This post is a part of an ongoing series, Date Night Out: Seattle Style. Join us as we explore new restaurants, uncover hidden gems, and surprise our tastebuds.
This is not the normal Date Night Out post. It doesn’t involve a restaurant or just enjoying the food and drink. This date required us to earn our food. You may not have heard of The Pantry, but if you live in Seattle you’ve most likely heard of Delancy. A little restaurant hidden on a small side street in the north part of the Ballard neighborhood. They are known as one of the top five places for pizza in Seattle. Absolutely. Divine.
Now back to The Pantry. They are located right behind Delancy and hosts cooking classes that range from techniques to gourmet dishes, as well as family style meals, kids cooking camps, potlucks, and food swaps. Their schedule of classes and events are seasonal, posted every quarter, and very very very difficult to get into. We’ve been waiting for over two years to get into a class. I’m not kidding when I say, once you get the email that notifies you that all classes are posted, you have less than one hour to sign up, or all three months of classes are sold out.
We may have gotten a bit crazy this season. You see we were driving back from our anniversary trip in Oregon when I got THE email. The only issue was the spotty cell phone reception that kept dropping our transaction every time we wanted to sign up for a class. There definitely were a few expletives and a whole lot of anxiety. But. We. Got. In. We were able to sign up for three classes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You want me to drop $90/person/class and I have to sign up for the classes ahead of time without any idea of the quality and instruction? Is it even worth it?” Because that’s exactly what we were thinking, especially after signing up for a few classes as couples. And the questions definitely came up again when it was time to pay our credit card bill. But, let me put aside your fear of the cost, your questions of the quality and instruction, because the classes are worth every cent. I think the “sell-out in an hour for three months of classes” is a pretty good indicator. Especially when they can do this season after season, and year after year.
Kicking off our introduction to The Pantry was the The Homemade Pasta Workshop: The Classics, with Kim Cozzetto Maynard. Over the course of the evening, we would learn dough preparation and kneading, rolling and shaping, and drying for storage…and of course eating!
The Pantry is an intimate space that can seat 16 people comfortably with the instructor at the helm of the communal table. A packet of the pasta and sauces we would be cooking that evening greeted us along with glasses of wine and ice cold water. The little touches like local, homemade jams, jellys, vinegars, oils and bread that were appetizers added to the family like atmosphere.
Now don’t let the wine and appetizers fool you. We had to make four pastas and sauces in four hours. Thank goodness for 15 students, one instructor, and three volunteers. We definitely couldn’t do it alone. And through the course of the evening we not only learned about the different types of noodles, sauces, but also about the regions and country of Italy. It was more than what we could have asked for.
And voila! Without further adieu, the finished product: Tagliatelle Bolognese (TL), Garganelli Carbonara (TR), Faralle all’ Amatriciana (BL), and Fettucine Alfredo (BR).
We finally sat down to a lovely communal dinner where we got to partake in delicious homemade pasta with more wine, stories, and laughs. It was the best way we could spend a Wednesday evening and we can’t wait for our next class.
And a shout out to our fearless leader,Kim Cozzetto Maynard. We were uber impressed by her ability to manage 15 students with a hands on, personable interaction; maintain a high, positive energy for 4 1/2 hours, cook and start four different sauces for us while the students made the pasta, and instructed a team of three volunteers that were helping her behind the scenes. Oh and her knowledge of the types of pastas, sauces, regions and history of Italy only added to our awestruck, chin on the floor, we-wanna-be-her-one day inspiration. Needless to say, if you see her as an instructor on one of the classes, you will not be disappointed.