I know from seeing plenty of celebs that they're always smaller or bigger than you expect. Martha was, like, a giant. I recognize those gottahavethem Manolo d'orsay pumps; looks like she's a size 40 to me, and has a very high tolerance for stiletto pain. Martha and Lorraine Bracco had a lot to talk about as Ms. Steward balanced herself on the couch arm next to me in the press room before the show started. I don't want to dwell on other starstruck moments, but Grant Achatz up close...Foxy!
After all the orange ribbon medals were handed out and the near-Oscars-length ceremony ended, it was time to eat at the Women in Food themed gala. Yay, finally. I've been to some disorganized, patience-testing tasting events. This was definitely NOT one of those. The food and drink were plentiful and efficiently churned out for a big crowd. That's the way to do it y'all, and thankfully all the pros are there to impress with their A game.
The small bites ranged from the familiar to the uncharted. To wit: Fiore di Nonno burrata on bulgur crackers with artichoke and green olive (Jody Adams of Rialto) vs. Bolinas goat tongue on a thick crisp crouton with Meyer lemon, fenugreek, mint and tomato chutney (Loretta Keller of Coco500) .
Jennifer Petrusky of Charlie Trotter's super seasonal fava bean and onion surprise did leave us wondering what the that mysterious element was. The morels were obvious, but the terrine seemed to have something else to make it dense. Turns out it was all morels in there, topped with the pickled onions, more morels, and duck gizzards. Surprise!
A few desserts required a second round. Green apple sorbet topped with Alaskan king crab and crab butter powder served in little bamboo bowls by Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita
Danica Pollard's beautiful toasted almost and rose bonet (similar to flan) with rhubarb and candied rose petals and Kate Zuckerman of Chanterelle's warm coconut-cardamom rice pudding with rhubarb and kumquats were both gorgeous to look at and taste.
Green apples in the pink rose and verbena flower arrangement at Pollard's Lidia's Kansas City station is something I'll have to copy in future flower arranging endeavors. Asparagus with white tulips at award-winner Maria Hines of Tilth's table, where the Best Chef Northwest winner set out beef carpaccio with asparagus, horseradish creme fraiche and sorrel, wasn't quite as pretty, but I love these efforts to incorporate food with flowers.
One last little thought. Given the overflowing trash cans full of plastic plates and utensils, I recommend there be a Green Food /Good Habits attempt in future years.