Hi guys! I’m writing this post on the plane to Aruba. I am a few hours from paradise (or at least I hope that’s what it will be like), but the truth is our vacation started a day early with last night’s Taste of the Nation event. This was the most amazing foodie event I have ever attended. It was truly a treat and I felt so honored to be a part of it and now to be able to share it with you in this space. Taste of the Nation is an event all over the US – local restaurants, beverage distributors and other companies come together to showcase their specialties. They donate their products and time and 100% of all ticket proceeds go to Share Our Strength foundation which is aimed at ending childhood hunger in the US. I think so many of us don’t realize that this is a real issue even in this country. 17 million children were hungry in America last year – that’s 17.2% of all children! I am still amazed at how well this event was run and just how generous were not only the companies that contributed to Taste of the Nation happening here in Boston but also the attendees who bid on hundreds of products at above value prices (on top of paying for decently priced tickets). I think this was successful on all fronts!
Before we begin, I wanted to just add a quick disclaimer – I attended this event for free as press (Adam was my guest and also received a free ticket). We did bid on a few items offered through the silent auction and won a case of wine (more on that below).
I took my “press” role very seriously. We got to the event early and I did not relax until I took a picture of every single booth and talked to a few vendors that caught my eye. Let me tell you, with about 70 booths, this was quite the job (I took 269 pictures and I think it took at least an hour and a half)!! What can I say… I like to be thorough. 😆 This also provided me with an opportunity to see all the offerings. I tasted a few things while snapping photos of tables but overall made mental notes for the ones I just had to come back for. So much food and wine, so little time! Pictures of most of the offerings are at the end of the post for your viewing pleasure (serious food porn!!) but here are the highlights…
BEST SAVORY BITES
– tuna tartare with avocado cream and ginger from Market
– pimiento and bacon sandwich from Hungry Mother
These guys were all about BACON (cookies with bacon were also available)
– loch duart salmon from Clink – it was cooked on a salt stone which imparted wonderful flavor (not necessarily salty, just enhanced the flavor of the fish)
– crab cake from The Oceanaire Seafood Room
– shrimp ceviche from Zocalo (I couldn’t try it since it was an onion fest but this was Adam’s favorite bite of the night!). Sorry, no picture (it came out too blurry).
– sloppy Joe from KO Prime
– deconstructed mac&cheese from L’Espalier – I’m all for originality and thinking outside the box but… bleh
– mini cannoli from Stella – We already loved Stella but these cannolis were out of this world amazing… so buttery, tender and creamy at the same time. Better than any I’ve had in the North End!
– mini chocolate tarts from John Accardi & Sons (catering)
– chocolate custard filled profitaroles from Blue Frog Bakery (I will be driving to JP just for those!!)
– brownie and mojito cupcakes from Kickass Cupcakes
Top dessert in the bunch AND the coolest chef mentioning?! Double brownie points for Stella (I already have a dinner planned there next month… can’t wait for it even more now). 😀
– Franklin Southie… chef and owner (?)
Bartender (right), Mike (left)
Whatever this was, it was delicious
Cucumber, lime and vodka cocktail poured over an ice sculpture (that’s Adam modeling it for us 😉 )
Awesome, fun guys, great presentation… and also the best drink of the night. Adam and I have been meaning to go to Frankin Cafe for years but they don’t take reservations in their South End location and only take reservations for 6+ people at their Southie location, so that’s our excuse for not trying it sooner. I think we need to find 4 more friends and we’re there! 😉
“Real life” friends (Tina and Mal are both )
Me + Katie
Adam + Mike with tiny Corzo tequila glasses… supuh smoooooth 😎
Adam + Mike at the scotch tasting
OTHERS WORTH MENTIONING
– Season to Taste catering
They cater mostly to weddings but also large parties. About 95% of their produce is local!! If I were to redo our wedding, I’d want a company just like that to cater (we didn’t have a vendor choice though with the venue we chose). Maybe one day if I throw a really large bash for something. 😉
STTC offered 2 samples…
Was this made just for me or what?!!
Braised chicken on a potato gaufrette with balsamic caramel
I love that the wines are all made from organically grown grapes, but the most original thing is the recyclable containers the wine comes in. The owners decided to use these instead of the traditional glass bottles because the lighter packaging saves on shipping costs and leaves a smaller carbon footprint. It’s a win-win for all. Adam also likes that the containers are 1 litter instead of 750ml 😉
Hundreds of companies donated their services/products and thousands of people participated in the silent auctions. Just like with tickets to the event, 100% of all proceeds went to the Share Our Strength foundation. There were rows and rows of things you could bid on (from 10-day vacations to Hawaii to cooking classes and wine)…
You could also purchase some ducks that would entitle you to $25 or $50 worth of gifts (mostly cookbooks but a few other gift certificates and baskets were available)
As mentioned before, Adam and I decided to bid on a few things and won the bid for a case of the Yellow + Blue wine! We loved the taste of the wine and the concept behind the company. We weren’t planning on buying all of this wine, but hey, it’s for the kids!
All right, this is where I would give you the rest of pictures but ecto is not happy with 200 pictures transferred. To make sure I don’t lose the rest of this post, I’m publishing it as is. Hopefully I can update it in the future (I’ll let you know if I do). Seriously, though, the best event I have ever been to. Amazing, amazing, amazing. That’s all I have. Thank you, Share Our Strength, for having me there!!