After having to halt our events due to the pandemic, we were delighted to launch the first of our new Darling Dinner series in Los Angeles on September 8th. It was delightful to see faces and give hugs and encourage one another over intentional conversation and artistic, innovative food.

Since we are so passionate about hospitality and women feeling seen, known and loved, we found the perfect partner, Hospitality Collaborative, who hosted us at their beautiful Fig House and served us through their bespoke catering company roomforty. They have created a truly disruptive model around the heart of hospitality that we were able to experience first-hand that evening.

Upon walking in, women were taken by the beauty of The Fig House, a contemporary spin on art-deco with a nod to the rich history of the Los Angeles art scene brought to life by HGTV’s Emily Henderson. With stained glass windows, bold paint and wallpaper, it has a beautiful touch of old Hollywood glamour. Plus, the greenery surrounding us felt like a warm blanket of beautiful tones of green.

As women arrived, we each grabbed a glass of wine by our partner, Nomadica—the most beautiful wine labels you’ve ever seen—equally matched by quality. We love how they are reducing emissions by up to 80% by using cans instead of bottles! With wine poured, we headed straight to our fun activation, receiving custom “Forever” bracelets by Gjenmi. We had a choice of various types of chains that were then measured and welded on in real-time; such a special treat! Before settling in for dinner, we posed for photos by our talented photographer, Megan Williams.

As we sat down, we marveled at the beautiful table graced with whimsical florals by County Line Florals and handmade plates by Sarah Kersten ceramics. Sarah is an artist based out of Oakland, CA that partnered with Darling because of a dedication to representing & supporting female entrepreneurs. There is no plate more beautiful than her “Quail Egg Dinner Plate“.

As the first dish was brought out by chef Adam Nadel, we were blown away to learn that he had personally made the hand-pulled Stracciatella cheese, paired with marinated beets and smoked trout roe.

As we enjoyed this dish, our Founder Sarah Dubbeldam opened up the evening telling us about the new direction of Darling with the launch of Darling’s first clothing line and Ambassador community launching in 2023. With that exciting news and the presentation of the first course, she posed the first table question:

What is something you think about a lot, but rarely get to talk about?

Our mid course consisting of fonduta filled agnolotti, Underwood Family Farms zucchini, squash blossom and ricotta salata came out and we all marveled at the beautiful presentation of colors, textures and tastes. Our second table question was:

What is one (or several) areas of your life that you wish you felt more “known”?

Answers varied as some women talked about the difference between being “known” vs. “understood.” As the evening wore on and women began to feel even more comfortable with one another, the vulnerability deepened.

As the main course of SoCal line-caught tuna, octopus, Ventura County tomatoes and fregula with saffron came out, we learned about how roomforty is dedicated to hormone-free, naturally-raised proteins, seasonal wild fish, and fresh, local produce. The beauty of the food was unmatched and we couldn’t help but ask more questions about each dish. With this course, we talked through:

How do you stay connected in friendship even in the midst of conflict or a hard season?

Since Covid separated us so much, this question was a great way to talk about our goals for friendship moving forward into this new season.

By the time the dessert came out, olive oil cake with Santa Barbara lemon curd and whipped cre?me frai?che, we were already in friendship land. As if that weren’t enough, chef Adam came out with the “roomforty S’more” with chocolate coffee ganache, graham soil, marshmallow and hickory smoke.

As the dinner concluded, we walked away with the beautiful gifts at our place settings including DS&Durga ‘The Greatest Hits’ collection of 6 best-selling fragrances made in NYC and housed in very sleek packaging, Goldfaden MD ‘Hands To Heart’ brightening hand treatment that is family owned, plant-powered and clean-ical and Henn é Organics luxury lip tint, in 4 different best-selling shades, all packaged in a very chic Scandinavian design—so fun!

We will never forget the theme of the evening set by our hosts at Hospitality Collaborative —as their founder Steve Fortunato says, “our goal must be to help people connect by creating a virtuous cycle of generosity that leads to true hospitality.” We will be exploring this idea in depth with Steve in the weeks to come and are excited to continue this conversation on what true hospitality looks like in our personal lives.

Stay tuned for Darling Dinners coming to multiple cities across the country soon!

All images by Megan Williams.

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