The inaugural evening of the Flying Pig Supper Club took off in grand style on March 1 with more than 150 Topangans gathered at the Community House for a fun, family-friendly dining experience and to enjoy the homemade food of local Chef Michael Anapol.
It was a truly Topanga-style event on a cold and drizzly night, with friends and neighbors greeting each other as they stood in line for delectable buffet selections that included grass fed organic beef, turkey, vegetarian, and Impossible burgers, accompanied by assorted toppings, bun selections (gluten free, too), baked beans, mac and cheese, roasted veggies, mixed salad, and cookies.
Chef Michael Anapol’s wife, Kathie Gibboney, the beloved writer for the Topanga Messenger and now the Messenger Mountain News, was dressed up for the debut in a sparkly pink dress and pink piggy ears and greeted each guest in her inimitable ebullient manner.
Known as the “Whimsical Wife” to Anapol’s “Beleaguered Husband” in her popular newspaper column, “My Corner of the Canyon,” the cheerful Gibboney had also decorated the Community House with flowers and adorable little pink piggies.
As guests arrived, Dayna Miller, event coordinator for the Topanga Community Center, worked the entrance where she collected a discounted $16 from each Community Club member and $20 from non-members for a one-night membership.
Inside, TCC Board Member Lisa Brown managed the bar as she served up wine, beer, soft drinks, and some juice boxes “for the kiddos.”
Adding to the festivities, the Topanga Ukulele Revival, led by Melanie Kareem, entertained the crowd with traditional tunes such as “Be My Little Baby” and “Brown-Eyed Girl.”
Ultimately, Gibboney couldn’t believe how many people showed up and how many folks enjoyed sitting and visiting together at the long tables.
“The Whimsical Wife and Beleaguered Husband were overwhelmed by the support of the Topanga Community,” Gibboney wrote in an email after the event. “We thought we might be just sitting in a big empty room surrounded by a few flying pigs, hundreds of burgers, and our dreams. But they came, Topanga came in the rain and it was a beautiful thing to see. Topanga has a way of doing its thing; it was bigger than us. It was a 2020 version of Topanga. We are grateful to TCC for giving us this opportunity.”
MY OLD TOPANGA HOME
With a desire to find some place that suited their lives, Gibboney and Anapol moved to Topanga as a young couple in 1993 right after the devastating Old Canyon Fire. They were thrilled and pleased to find that Topanga was a welcoming community that fit them perfectly and where they chose to live and raise their two children, Riley, now 27, and Miranda, 21.
“We have never missed a Topanga Days, it felt like we were home, it was the right place for us,” Gibboney said. “We moved here from Venice; it was a natural progression.”
While he always has worked in the California culinary world, including with Wolfgang Puck and Bruce Marder, it has always been Anapol’s dream to own his own place, especially after he was a finalist on NBC-TV’s competition show, The Chopping Block, that inspired him to open his own restaurant in 2011, when he opened up Shaka Shack Burgers in Santa Monica, which he still manages.
After negotiating with the Community House and believing that “when pigs fly, anything is possible,” Anapol and Gibboney planned a community dining event like none other.
According to Gibboney, “The evening raised the understanding of how wonderful the Community House is and we encourage everyone to be members. This is a special part of the community and it is so valuable to Topanga.”
Indeed, as people finished their burgers and eyed seconds, the Ukulele Revival closed the evening’s selection of popular tunes, including “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which perfectly described the event.
“It was a communal effort and we thank all the team, friends and neighbors who helped us, especially the Topanga Ukulele Revival for their heartfelt enthusiasm and magical medleys,” Gibboney wrote. “We hope The Flying Pig Supper Club can fill a need in the Canyon for family, fun, food, and entertainment that brings the free-flying spirit of Topanga together.
“We will let you know when we fly again.”