Underground dinners and pop-up events are two very different things.
When you sign up for a pop-up, you know where you'll be dining, what you'll be eating, and who will be cooking your meal.
Underground dinners -- also known as supper clubs -- are planned clandestinely. You might pay for a seat before knowing the exact location, menu, or chef. One supper club requires a secret password for access. Some are by invitation-only.
What follows is a guide to underground dining in Miami. You probably don't know much about these mysterious places. But that's OK.
That's kind of the point.
These vegetable-driven dinners are the newest addition to Miami's underground scene. The first event took place in July, featuring a nose-to-tail lamb meal. Since then, Kulinary Therapy has hosted a variety of suppers -- with themes ranging from monochromatic dishes to a vegan feast prepared in conjunction with local artist David Le Batard. Joshua Marcus, the chef and owner of Josh's Deli, is the brains behind the operation. Events are invite-only, BYOB, and cost about $45. Check out Kulinary Therapy's Twitter page for updates.
Last year, Cobaya scored a spot on Bizarre Foods America. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern attended an event at the Mandarin Oriental's restaurant Azul. So yeah, Cobaya is kind of a big deal. The premise? Uncomplicated: Chefs can cook whatever the hell they want. Are you allergic to wheat, peanuts, or beets? Well, then this might not be the event for you.
To attend, sign up for the group's mailing list. You'll receive emails about upcoming dinners. But don't expect too much information in advance. You'll get the location and name of the chef only one day before the event. Cobaya was founded by a group of food bloggers, and previous dinners have been hosted by Andrew Carmellini, Antonio Bachour, and Michael Pirolo. Cobaya dinners typically cost $85 to $100.
Unlike other underground clubs, Shelley-belley's dinners don't take place at a restaurant. Shelley, who goes by her first name, hosts five-to-seven-course meals from her downtown Miami home. Shelley cooks for about 10 to 12 people at a time, accepting about 85 bucks from each person. Originally from South Africa, the chef honed her kitchen skills in London, where she worked at Sam's Brasserie for seven years. To request a spot, check out her blog. Oh, and before you go, know this: You'll need a secret password to get through her door.
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You probably know every restaurant in Wynwood: Joey's, Pride & Joy, Jimmy'z Kitchen. But do you know Copperbox? Located at 3328 N. Miami Ave., Copperbox is a self-proclaimed "culinary atelier." These five course-dinners ($125) are fancy affairs, prepared for ten to 30 guests by chef Gabriela Machado. Her venture is not as enigmatic as other supper clubs. She posts her menus on Facebook and has already been featured in several publications. Still, she somehow keeps things quiet. Well, except for one thing: We hear she's a fantastic chef. Click here for more information.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.