Eating for a Cause

April 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm (blogging, food, Networking) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A couple weeks ago I attended Cooking for a Cause, an evening of food and wine to benefit the East End House, an East Cambridge community organization.   The event was held at the Seaport World Trade Center, and it featured food and wine from some of the areas most celebrated restaurants.  I graciously, and without hesitation accepted an invitation to attend from Bob down at Pugs’ Bar and Grill (the bar that we ‘frequent’ in our neighborhood).  Pugs is a community supporter of the East End House, so I’ve heard about the organization and knew a bit about its programs but I didn’t research the event before I went.  I was overwhelmed and felt like a big kid in a candy store!

We arrived, signed in at the front desk and received a Program with a giant number on the back, and then I grabbed a glass of wine at the cash bar outside of the Harborview Ballroom.   I proceeded into the Ballroom and realized that I needed two extra hands.   The room was set up with chefs, wine and beer makers, mixologists and specialty vendors each offering small plates or samples of their menu items.  I quickly ‘disposed’ of the glass of wine so that I could work the room.

My Favorites:

  • Will Gilson, Garden at the Cellar, offered a grilled octopus salad, which tasted fresh from the garden, with a variety of textures in the octopus, herbs, cheeses, beans and barley.  This was MY FAVORITE of the night.
  • Eric Brennan, Post 390, shared a Clam Fritter and Herb Salad with crispy chorizo and Duxbury razor clams.  The Herb Salad stood out on the plate and the palate with frisee, celery leaf, basil, red onion…and those razor clams and chorizo.
  • Paul O’Connell, Chez Henri, offered a French/Cuban ropa vieja (“old clothes” in Spanish) with braised flank steak, rice, black beans, sour cream and cilantro.
  • Rachel Klein of Aura offered lobster ravioli made with delicate wanton wrappers.  At this table, I learned that I have been cooking my ravioli at to rapid a boil.  The key is to bring the water to boil, and then turn down below a simmer, especially when I use wanton wrappers.  This keeps the ravioli from blowing up or falling apart.  I learn something new every day.  (ref #food411 on twitter.)
  • Rodney Murillo of Avila shared a hand-rolled, potato gnocchi with braised beef and fresh farmer cheese.  I never order gnocchi when I’m out because it lacks variety in flavors, but this plate had a lot going on.
  • I think it was Dana Seabury, of Tamo Bar, that offered an orange slushy drink with Knob Creek and these green lime/lemon leaves that I can’t recall the name of.  I might have to visit Dana at Tamo to get the recipe of this drink.  This is definitely a ‘try-at-home’ concoction.
  • I also found a new wine that I like.  But, let’s face it, this happens about three times a week.  It’s a Spanish wine called dominio de tares baltos, which is deep purple in color, with an earthy, cherry flavor.  It’s cheap too at $16 a bottle.

The food and drink was tremendous, and the live and silent auction, led by an energetic auctioneer was an exciting end to the evening. (This is when I realized what the giant number was for on the back of my Program.) The auction for an Iron Chef Competition at the Seaport Hotel Test Kitchen brought in $6000 for the cause.

The East End House is a community center in East Cambridge, which supports children, families and individuals in the Greater Boston Area.  Its core programs include childcare, after school and summer programs, youth mentoring programs (including its Generating and Evaluating New Adventures in Science After School program), an emergency food program, senior programming, and community events and workshops.  I am looking forward to getting involved with this excellent organization.

Thanks Bob, for the invitation.

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