Taste the Future – A Review

16 09 2009

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What a gorgeous night it was for socializing and sampling the finest in local fare! I think it’s safe to say that Taste the Future may be my favorite event of the year for many reasons – so many stories developed in just one night:

Support What Works. Taste the Future is part of Support What Works, Columbus State Community College’s first-ever comprehensive multi-million dollar fundraising effort aimed at expanding private funding and investments in the college. This effort will expand scholarship opportunities, make critical investments and upgrades to college programs, and increase educational opportunities for students of all ages. Learn more about the campaign here.

Zero Waste in 2009. Taste the Future planned tonight’s event around the goal of Zero Waste. All materials were either recyclable or compostable, down to the plates and cups used, which were made of either sugar can or corn-made plastic Eco Products.

The Big Idea. While most of us were content to socialize and nibble our way through the evening, my friend C had a goal: she set out to eat at all of the establishments represented tonight – all 50 of them. Way to have a goal!

Social Media Gets its Just Desserts.
For the first time ever, social media was invited to cover the event alongside traditional media outlets and Columbus State projected our tweets onto a screen for interested guests to monitor.

photo courtesy of @bayinghound

photo courtesy of @bayinghound

Look closely at the upper left-hand corner of the screen. See that? It’s my tweet to C as she hit the midway point of her quest.

Vino Veritas.
This year’s wine selection was developed by Columbus State alumnus Bill Wolf. Eagle Eye wines are fruit-forward, unique blends that are also affordable. I especially enjoyed Voluptuous, which is full, luxurious red, best enjoyed with beef and pork.

People-Watching.
Other than the food, this was the other highlight of the evening. Walking among the rich and the pretty were WBNS 10TV’s Anietra Hamper, ColumbusFoodie and her adorable hubby, and Columbus Alive’s Miss Bella.

And the food? Funny you should ask. While I just don’t have it in me to eat at 50 restaurants in one night, I did eat to the point of having to put on stretchy pants once I got home. Now that the food has settled a bit, I have comprised a list of my favorites from tonight, though truthfully, I can’t think of anything I tried tonight that I didn’t like.

The evening started with a curried lamb rib with peach-ginger chutney from Bistro 2110 at the Blackwell Hotel.

Curried lamb rib with peach-ginger chutney from Bistro 2110 at the Blackwell Hotel

Curried lamb rib with peach-ginger chutney from Bistro 2110 at the Blackwell Hotel

The tender and meaty rib combined with the sweet and spicy chutney to deliver an unexpected one-two punch. I’m so used to lamb being served with mint jelly that this dish made my taste buds sing with sheer happiness.

The rib was then followed by a buckeye cheesecake tartlet, which was a mouthful of joy.

Buckeye cheesecake tartlet from Bistro 2110 at the Blackwell Hotel

Buckeye cheesecake tartlet from Bistro 2110 at the Blackwell Hotel

I’m not normally a dessert person because I just can’t stand a whole lot of “sweet” at one time. This, on the other hand, was just sweet enough and as far from cloying as you can get.

Next was Bel Lago Waterfront Bistro’s wonderful Heirloom Tomato caprese salad.

Bel Lago Waterfront Bistro's Heirloom Tomato caprese salad

Bel Lago Waterfront Bistro's Heirloom Tomato caprese salad

What’s especially impressive about Bel Lago is that they have a kitchen garden, so all of the herbs and vegetables used in this salad were picked this afternoon from their rooftop garden. The flavors are rich, yet simple and are what a salad should taste like.

I had been eagerly anticipating G. Michael’s Bistro and Bar’s offering for weeks and their low country shrimp and grits with andouille sausage,country raised shrimp,tomatoes and scallions, served on creamy stone ground grits don’t disappoint at all.

G. Michael's Bistro and Bar's low country shrimp and grits with andouille sausage; country raised shrimp, tomatoes and scallions, served on creamy stone ground grits

G. Michael's Bistro and Bar's low country shrimp and grits with andouille sausage; country raised shrimp, tomatoes and scallions, served on creamy stone ground grits

This dish is rich and complex, despite its rustic origins.

I admit it – I was intrigued watching Catering By Design’s chef, Alonzo Horn, at work in his makeshift kitchen on the grounds of CSCC as he prepared his wild mushroom sautee and puff pastry, topped with creme fraiche and drizzled with truffle oil.

Catering by Design's wild mushroom sautee, puff pastry, and creme fraiche, drizzled with truffle oil

Catering by Design's wild mushroom sautee, puff pastry, and creme fraiche, drizzled with truffle oil

Seeing his intense expression, I knew that I was in for a treat that I would not be able to find elsewhere.

Courtyard at Willow Brook was a surprise for me – I knew that it’s a nursing home, but I had no idea that there is a restaurant on the grounds that is open to the public, or that they also cater events.

Pesto roasted vegetable bruschetta with balsamic reduction and smoked mozzerella from Courtyard Restaurant at Willow Brook

Pesto roasted vegetable bruschetta with balsamic reduction and smoked mozzerella from Courtyard Restaurant at Willow Brook

The next time I hold an event, I really need to call them and ask for the pesto roasted vegetable bruschetta with balsamic reduction and smoked mozzerella, which was a balance of delicate flavors that came together with an uncommon precision.

The next time Hubs decides to take me out for a date night, I’m going to insist on the Plaza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hyatt on Capitol Square so I can get the Lobster and Seafood Roll with Tarragon Aioli and Micro Celery. I have always loved lobster rolls, but this set a new standard. Rich, creamy, and satisfying with a hint of crunch.

Lobster and Seafood Roll with Tarragon Aioli and Micro Celery from the Plaza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hyatt on Capitol Square

Lobster and Seafood Roll with Tarragon Aioli and Micro Celery from the Plaza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hyatt on Capitol Square

My favorite dessert of the evening, also from the Plaza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hyatt on Capitol Square, was the Chocolate Pot du Creme Tart with Caramel and Espresso, which was both rich and gooey, but not overwhelming.

Chocolate Pot du Creme Tart with Caramel and Espresso from the Plaza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hyatt on Capitol Square

Chocolate Pot du Creme Tart with Caramel and Espresso from the Plaza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hyatt on Capitol Square

The liquid center of the tart reminded me of all of the things I love about chocolate lava cake, plus the crust was crispy like a cookie.

LA Catering’s team was a gregarious bunch, laughing and cracking jokes with the guests and genuinely enjoying themselves. Tonight’s offering was as lively as they were – grilled teriyaki chicken accompanied by a grilled vegetarian platter with fresh zucchini and yellow squash marinated in olive herbs, with roasted peppers.

One of the many friendly faces at LA Catering

One of the many friendly faces at LA Catering

Ready for something different, I checked out Barrio Restaurant’s chorizo bar, which offered something for every palate – whether you prefer sweet, spicy, or mild.

And then it occurred to me that, judging by tonight’s offering, I really need to find a job at Limited Brands. They served an Ohio grown apple flat bread with grapes, basil, Ohio blue cheese, and smoked chicken.

Limited Brands' Ohio grown apple flatbread with grapes, basil, Ohio blue cheese, and smoked chicken

Limited Brands' Ohio grown apple flat bread with grapes, basil, Ohio blue cheese, and smoked chicken

and accompanied it with Ohio sweet corn bread pudding with rosemary caramel sauce.

Limited Brands' Ohio sweet corn bread pudding with rosemary caramel sauce

Limited Brands' Ohio sweet corn bread pudding with rosemary caramel sauce

I’m not sure what is more impressive – the quality of the event, the amount of money raised for the college, or the fact that C actually did manage to eat her way through 50 restaurants in one night. Whatever it is, I still give the evening an A+.

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I Feel Like an Actual Writer Now!

11 12 2008

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Those who know me know that I write for Blissfully Domestic, which is a magazine for women, and I get to write about the things that I find fascinating – cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc. (yeah, I really SHOULD get out of the house more often!). This week I’m running a contest with prizes and everything. Check it out here.

Speaking of writing, I have all kinds of exciting prospective projects in the pipeline, so thanks, everyone, for your encouragement and well wishes.

Not looking forward to tonight. Hubs and I are having our weekly financial summit where we lay out bills and the calendar and plot out when things get paid. Not the most exciting thing, but it’s a great time for us to get everything straightened out and both of us on the same page.

Still having a hard time with the news of an old friend’s death. I learned about it on Facebook and what shocks me most is how soon her death happened after her father’s. My dad died 18 years ago (yesterday was the anniversary) and it was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I still think about him everyday and miss him terribly. I wish I could have been able to talk to my friend about her feelings surrounding her dad’s death. The funeral is this Saturday and a lot of us are going. Not really the way I wanted to reconnect with my old friends.

I have to ask – what is it about the term “social media” that makes people’s ears perk up? I mentioned to a contact that I am involved in social media and consider myself somewhat of an amateur strategist. Suddenly, he starts asking all kinds of questions and throws ideas at me. Guess I’ll have to ponder that for a bit!





Mark Your Calendar

2 11 2008

For those of you who love giveaways, and who doesn’t, mark your calendar for November 11th as my friends at Type-A Mom embark on the 12 days of giveaways. Details to come on the site, as well as on twitter. Without giving away too many details (not in the holiday spirit, you know!), I will say that the prizes are FABULOUS and you really should check them out!

Meanwhile, if you have not already voted, do I really have to remind you to do so? Join in the festivities!

If only the election could be solved with a “simple” dance competition! I have a feeling that it will be an ugly fight to the end, but I will be interested to watch it unravel. Besides, if the swing states need any extra persuasion, might I suggest the Paso Doble as a tie-breaker? I can just see McCain and Obama suiting up in their matador costumes. I think you can guess who’s got my vote in that competition.

Whatever your convictions, check out Vote Smart before you head to the polls, so you, too, can be an informed voter. Just vote, mmmmmkay?





Oooooh, Pretty!

1 09 2008

Hello. My name is Sara and I am a purse-a-holic. It started simply enough with the wooden handled reverable Papagallo purse my mom got me in middle school, but it soon developed into a full-on obsession. From there, I scoured shops and yard sales in search of the ultimate handbag. Like a tru addict, I needed more and more to get my fix, so I then turned to the wonderful world of online shopping. I can now say that I am the proud owner of two vintage Coach bags, a few Gucci pieces, and a truly mind-blowing Prada tote.

So, today I was getting my daily twitter fix when I made the acquaintance of the Elliott Lucca Tropez Demi (retail value $118) in a luscious shade of raspberry. The Tropez is a truly gorgeous bag that gently flirts, rather than overtly seduces. Her sleek lines go with everything from denim to a favorite dress and can go to nearly every occasion.

So, in the interest of public service (ie: trying to save the world from the horrors of disastrous fashion choices), head over to momdot.com for a chance to win this little beauty for yourself.





Life Lesson Learned Tonight

22 07 2008

If you’re going to make an ass of yourself and tick off a friend’s spouse by being an idiot when you drink, then don’t drunk dial said spouse in an attempt to get back in their good graces. Just trying to help! It actually happened tonight and it was quite surreal.

I think I may have landed on The Haircut.


How to wear it now:

Make sure your ends reach your shoulders (if your hair is curly, they should fall just past your shoulders to compensate for shrinkage). Then lightly razor the tips so that they flip a bit, says Rodney Groves, a stylist for Kerastase at Vartali Salon in New York (he created the looks here). What you don’t want: the blunt-cut, overly “round” bob favored by your local weatherwoman.

How to style:
Run mousse through damp hair, then blow-dry with a paddle brush. Finish with smoothing cream.

MC recommends:
Sebastian Originals Threads Cream

So what do you think? Likey? No likey?

Two posts in one day? Gawd, I’m a total post whore!





I’m Not Gonna Lie to Ya…

22 07 2008

I’m in hell, I truly am. I have now been smoke-free for almost 48 hours and I’m not liking it very much. Yes, it’s better for me, blah, blah, blah, but, quite frankly, I’m about ready to french kiss some random stranger who’s standing on a street corner smoking so I can suck the smoke out of their lungs. Fun, huh? I keep trying to remind myself that I did not quit smoking (sounds like I’m forbidden to smoke and that’s no good!), but that I choose not to smoke (much more empowering that way!).

Yesterday, the cravings were short, frequent, and intense. Today, there are fewer of them, but they’re longer and even more intense. Supposedly, tomorrow is the worst of it, but once I’ve made it 72 hours, all of the nicotine is out of my system and the worst is behind me. We’ll see. I’d really love to be done with smoking. It’s just not as cool as it once was, you know? People now look at smokers with disgust as they cough and wheeze. Plus, it’s expensive and smokers just aren’t the best-smelling people in the world as they flaunt their basic disregard of common sense when it comes to their health. Maybe I should become one of those self-righteous non-smokers. That would be cool! Seriously, it wouldn’t suck to succeed at something difficult and be proud of myself, right?

In other news, I’m trying to make sense of one of the interns who just did not want to do what we asked him to. He whined and made every possible excuse why he couldn’t do it, until we finally gave up and told him to forget it. I really don’t get it. When I interned, I did everything my boss asked me to because it was a connection to my field and I wanted that person to one day give me a job (he did). It’s just what you do. It’s called paying your dues, so what gives?

Not much else today, but I am trying to decide on a haircut. My hair is way too long and I can’t do anything with it. Besides, I can use what was my cigarette money for a trip to the salon and Hubs can’t give me any crap about it! Think I can also squeeze in a manicure? Think of the money I’m saving! I think I may use that same line of logic and save up for a nice Coach purse in a few months. Wish me luck on that! I deserve it! This purse and I are meant to be together!





Blech!

15 07 2008

The past couple of days have filled me with nothing but an overwhelming sense of ickiness. Hubs has decided he doesn’t like his new job after all and he’s still sick, so he’s been complaining non-stop for the past few days. So, what do I do? Make the “get your shit together” speech again? Suffer in silence and hope he straightens out? I just don’t know anymore. I’m just tired of all of the stress and drama. I want stability and happiness. I would love for him, just once, to ask about me – how was my day? How am I doing?

On an up-note, I have a new office and it’s beautiful! It’s open and airy with large windows and I have tons of room. I feel so relaxed there and I have privacy. It’s truly my little sanctuary, even though it doesn’t have a door and it’s open, rather than being completely enclosed. I think I like it better this way. Boy, am I going to be pissed if they make me move again anytime soon! I can actually create in there! My old space was so dark and depressing, so I can’t imagine going back there again! I’m still in the process of trying to figure out how I want to decorate. I’d kind of like to make it a girlie palace (feel free to send me pretty stuff!), but that might be a little too precious. Regardless, I’m planning to keep fresh flowers on my desk as often as possible. Lately, I’ve been on a magnolia kick.

Also, have you noticed how many people are sick all of a sudden? What is that about?! In honor of the hilarity of it all, here is “the Man Cold” from the British show (rarely do I find British humor truly funny, so you know this has to be good!) “Man Stroke Woman.”