After downloading the December 3rd New Yorker (The Food Issue) a week ago, I was intrigued by Dana Goodyear's "Toques from the Underground - The toughest reservation in L.A.". It described the underground dining phenomenon with several examples but the bulk of the story was about Craig Thornton's Wolvesmouth.
I figured it wouldn't hurt to put my name on their ever expanding email list just in case. I didn't win the Powerball lottery but I did manage to score an invite last Friday's dinner. My intention was to completely surprise my wife but it was hard for me to keep a lid on my excitement. The more I found out about Wolvesmouth the more excited I became.
Friday's journey started in Calgary. I'm travelling light these days but for some reason I was unable to print my own boarding pass either at home or at an airport kiosk. It turns out I was a randomly chosen for extra screening. Once you have SSSS on your boarding pass, there's no fast way through security. However, all things being equal the luck of geting an Wolvesmouth invite more than cancelled out the SSSS.
We landed noonish in Palm Springs and took a taxi to our place, repacked our bags and headed for LA. Our hotel was a 10 minute cab ride from Craig Thornton's secret lair. Most of the diners dutifully took photos of their food. I tore through my first course before even thinking about taking a photo even though I had intended to document the meal. Buddy systems soon evolved to ensure photos were taken before the food was disturbed. Its an odd thing to do at a meal but in this case the plates were visually stunning. Being mindful about a meal isn't a bad thing either. Turns out the best photos were taken by @dimsumpup so I've linked to them.
After three years of running Wolvesmouth out of a secret loft, rumours abound that a more accessible version of the concept will appear in L.A. Thanks to Goodyear's article, Thornton's following is expanding far beyond people who read food blogs. They've added over 700 names to the Wolvesmouth email list last week and the article still wasn't on newsstands. He has opportunities most chefs would kill for but he's probably listening to The Wolf while he turns them all down.
Thornton focuses on what matters to him most. Control. Great food. The rest is noise.