Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Veggie U Recap

Saturday brought one of the best days that I've had so far this summer. It was Veggie U's annual Food & Wine Celebration to benefit their fantastic education program. I couldn't contain my excitement over the lineup of talented chefs, unique event setting, and the group of friends that I would be spending the evening with.

15 of us met at Deagan's Kitchen & Bar for a pre-event cocktail, and then we piled into "Jeff's Sexy Van" with cold beers, shrimp appetizers, and macaroons. The evening was off to a great start...Then we arrived and the real fun began.One of the first tables that I stopped at featured one of my favorite chefs...Jeff Jarrett from AMP 150.As we made our way through the tasting tent, some highlights were Anna Kim's (Cleveland Downtown Marriott at Key Center) cold tomato bisque with balsamic vinegar and a tiny grilled cheese.I also loved Washington Place Bistro's fried green tomato dish (pictured below), and Deagan's lobster nacho. My Cleveland pride was in full force! We tasted so many wonderful dishes, but the ones that really stood out in my opinion were mostly from Cleveland chefs. Which says a lot, because there was seriously some TALENT under that tent.Other highlights of the event included talking with Veggie U's own Farmer Lee Jones (he's making a funny face because he accused me of pinching his butt just as "R" snapped the photo, hehehe).And...I got to meet Ruth Reichl!I tore through her book Garlic & Sapphires this spring in one sitting- it was that good. So meeting her was a thrill, and for the first time in my life I was a little starstruck. But she couldn't have been any nicer to her adoring fans.

It was HOT and sweaty, but this didn't dampen our experience. We finally piled back onto the van with full bellies, a slight wine buzz, and smiles on our faces. I'm just glad that no one recorded the sing-a-long that took place on the way home. I should stick to my day job.Thank you again to Farmer Lee Jones and his crew for the opportunity to attend the event. This was the first, but certainly not the last, time that I'll be there.


alexa @clevelandsaplum said...

so sad to have had to miss this party because man does it look amazing!!

my favorite pic is the last one, fyi.

Suzanne said...

What is wrong with me?! And why are there photos of me tonguing some beets on the internet?!At least my "date" had the decency to color co-ordinate with my outfit.

CLEgal @ Why CLE? said...

Such a fun event! Washington Place was out of food when we got to them and I was so bummed. Also, Farmer Lee accused me of pinching his butt too! We CLE bloggers are frisky, I guess!

Heather said...

Looks like such a fun time!! And awesome food!