Congrats; you’ve made it to adulthood. Various career and aspiration boxes have been checked and rechecked, the routine is set and life is on its merry way. But what happened to some of the other conversations from earlier in life? The ones about exciting food, art and inspiration? That voice is still in there, isn’t it? Sure it is. Voice, meet the founders of Martineau & Bird—a sophisticated cultural salon with a casual attitude, focused on exploring the intersections of art, food, literature and design.
Martineau & Bird was formed when Elizabeth Winslow, owner of local food-delivery service Farmhouse Delivery, and Currie Person, design-diva owner of retail shop Spartan, decided they needed to ramp up the curiosity in their lives and live it up a little—more specifically, to think more broadly about the word “travel,” and what it means to do so in one’s own backyard. “We were thinking—like Lewis and Clark, but not,” says Winslow. “So we picked two famous women travelers: Harriet Martineau and Isabella Bird.”
Okay, but what exactly is Martineau & Bird? A meet-up group? A book club? Pub crawl? Culinary tour? Winslow and Person describe it as a collaborative effort for which members come together to celebrate, eat, share and learn around a thematic concept and a centerpiece dinner.
“Because this is neither Currie’s nor my bread-and-butter business,” says Winslow, “we like to keep the concept open. We do whatever we like.”
Think of the gatherings as fantastic field trips that would blow your typical dinner-and-a-movie date night clear out of the water. For example, in March, 36 Martineau & Bird members descended upon Uchiko for an intimate eight-course meal with wine, followed by a discussion of the nuances of Uchiko’s food and architecture led by Chef Tyson Cole and building architect Michael Hsu. At an early May meet up, members donned their swankiest 1920s attire and met at Justine’s for readings from the works of visionaries like Baudelaire, Bukowski, Dickinson and Dylan against a backdrop of edible Parisian delicacies, a live set from jazz queen Kat Edmonson and absinthe tastings.
The basic model for Martineau & Bird goes like so: find a cool spot, throw in a cool theme, invite members and voila—friends, fun, adventure and community are born. Also in the works is Martineau & Bird Quarterly, a publication dedicated to recreating the salon experience in print for those who can’t make it in person. Each issue will feature a lavish dinner party, complete with recipes, and will be filled with fascinating contributions from well-known cooks, artists, political activists, musicians, filmmakers, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs.