Thanks to Foodbuzz, there was one ticket waiting at will-call for Chrystal at the Orange Country “Taste of the Nation” event in Newport Beach on Friday, May 1st. The event was sponsored by Share Our Strength, an organization that aims to end child hunger all over the United States. When we first heard of Share Our Strength, admittedly, it was only a few months ago. We were unaware of this huge fund raising power working nation wide to eradicate child hunger through community service, corporate and non-profit partnerships, culinary fund raising and educational programs. When the opportunity presented itself to attend an evening of food and drink featuring some of Southern California’s best and brightest restaurants in Orange County, it was a yes all the way.
After a quick (in LA standards) hour and fifteen minute drive through typical Friday night traffic, there it was. The Island Hotel at Fashion Island was the location for the evening’s affair. The comp ticket was waiting at the check-in, and from there it was just a matter of walking through the doors. The room was a mad house of roving attendees walking around each eatery’s set up and of course the long auction table of goodies. White linen covered tables of samples from over 30 participating vendors, bartenders mixing specialty cocktails, wineries pouring samples of their best bottles and servers whizzing by with mini tasting glasses and nibbles. The atmosphere was frenzied, to say the least! Feeling slightly overwhelmed, the only thing left to do was pick up a plate and glass and start at the closest table.
The entire evening consisted of bits and bites of everything! It felt very ironic to see many plates of wasted food at an event to end child hunger, so the goal was to get very small samples whenever possible in order to avoid wasting anything. Share Your Strength is an admirable organization that obviously works hard to fight child hunger. There are events across the nation through late August, so if you are able to attend, don’t hesitate to purchase a ticket. It is a worthy cause, that’s for sure.
Circling the white tented venue for an hour and a half, the amount of food at the event was astounding. As performers sang and the crowd moved through the space, the swelling boom of music and chattering and the whirling scent of dishes made the evening go by in a flash. Here’s just a small peek at what was available:
Creme brulee, Orange Hill
Goat cheese and mango on crackers with tomato and beef stacks
Mushroom stuffed scallops, Orange Hill
Oven roasted vegetables, Pizzeria Ortica
Macaroni and cheese, The Island Hotel
Chilean sea bass with curry coconut sauce, S Vietnamese
Seafood of the future
Finlandia drinks for all
Grilled shrimp, Gyu-Kaku
Salmon cups, Jay’s Catering
The finest of wines
Korean beef tacos, Sage on the Coast
Bacon-wrapped filet mignon
Tomato salsa on tempura zucchini and pea soup
Zipang cold sake
Salmon with basil aioli over mashed potatoes with berry pie, Nirvana Grille
Tuna tartare with pine nuts, Roy’s Fish & Seafood
Sadie Rose breads
Tempura asparagus rolls, Blue Fin
Mini burgers, The Crow Bar
The table for Stella Artois
Basil grilled cheese, Pascal
“Taste of the Nation” comes to Los Angeles on June 14. If anyone has an extra ticket, one of us will gladly be your date for the evening! Check out Share Our Strength for more on the organization.