Name another event where 112 Peaches and Cream drops when your dessert arrives, perfectly on queue...
It's almost been a week and I'm still daydreaming of the GENIUS collaboration by cousin-duo Chef Tirzah and Rikkie Tee-- A BEAT at the Table Phoenix, a five-course dining experience with a soundtrack for the soul!
The story goes that on a bright sunny day, Rikkie and Tirzah were headed to Solange's concert where the idea to bring their talents together was manifested- you have one cousin who gets busy in the kitchen and another cousin who knows good music like the back of her hand.
The name " A Beat at the Table" is a play on Solange's epic 2016 album. They dropped the "seat", added a "beat" for a musical effect... and voila, A Beat at the Table was created and held its first seating November 2017 in Oakland, CA. Talk about an event "for the culture" -- nothing brings people together more than good music and good food!
Here we are four SOLD OUT seatings later in Mesa, Arizona at their FIRST A Beat at the Table for the metro Phoenix community!
Every.single.detail.was.placed.with.intention. If I could describe my experience in one word- it would be... ERUPTION! In an effort to keep this PG, I felt like a volcano erupted in my ears and mouth at the same damn time. As you dine, you are given wireless headphones to help you tune out all distractions and tune into the experience (aka the silent dining). The music portion was curated by Rikkie Tee, who got busy on the DJ scene late 2017 and is most known for her ability to keep the crowd grooving. This wasn’t a Top 40 Hits soiree, it was instead an intentionally curated playlist of musical classics from across all genres and eras that related to your specific dish. Rikkie Tee, I'm beyond impressed you found such eclectic tunes that didn't run out on the dish!
It's true that Americans rush everything! Life as a millennial-ex-work-traveler-slash-ex-kitchen-staff-slash-busy-body has really deafened my ability to simply take my time and truly enjoy my meals. Chef Tirzah made it very clear that this was not the night to rush at her table. She's been in the game for over five years and does everything from event catering to providing private chef services for celebrities! Her only desire? For every guest to be extremely mindful while eating and experience every sensory available- how did it taste, feel, smell, appear? If there was any lesson I learned at A Beat at the Table, it was in MINDFULNESS! We work so hard to be able to pay for food and don't take time to truly savor every bite.
Dinner began as everyone turned their headphones to station blue and prepared for the dishes to come. The whole experience is one that can only be experienced. In an effort not to spoil it for you, I'll refrain from sharing every detail but just know that if you love food and music, this is certainly an event you won’t want to miss. EVER!
A BEAT at the TABLE- Phoenix Menu:
Bank Roll Fresh
You Don't Know NAAN
Stacks for the Halibut
Review of the Meal
First of all, round of applause for Chef Tirzah! The meal was 5-Stars for me, dawg! We all have our little idiosyncrasies with food and one of my own is eating foods that do not "go together"! Every part of this meal flowed very well into the next dish, not leaving you with a terrible after taste that would collide catastrophically with your taste buds. For that, I thank you!
Thank you for also using such fresh ingredients and most importantly taking time to acknowledge that we need to step outside of our comfort zones with foods by diversifying the dishes. Your meal selection was excellent! The portion size was spot on and reminded me to stop ordering with my stomach. Everything was plated to perfection and looked too good to disturb.
Favorite Dish & Soundtrack
As previously mentioned, each dish had its own playlist of songs that paired perfectly with the dish. Although silent, you weren't expected to sit there and not turn up. So we found ourselves grooving all night long! Rikkie Tee dropped everything from Youuuuuuuu! Crank Dat Soulja Boy Mix to tear jerking love song Don't Know Much by Linda Ronstadt. (Wayyy to werk, Rikkie Tee) I'm sure the survey says that everyone's favorite song was the travel back to 1998 with “You Don't know Nan" by Uncle Trick Daddy during the third course. It was at this exact moment, I almost forgot where I was! Keeping it classy won.
My absolute favorite dish and soundtrack was course #2, "Elote Guey". Confession: I did not know what the hell a "Elote- Guey" was so when I saw it on the menu, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what comprised this dish. To my surprise, it was a combination of some of my favoriteeeeeeeee foods-- sweet corn, potatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro and a swirl of crème dressing.
Instantly, I knew it was a Mexi-Cali inspired dish because most of the music with this dish was straight west coast vibes! This Southern girl who loves Lil Boosie knows nothingggg about Cali music and Cali cuisine. When I finally googled how they came up with the dish name, I was reminded that elote is corn in Spanish (DUHHHHH Keke) and guey is a Spanish slang term for dude! So I'm guessing "Corn, Dude" was the meaning but it could have been called anything because the dish was FANTASTIC! So good, I was thissss close to asking Charity-to-my-left if I could finish her plate for her. Keeping it classy won, again.
Elote Guey Song List
William DeVaughn - Be Thankful for What You Got
War - Low Rider
Tha Dogg Pound - Cali Iz Active
Kid Frost - La Raza
Lighter Shade of Brown - On a Sunday Afternoon
A.B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings - Azucar
As you can tell, the fact that I didn't know what to expect, combined with Cali music created a learning opportunity for me. The one song that stood out was "On a Sunday Afternoon" by Lighter Shade of Brown (MUST LISTEN). It has this super 90s, ultra smooth, extra cool vibe that felt familial, but I was sure I never heard this song before this moment. I eventually gathered enough courage to take one headphone off and ask Charity-to-my-left what song was this to which she gave me big eyes, a swift head turn and the "how do not know this song" face. I'd be listening to that song at least once a day afterwards to take me back to that moment. The Elote Guey was such a treat!
The Dinner Space
Mesa is a small city situated to the east of Phoenix and if you don't have a reason to go there, you probably won't. However, Mesa is full of gems and an amazing cultural experience. While this wasn't my first time in the area, it was my first time at The Historic Nile Theater in Downtown Mesa. There could not be a better location to provide such a "home sweet home" feeling.
Everything from the hardwood floors, to the accent wallpaper wall, to the simple table centerpieces made it very chic and the least bit pretentious. The table setting, fortunately did not make me feel forced to remember my table etiquette, but was still very much "a step above". The vibe was well set by the venue space.
One instant thing you respect from both RikkieTee and Chef Tirzah is the way they approach what they do as ART! So in order to bring the arts full circle, they allow an local artist to join the event and share their artwork.
This seating featured one of my favorite artists, Dame Campbell aka Custom Fresh Dame! Originally from Detroit, Michigan, he is by far one of the most talented self-taught artists I have met in my life! He had a number of prints available and to add to the two I already own, I copped another one of his latest! His artwork takes a great emphasis on all melanin everything. I am so excited to see where Dame's talents will take him!
What I Loved Most
I already know how Rikkie Tee gets down on the music because she's my favorite female on the one's and two's. However, this would be the first time at an event like this and having her cousin's cooking. You could tell although their individual talents are in food and music, they didn’t skimp on any of the details and it didn't feel like they were overwhelmed trying to get things done at the event. (Pet peeve to see event hosts in a mess) Everything from location, to decor, to the amount of guests, to RikkieTee’s baby boys and Nikki-N-The-Know serving the dishes felt like home! Having moved over 3,000 miles from home and being someone who is accustomed to eating out, sitting at a table to enjoy a home cooked meal was everything!
In short, A Beat At The Table is an experience you don't want to miss! And its your luck that they are already scheduled for the next seating and guess what?! ISSA BRUNCH! WITH MIMOSAS!
Make sure to follow @A.Beat.At.The.Table on IG and Facebook to see where they are headed next!
Rikkie Tee @rikkietee and @basementtapesphx
Chef Tirzah @cooking_with_chef_tirzah