Taste of the Nation: Great Food, Great Drink, Greater Cause

Taste of the Nation is a tasting event featuring over 70 of Boston’s great restaurants, 30 wineries, specialty cocktails, silent auction and live entertainment. But it’s not just a glamorous foodie event – it is the nation’s largest culinary benefit supporting the effort to end childhood hunger in America.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending this event hosted by Share Our Strength, a national non-profit committed to ending childhood hunger through its No Kid Hungry campaign. It was a night filled with great food and great drinks for a greater cause.

While I’ve been to culinary fundraisers before, it was my first time attending an event of this magnitude, and my first time seeing so many Boston chefs in the same room, interacting with everyone while preparing little bites of their food. I did get a little overwhelmed when I first entered the giant room – there were so many stations and drinks and people! I was able to sample some very delicious bites and mini-plates, and I had such a fun time.

there was a live band that played music throughout the night, lending a relaxed yet upbeat vibe to the event

there were also several stations for cocktails and wine

my first bite for the night was a blini with salmon caviar and lemon mousse

my favorite savory bite was this steak tartare from Upstairs on the Square

and my favorite sweet bite was this goat cheese panna cotta from L'Espalier

I am highly impressed with L’Espalier desserts, especially after trying L’Espalier’s afternoon tea and this little dream. It’s definitely a save for a special occassion kind of place, so I’m waiting for a celebration to finally have dinner there. Maybe if my mom comes to Boston for Mother’s Day? (hi, Mom!)

seared duck breast from Hamersley's Bistro

grilled octopus salad from Posto

kobe beef cheek sliders from Brasserie Jo (I wish this would be on their menu!)

gougeres with salami, goat cheese and fig jam from The Blue Room

beautiful desserts from the Cambridge Culinary School of Arts

at the Gargoyles on the Square table, we were instructed to take a spoon and eat the flower-like nibbles and to "give it 30 seconds"

we were also given a small scoop of liquid nitrogen lychee ice cream

I didn’t know what the blue haired chef was up to, but after a few seconds, my tongue started going numb! Turns out that the little nuggets were made with aleppo peppers! Oh Mr. Jason Santos, why would you numb my toungue at a food event?? The lychee ice cream was delicious though, and definitely welcome relief. It was a very good thing that the numbness only last a few minutes, and I was able to savor my next bite:

braised beef with polenta from Lucca

at the Rialto table, we were greeted with salt cod on crisp potato and spring vegetable salad...

... and oh hello there, chef Jody Adams!

That’s Michelle, Meghan, me, and Megan with the James Beard award-winning chef, who graciously took a few minutes to chat with us. We learned that she is participating with Team Rialto for the Pan-Mass Challenge, and when I commented that it must be tough to train for that long bike ride while juggling her other responsibilities, she said when you really love something, you make make time for it. Wise words.

The fact that the chefs behind the restaurants were all there, donating their time and effort for this event, felt really special. I also dropped by the Church table and said hello to Laura but unfortunately I was too full to try the hash they were cooking!

while I was picking up some macarons from Levy restaurants...

we bumped into another chef: Tiffani Faison of Top Chef and Rocca (which sadly is now closed)

Tiffani actually remembered me from when we first met and she was as nice and friendly as ever. We are watching out for her new “project” coming soon!

my last bite for the night was a PB&J cookie from Craigie on Main

I did not eat these little rubber duckies (for $25 or $50, you get one with a guaranteed prize)

I had a press pass for the Taste of the Nation (thank you again to Susan for inviting me!) but 100% of ticket sales and proceeds supports Share Our Strength’s efforts. There are many ways to get involved and you can take the No Kid Hungry Pledge online.You can also find an event in your city.

It was such an enjoyable evening filled with delicious food and wonderful company, and I’m so glad I was able to attend it! What’s the best fundraiser you’ve been to?

   

18 Responses to “Taste of the Nation: Great Food, Great Drink, Greater Cause”

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    1
    Liz posted April 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Looks like a fantastic event – I’ll have to go next year!

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    Megan posted April 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

    So much fun and such a good cause! Glad we got to hang together at this event!

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    Lesley Lifting Life posted April 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Sounds like a great event with awesome food! :)

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    Michelle posted April 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Thursday night was SO much fun! Now we need to organize a dinner to Coppa!

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    Daisy posted April 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    you took fantastic photographs. what an awesome night you must have had!

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    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted April 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I love that first photo! Looks like a fun – and important – event.

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    chrysta posted April 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

    wow this event looks fabulous! all that amazing looking food. Thats actually one of my favorite ways to eat. I love just little bites of everything. I sssooo want to try that liquid nitrogen ice cream. How interesting. So glad you had a blast. Thanks for the rockin pics!

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    Bee posted April 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Ahh that looks like it was so much fun! I don’t have the money currently to attend things like these, and I’m not longer in Boston so they are few and far between. But it looks like it was amazing and delicious :)

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    Dana posted April 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I love seeing everyone’s pictures of this fun event… looks like so much fun, and for such a great cause!

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    Kathleen posted April 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous night!

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    Angie@Angiesrecipes posted April 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    A fun, delicious and meaningful event! The whole spread of food…mm..drooling over those perfect macarons.

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    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) posted April 18, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Looks like such a fun event!! Great photos! I agree….I would not have liked to have a numb tongue at a food event!!

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    Megan posted April 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    All of that food looks amazing–looks like you girls had a great time! Although I don’t think I would’ve been too happy if I had my tongue numbed for a few minutes either!

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    Hannah posted April 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    How wonderful! Lovely music, delicious food, and a good cause… mostly, though, I just want the goat cheese pannacotta :)

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    MelissaNibbles posted April 19, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Looks like a great event! Very cool that you met Tiffany.

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    Sues posted April 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    It was SO great to finally meet you!!! :) AND we did NOT go to Gargoyles after talking to you! Hehe :)

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    Susan posted April 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    It was so great to see you at the event! I love when bloglife and real life crashes. So glad you had a great time, thanks so much for coming and for the fantastic recap!

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