When it rains it pours so to speak, as I've been attending one food event after another. Not that I'm complaining at all, in fact, I've been absolutely loving it and having a great time soaking in the wonderful atmosphere and of course all the food. Last night's Food & Fotos event for Foundation Rwanda was no different and as you can deduce from its title, it benefitted a wonderful charity, which seeks to foster secondary school education for children as well as to provide medical and psychological support and income generating opportunities for their mothers.
The event was set in a gorgeous space in midtown Manhattan at Bonhams, a fine arts auction house. I liked the setting a lot, as it provided a clean, large space and a perfect way to showcase all the gorgeous art that was being auctioned off. I appreciated that the food tables were spread out across different rooms, so you never got that cramped feeling that can sometimes prevail at large tasting events. It all felt relaxed, comfortable and very well planned out.
The food and drinks line-up at the event was excellent and offered about 30 high-profile NYC restaurants representing a variety of styles and cuisines. For the most part, each restaurant was represented by its Executive Chef and there were certainly some celebrity chefs in the crowd such as Anita Lo of Annisa (pictured above) and Nils Noren of L'Ecole, both contestants from the first season of Top Chef Masters. It was very cool to speak to them personally and ask them questions about their experiences.
Here are some other highlights from the event that pertain specifically to food & drink:
New York Vintners - They served a supremely amazing smoked gruyere grilled cheese sandwich (pictured above). It was so wonderfully creamy (containing bechamel sauce too) that we went back for seconds and thirds.
Kuma Inn - I'm looking forward to seeing this trendy Asian-fusion restaurant at Monday's Taste of the Nation. Last night, they served a tender pork belly, slathered in a slightly sweet sauce, garnished with pickled slaw. Seconds were had here as well.
Tia Pol - A tapas favorite of mine, I certainly wasn't disappointed with their bite sized offering of a Spanish-style tortilla topped with a salty, pickled fish dish called "boqueron." It provided a nice pairing of starch and fish. Mmmmm....
Nunu Chocolates - This was by far our favorite dessert. While simple, the flavors were so beautifully put together in these hand dipped salt caramels that we were absolutely obsessed.
L'Artusi - Oh my sweet lord, they served the moistest olive oil cake with a topping of slightly sour creme fraiche mousse topped with a plump golden raisin. I love desserts that aren't overly sweet and this one fit the bill perfectly.
Rwanda Refresh Cocktail - There were a number of 901 Silver Tequila cocktails served last night, but I preferred this one, which was mixed by dell'anima's mixologist, Clinton Addison. It was really refreshing (hence, its name) with a hint of citrus with every sip. I even got the easy recipe right here so you can try it at home:
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz 901 Silver Tequila
Shake. Strain into rocks glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of ginger beer. Enjoy and put your own spin on it too.
If you'd like to support Foundation Rwanda, see more information here.