As a child of the 1970’s, I grew up in America reading the poems of Shel Silverstein and by the time I was 10-years-old I had practically worn a hole through my copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends. Silverstein’s poetry was my favorite because it spoke to me. I’ll never forget the assignment we were given in second grade to memorize a poem and recite it to the class. I chose Shel Silverstein’s poem Sick, from Where the Sidewalk Ends.  “‘I cannot go to school today,” said little Peggy Ann McKay…” Even now I can still rattle-off the lines. I loved it and I still do.

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So, when I learned that my friend, and one of my all-time favorite chefs, Chef Greg Daniels from Haven Gastropub and Provisions Market in Old Towne Orange was hosting a Shel Silverstein-inspired dinner based on the poems of Where the Sidewalk Ends at Playground 2.0 in Downtown Santa Ana, I was giddy with excitement. The poetry of my youth colliding with the gourmet cuisine of my adulthood into one etherial sensory experience? The word ‘amazing’ is not sufficient to describe what a truly memorable evening it was.


Together with Chefs Matt Roman and Denise Hidalgo, Chef Daniels created a phenomenal 12-course menu with beer, wine & cocktail pairings for lucky diners who participated in one of the four exclusive seatings on November 18th & 19th. The dishes were inspired by both his own experiences as a child as well as the poems of Shel Silverstein. It truly was an evening of, “Youth Revisited.” A percentage of the proceeds were donated to Bracken’s Kitchen, which works to help address the issue of food insecurity & hunger in Orange County through the use of food trucks.


Below is just a small taste-through-photos from this incredible meal. And be sure to stay tuned to the Haven Gastropub Facebook Page for details on other upcoming events with Chef Greg Daniels and the Haven team.

{Follow Anne Watson Photography on Facebook and on Twitter/Instagram @annewatsonphoto}

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