It’s takeout for the win this winter! Grace & Grit, the catering and events company owned by Adam Kaufer and North Fork Roasting Co.’s Jennilee Morris, launch their next cold-weather round of takeout weekend dinners this Friday, November 17.
The weekend pop-up dinner idea started about seven years ago, with Kaufer’s now famous Thursday burger night. “I still do burgers once or twice during the pop-up. I’ll probably do a couple of the special ones that I did back then because those are always the ones that people want and it’s something fun,” he says.
The two versions likely on offer this season will be Kaufer’s elevated riffs on fast-food faves: the Stuffer Burger, a nod to Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap, only his is a stuffed patty made from a dry-aged short rib and brisket blend with homemade pico de Gallo and guacamole, and wrapped in a tortilla, as well as a nod to the McDonald’s iconic Big Mac, using that same stellar ground meat blend. “Those are the two people ask for day in and day out,” he laughs.
The thing about the pop-up that’s fun for Kaufer is he gets to dial into cuisines that he’s fallen in love with on his own travels around the states and the world. For the former, Cajun always factors in, especially shrimp and grits.
“I am a Nawlins fan, and even though shrimp and grits hasn’t been part of the food culture there traditionally, its been cropping up over the last five years,” he says. With the Big Easy and its multitude of melting-pot culinary influences in mind, his dish is tomato-based with Tasso ham, andouille sausage, scallops and shrimp, with the South Carolina-sourced grits cooked for three to four hours for ultimate creaminess. “You’ve got to do that to get the texture right; for all the grains to explode to get that creamy mouthfeel,” he says.
Another covetable take-away option to keep your eyes peeled for will be his an East Indian night, offering well-known faves that are less about the heavy sauces and more on the brighter, lighter side.
“I know I can’t not do chicken tikka masala – it’s always one of our biggest sellers,” he says. Also expect a veg-forward option for non-meat eaters and “a really cool shrimp dish that you never see on typical Indian menus here in the States — but there’s a giant coastline in India; they do eat seafood!” The dish is herb marinated and grilled, served over fluffy basmati rice with a fresh, light, flavorful herby green sauce.
Kaufer’s fascination and respect for Asian flavors will continue through the months, and you can expect more flavors from countries like Vietnam, Japan, Korea and Thailand.
“I always do ramen a couple times, and pho a couple of times. And I’ll do Thai at least once – although I always forget how much pain goes into making it, he laughs. “It’s a workout, I’m chained to the stove for four hours a night running two woks that weight 10 pounds a piece. It’s really physically draining.”
Grace & Grit’s pop-up dinner series runs from this weekend through the end of April. Each week’s menu goes live on their website, as well as the Grace & Grit Instagram and Facebook pages, on Tuesdays, when you can place your order. Meal pick up is Friday and Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m.
“There’s always new stuff on the menu,” Kaufman says, “I always try at least one new thing a year.”
Grace & Grit is located at 55795 Main Road, Southold, 631-407-5278.