“A Butter + Salt Pop Up is a moment in time like no other that engages you in a visceral, sensual way,” says Ali Waks Adams. “Not that eating isn’t joyful, but these types of culinary happenings add another level, another voice to the conversation.”
The conversation about food is what brought Adams, 47, and her business partner Christine Burns Rudalevige, 49, together about eight years ago on a foodie website. Adams has worked in every aspect of the restaurant business since 1999. Rudalevige, a journalist, shifted her focus to food writing in 2009. “We knew of each other’s recipes on food52.com before we knew of each other’s person, really,” says Adams. “We connected over interesting food, our friendship blossomed because of it.”
In 2014, the two finally met in person. When Adams wanted to explore the concept of a limited edition dining experience, she sought space from colleague Tim O’Brien (who owned Enoteca Athena and Trattoria Athena) and recruited Rudalevige.
First, the dynamic duo created a meal fit for a French bistro served by staff in black dresses and brilliant red lipstick. Then they hosted an “imaginary birthday party” celebrating American comfort food in a venue decked with streamers and balloons. Belly dancers weaved between dinner tables at the third event, featuring a 10-course Middle Eastern feast. In their fourth pop-up, they drew inspiration from the Parisian artists of the Jazz Age.
“When we have a pop-up, there is literally nothing else like it around. We’re not out to copy something that eaters like elsewhere. It’s done as a very unique event,” says Rudalevige.
The next Butter + Salt Pop Up has yet to be announced (follow their Facebook page to stay apprised). In the meantime, visit The Brunswick Inn on a Tuesday when its restaurant is open to the public to enjoy a $40 pre fixe three-course meal prepared by Adams. Or find your own dinner inspiration in Rudalevige’s first cookbook, “Green Plate Special.”
Emma Bouthillette, a Biddeford native, is the author of “A Brief History of Biddeford.” She loves a good book and walking the beach with her corgi. www.emmabouthillette.com