Last week, Paul and I went to a cooking class at Delish Black Rock [Edited: this store is now closed]. It’s a super cute shop in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo.
Delish sells all sorts of baked goods and coffee, plus cooking gadgets and random gifts. There’s a room off to the side where they hold the classes; it gets a lot of natural light because one wall is lined with windows that face the street. (Remember that fact. It comes into play later.)
This was our chef for the night. I liked him. He kept up a mostly-steady stream of commentary and interspersed his cooking talk with personal stories.
I’m going to get a few complaints out of the way before I continue to talk about the things I liked about the class.
Complaint #1: For the price we paid, I don’t think we got enough food. We paid $45 for the two of us to attend — whereas if we’d gone to a restaurant, both of us could have eaten a hearty portion for that amount. (Keep in mind that the normal price for this class is $45 per person. There’s no way I would have paid $90.)
To be fair, Delish doesn’t misrepresent themselves on the amount of food they serve. Their websites says you will receive “tastings” of the food, so I figured the portions wouldn’t be huge. However, when you get people together from 6-8pm for a class…well, it was dinnertime and we were all pretty hungry. I didn’t eat in advance because I didn’t know how much food I’d get, so every time they put a plate in front of me, I devoured it.
Complaint #2: Wine and soda (anything except for water) was an extra charge. If you’re charging $45 for four small plates of food, maybe you could throw in a few glasses of cheap wine?
Complaint #3: The class was called Easy Weeknight Dinners, but one of the four meals included pork ribs. The quickest way to cook these, according to the instructor, is to boil them for two hours and then put them in the oven to bake.
While I regularly spend a few hours on the weekend doing food prep for the week ahead, I don’t consider that much advance cooking time to be an “Easy Weeknight Dinner.”
Here is what the chef made (ranked in the order I most enjoyed them, from best to least enjoyable).
Sausage with Escarole & White Beans: This was my favorite. The original version turned into a soup with the addition of chicken stock. I wish I could have eaten a big bowl of this (not the best photo; they were all taken with my phone).
Spicy Grits with Chorizo Sausage, Leeks, and Corn: This doesn’t look very appetizing, but it was tasty. The consistency was runnier than I would have made it myself.
Glazed Pork Ribs with Horseradish-Apple Slaw: The slaw was interesting, but not enticing enough that I would make it on my own. The ribs were too dry from being baked. (I prefer to order ribs at a restaurant — they’re easy to mess up in the home kitchen.)
Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Brie: I thought I would like this more, but basically all I got was a plateful of noodles. I think they added extra pasta to make sure everyone in the room was served, and there wasn’t enough sauce. Paul even added a piece of broccoli from his plate to add more color to mine (which I returned to him after taking this photo). After I ate my broccoli and the few noodles that had cheese on them, I gave the rest to Paul.
Remember when I mentioned that the cooking room has a wall of windows that look out over the street? Well, about halfway through the class we had a bit of excitement: tires screeching, police officers forced an offender to pull his car over right outside our window. They yelled a lot. Oh, AND THEY HAD THEIR GUNS DRAWN.
Most of the class participants jumped up and either ducked behind their table or rushed toward the back of the room. I continued to sit in my chair, which happened to be in the row closest to the window. I wasn’t worried — the guns were pointed at the person in the car, and the offender didn’t appear to be putting up a fight. They cleared the scene less than 10 minutes later.
(Note: This incident wouldn’t keep me from visiting their store again, and had no weight on my opinion of the class. I thought it was quite entertaining, actually.)
When the class ended, Paul and I picked out two whoopie pies from a display case. One was peanut butter and the second was salted caramel. We cut them in half when we got home so we could each try a flavor (my favorite was the salted caramel, which is on the right).
Final verdict? The class was entertaining, but I’m unlikely to go back (and if I do, it’s only if I use another Groupon — I wouldn’t pay full price).