cooked the chicken for 4 hours to make it ridiculously tender, then cooked it on low with stewed tomatoes, red peppers and basil for another 20-30 minutes. Served with a simple side of rice and lightly sauteed green beans, this meal was a hit.  I decided to serve it with chick peas (or garbonzo beans), as seen in the photograph.  This is optional, but I absolutely LOVE them.
~Enjoy this one.

International Supper Clubs

Today's feature is a supper club in London run by Alice Hodge and Ellen Parr who have paired their amazing talents as a designer and chef, respectively, to create lavish parties on the other side of the pond. Named, The Art of Dining, Hodge and Parr have combined food and art to create a special dining experience around a theme.   

Set designer Alice Hodge designs for weddings, parties, theatre productions and photo shoots. She is an art follower, creator, teacher and collector of tat.
Chef Ellen Parr spent her formative years working at Moro and you can taste the Middle Eastern and Spanish influences in her food. She recently traveled around South East Asia and India researching cooking methods, techniques and flavors. She also has an obsession with chili sauce. Invitees can expect the unexpected with her unusual menus…..

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Six Best Underground Supper Clubs in San Francisco

Just so you know that we have done our homework to create the kind of environment that only supper clubs are known for, here's what we have learned about some clubs in San Francisco....

Small, secretive, and a little shady (in a good way), San Francisco's underground-dining scene is absolutely blowing up! Comprised of a web of exclusive supper clubs, the teams behind these dinners are more event-producers than chefs, oftentimes incorporating art, music, and performance into their meals, which are set in the most unlikely of locales. Of course, to attend any of these one-night pop-up "restaurants," you have to be very in-the-know. And that's where we come in with our complete list of the six hottest underground dinner troupes shaking things up right under your nose. Find out what makes each especially rad, plus how you can get on the inside track!

Lazy Bear—Don’t be confused by the name. The root of Lazy Bear, chef David Barzelay’s underground dinner project, started in law school, when Barzelay taught himself how to craft edible foams, snows, and dirts, then turned them into the makings of elaborate dinner parties for his classmates. Lucky for San Francisco, Barzelay dropped the lawyer thing. Now his creative genius shows up in such cross-cultural creations as roasted banana with cured hamachi coriander and blossoming squash. Click here to reserve a spot at his next culinary throw-down. 

GraffEats—Chef Blair Warsham has made a name for himself (on the D.L., of course) pairing multi-course tasting menus with music. He recently teamed up with the folks from the NosiePop fest for a dinner at the Mission’s Secret Alley that ended with a playful coincidence of raspberry caramel-topped parmesan mousse and a Yo La Tengo cover. The reason being: “They’re both sweet, sour, and a little cheesy,” Warsham explains. Note that GraffEats likes to push the limits, and an entire meal served on a ferris wheel isn’t out of the question. Head over here for a list of past and upcoming events. 

Stag Dining Group—This seven-month-old club has hosted its monthly dinners in locales ranging from a historic Victorian home to the H.Q. of an underground radio station. And, like the name suggests, the club's owners have built a community where stag diners can feel equally as comfortable as those in large groups. Plus, their love for hunting is evident in most of the menus. Those who love the unpredictable should keep this one top of mind. Stag’s last dinner started with an elevator ride down to the dining room. At the bottom? A six-course BYOB feast and Aloe Blacc, live in concert. If you want to get on this train, click here to find out more. 

Canvas Underground—Chef Peter Jackson started Canvas Underground in a parking lot and now hosts all of his clandestine dinners in private homes. This club came on the scene with risqué stunts, like serving candy on naked women. But now things are tamer, with 30- to 40-person feasts ranging from Kombucha-pairing fiestas to a sustainable seafood dinner on the city docks. 

Radio Africa And Kitchen—This supper club represents the old-guard of underground dinners, where the movers and shakers of the San Francisco food world have been quietly meeting for years. Founder and Ethiopia native, Eskender Aseged, hosts four-course family-style meals in his beautiful home and private patio, serving dishes inspired by Egypt and the Mediterranean. Think roasted leg-of-lamb with chermoula set against a backdrop of music, dance, film, and sparkling conversation. 

Phoenix Supper Club—At this hush-hush operation, founder and chef, Tommy Halvorsen, whisks club members off to hidden lofts in Champagne-stocked limos for elaborate nine-course tasting extravaganzas. Needless to say, this is one of the more high-end underground offerings out there. Menus spring whimsically from the seasons in compilations like princess potato purée with deep-fried squash blossoms, fromage blanc, and porcini mushrooms. Get in on the tastiness here.

Article By Carolyn Alburger