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Food porn: NOMAD pop-up dinner with Ian Kleinman

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, crowds convened at Mona's on South Broadway after having received an e-mail just hours earlier revealing where they were supposed to meet.

They were greeted with a torrontes white wine, and they introduced themselves to one another. And once a sizable group had filled the spot, Ian Kleinman, the molecular magician who runs the Inventing Room street cart and catering company, began a demonstration, showing the crowd what he could do with liquid nitrogen.

Kleinman played host for four NOMAD pop-up dinners with HUSH over the weekend, unleashing a multi-coursed menu replete with table-side explanations and techniques on guests lucky enough to nab one of the seats at four different seatings.

The dinner, smacked with ingredients like charcoal oil, buttermilk dippin' dots and sriracha cubes, finished with a miracle fruit tasting, when each diner received a berry that numbed all tastebuds except the ones that detect sweetness -- and then ate lemons, limes and vinegar to experience the effects.

If you weren't there, here's a taste of what you missed.

First: Grilled shrimp carpaccio, dried chilies, carbonated citrus cells, charcoal oil, peeled cherry tomatoes and cilantro. The charcoal oil on this dish added both the illusion of grilled fish and a mild smoky flavor to the otherwise cold, fresh plate. As for the carbonated citrus cells, well, we couldn't really taste them, but then, we downed the fiery dried chilies all in one go, so that may have had something to do with it. Second: Buttermilk dippin dots, compressed celery, cornbread foam... ... and fried chicken consomme, made from a gelatin extracted from fried chicken. Chef Kleinman gives a demonstration with liquid nitrogen, making sorbet for the third course at the same time. Third: Coconut milk sorbet with braised pineapple, strawberry champagne jelly and vanilla bubbles. We could have eaten this very sweet course -- and our favorite of the five -- again for dessert. The vanilla bubbles were made with a fish tank filter. Fourth: Sous vide Tasmanian pepper encrusted sirloin in butter and tarragon, smoked milk pudding, sriracha cubes, candy cane carrots and demi glace caviar. The smoked milk pudding took on the texture and consistency of mashed potatoes, and the carrots were glazed with melted candy canes. We wished we could have taken home a jar full of the sriracha cubes for personal use. Fifth: Flexible white chocolate with nutella powder, liquid nitrogen malted ice cream, exploding whipped cream and peanut butter pop rocks. The exploding whipped cream was so named because it was meant to be eaten immediately, sending jets of nitrogen smoke shooting out of each person's nose. Once that effect wore off, though, we abandoned those little frozen balls for good, focusing on the magical combination of nutella and peanut butter. The miracle berry. Myriad fruit was on hand to test the effects of the miracle berry, as was vinegar, olive juice and bitter beer. Our favorite was the lemon, which tasted like candy.

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