Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Lemon Caramel and The Meals on Wheels Star Chef’s & Vintner’s Gala 2011 recap

by Irvin on July 11, 2011 · 9 comments

[Advanced warning: this is an epic long post. Don’t look/read it on an empty stomach]

Once a year, there comes an event that is THE absolute best San Francisco Bay Area’s food & wine event of the year: The Meals on Wheels Star Chef’s & Vintner’s Gala. I’ve been going to the black tie event for the past seven or eight years, and each year it out does itself. With Nancy Oakes (Boulevard, Prospect) chairing the event yet again, the list of restaurants and wineries was truly fantastic. It’s funny, because I often don’t eat out that much in San Francisco, but I can say that I’ve had food from some of the top restaurants in the SF Bay Area, all because of this event. And, as always, it’s a total inspiration for me at home in the kitchen, where I created this strawberry chocolate tart with lemon caramel, inspired by a dessert sampled from the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco.

Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Lemon Caramel jpg Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Lemon Caramel

Meals on Wheels hosts their biggest fundraiser every May, the Meals on Wheels Star Chef’s and Vintner’s Gala, and this year, it broke their record by raising $1.4 million. That’s about 350,000 meals for homebound seniors! AJ and I get super excited to go and this year was no exception. The weekend was packed for me, as I was helping to organize the San Francisco Food Blogger’s Bake Sale, as well as attending the first San Francisco Food Swap. But I rallied as AJ and I weren’t missing this event.

AJ and Irvin on the way to the Meals on Wheels Gala 2011 event. jpg On the way to the Gala. Don’t worry, we were at at stoplight when we took the photo

The minute we walk into this event, in our swanky black tie tuxedos (that AJ and I own, no rentals for us) and take a glass of Domaine Chandon sparkling wine to sip on while we wait in line to register, we knew that were in for an amazing evening. The theme colors this year were shocking pink and eye popping chartreuse green, creating a festive and fun atmosphere from the get go.

Domaine Chandon Sparkly Wine jpg Domaine Chandon sparkly for all! The entry way to the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2011 jpg The entry way to the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2011.

The Gala is set up in three stages of gluttony fine dining experience. Stage one occurs when you walk into the big tent, and see the vast array of restaurants and wineries who have set up stations to serve the fancy rich people who have come to the event. In the middle is a huge silent auction station, which I usually try to get AJ to avoid (unlimited wine tasting and silent auction do not make our bank account happy – but I guess that’s the point, after all it’s a fundraiser). You can wander aimlessly about sampling appetizers from different restaurants, but I always have a game plan. Hit as many restaurants and top notch wineries with a razor point precision, and do not dawdle or go back for seconds, lest you fill up too fast to try everything.

Giant vases were all over the place. jpg Giant vases were set up as centerpieces all over the place.

Of course, one of the first stations that we stopped at was La Mar Cebicheria Peruana which was offering three types of Peruvian ceviche, an ahi tuna, a hamachi yellowtail and a third one I didn’t get, for fear that if I did, I would just stay there all night eating them all. I love my ceviche. Thankfully, AJ rescued me from OD on ceviche by shoving an Italian salumi on buttermilk biscuit and pickled pepper jam sandwich in my mouth, from Americano. Revived from a ceviche stupor, I wandered over to TR Elliot where I snagged a lovely light 2007 Pinot Noir.

Ceviche from La Mar Cebicheria Peruana One of three ceviche from La Mar Cebicheria Peruana. biscuit and salumi from Americano biscuit and salumi from Americano Eating a salumi biscuit An exceedingly unflattering photo of me eating a salumi biscuit TR Elliot wine TR Elliot Pinot Noir

Then AJ and I turned around and found Greens in front of us, so we picked up their mushroom crostini (with four types of mushrooms) which was as fantastic as you would expect, and then Hana which were making sushi handrolls to order. Hello Hana, AJ and I could stay at your station forever. Hana, by the way, was where AJ first broke our rule of never going back for seconds until every station was sampled, because he ended up with two rolls. Dragging him away, lest he get a third roll, I spotted Chef Chad Newton serving up his housemade bacon tater tots with steak sauce (I love me a good tater tot) from his new fast casual concept “American Box” along with Chef Gracie Nguyen serving up fried chicken spring rolls with kimchi puree (yes they were as good as it sounds) from the sister concept “Asian Box.”

Mushroom Crostini from Greens Restaurant jpg Mushroom Crostini from Greens Restaurant Hana chef making a handroll for us. jpg Hana chef making a custom handroll for us. Housemade Tater Tots by Chad Newton. jpg Housemade Tater Tots by Chad Newton for American Box. Fried Chicken Spring Roll with Kimchi from Asian Box for the win! jpg Fried Chicken Spring Roll with Kimchi from Asian Box for the win!

Taking a bit of a breather from the food, AJ and I wandered and talked to some of the vineyards, asking Three Sticks about their wine (it was small lot produce wine, with their Cabernet Sauvignon’s being full of berry and juicy fruit), discussing with Harvest Moon about their Zinfadel (blended from both old vine and new vine grapes) and wondering why Shafer Vineyard called their Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five (one point five refers to the collaborative father and son working on the wine together, not a traditional second generation winemaker family).

Three Sticks wine. jpg Three Sticks wine. Harvest Moon wine. jpg Harvest Moon wine. Shafer Vineyards. jpg Shafer Vineyards.

After our wine break, we rolled ourselves over to Brick and Bottle, Scott Howard’s Marin restaurant where we sampled his killer mac and cheese with with duck confit and tomato jam. Updated comfort food at it’s best. Speaking of excellent updated comfort food, 15 Romolo had fried chicken on a biscuit with spiced honey. Thankfully Terzo, offering up a freshly made fava bean puree with marinated feta cheese on a pita chip, was there to give my palate a bit of a cleansing break with a bright green bite.

Brick and Bottle's Mac and Cheese with duck confit and tomato jam. jpg Brick and Bottle’s Mac and Cheese with duck confit and tomato jam. Fried Chicken in a Biscuit by 15 Romolo. jpg Fried Chicken in a Biscuit by 15 Romolo. Serving me up some Fava Bean Puree on Pita Chip from Terzo. jpg Serving me up some Fava Bean Puree on Pita Chip from Terzo.

Navio Restaurant at the The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay always has some interesting vegetable based appetizers, and this year was no different, as they served up an English pea and Dungeness Crab “Panna Cotta” with Spring morels and lemon confit relish. Waterbar was there serving up pastrami style steelhead with sauerkraut which sounded novel, but actually made sense when you tasted it (think cured trout, but with pastrami seasonings). Around the corner, Paragon had pork shoulder with Kansas City style BBQ sauce and apple jicama ginger slaw on egg brioche. And the Ahwahnee Hotel Dining Room was serving up a chilled asparagus “vichyssoise” soup with Espellette pepper and truffle salt which almost sounded healthy, if you scooped out the crispy pancetta that they served it with. I did not do any such thing.

Navio Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay serving up English Pea Panna Cotta. jpg Navio Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay serving up English Pea Panna Cotta. Pastrami style Steelhead from Waterbar. jpg Pastrami style Steelhead from Waterbar. Pork Shoulder with KC BBQ Sauce from Paragon. jpg Pork Shoulder with KC BBQ Sauce from Paragon. Chilled Asparagus Vichyssoise shooter from the Dining Room at Ahwahnee Hotel. jpg Chilled Asparagus Vichyssoise shooter from the Dining Room at Ahwahnee Hotel.

Des Amis Café had some green garlic griddle cakes served with shaved lamb’s tongue, which had me wondering how large a lamb tongue really was (not a great mental image, but still I’m curious) and Hecho was serving up triple dipped chicken yakitori which had AJ immediately reaching for a second one. He loves meat on a stick (you should see him at a street fair, he gets all excited). Scala’s Bistro had ricotta gnudi with rabbit which had both of use excited, as we love rabbit. Gnudi, in case you didn’t know (I didn’t and had to ask), is basically a gnocchi dumpling, made with ricotta cheese. Fancy! Brown Sugar Kitchen was keeping it real with their BBQ Shrimp and Grits, which were rock solid (though they did fancy it up a bit by serving it with an andouille gougeres). I keep on meaning to go over to Oakland for a bite there, but I’m so lazy about leaving the San Francisco city limits (what, I have to travel over a bridge? Forget it) that I haven’t made it yet.

Green Garlic Griddle Cake with Lamb Tongue from Des Amis Cafe. jpg Green Garlic Griddle Cake with Lamb Tongue from Des Amis Cafe. Triple Dipped Chicken Yakitori from Hecho. jpg Triple Dipped Chicken Yakitori from Hecho. Ricotta Gnudi with Rabbit from Scala Bistro. jpg Ricotta Gnudi with Rabbit from Scala Bistro. BBQ Shrimp with Grits from Brown Sugar Kitchen. jpg BBQ Shrimp with Grits from Brown Sugar Kitchen.

AJ and I were getting pretty exhausted by all the food (I mean, are you?), so we stopped by Parallel Wineries and snagged a glass of their 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Apparently the grapes were from the St. Helena hillside vineyard and aged in new French Oak barrels for two years. AJ was impressed with how smooth it was, while, a design geek liked their label, though I questioned the fact that the lines weren’t, in fact, parallel at all. Speaking of pretty bottles, Brigitte and Courtesan wines were there as well, and both AJ and I loved their lacy lingerie inspired labels. The wine itself was very approachable. Of course, I can’t talk about beautiful labels without design geeking out over Gargiulo Vineyards type driven wine labels. Their Money Road Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was one of AJ’s faves, a bold dark fruity wine that was a great match to all the rich food we were eating.

Parallel Wines (notice how the lines are NOT parallel). jpg Parallel Wines (notice how the lines are NOT parallel). Brigitte Wine. jpg Sexy Brigitte Wine. Gargiulo Vineyards. jpg Gargiulo Vineyards had me design geeking out over type driven labels.

After our wine excursion, time was running out before stage two of our food orgy experience so I hurried AJ along to taste more things. Vin Antico had a beef tartare that had me questioning why I didn’t order beef tartare more often, while Plate Shop had foie gras with strawberry consumme with pickled green strawberries (better eat up on the foie gras before it’s illegal here in California next year) that had a wonderful balance of rich fattiness and shocking sweetness. Barbacco had stracciatella (inside burrata cheese – how did they do that?) with wild mushroom and artichoke ragout crostini (stracciatella is an Italian cheesy egg drop soup dish – yeah, I had to Wikipedia that one too). Incanto was there with a lamb tartare with anchovy and mint that had me wondering why people don’t make lamb tartare more often. But it was the suckling pig with spicy mayo on the white roll from Prospect that had AJ contemplating going back for seconds, even though we were stuffed beyond belief. I mean, come on, suckling pig! AJ was in heaven. Heck I was too.

Vin Antico had beef tartar. jpg Vin Antico had beef tartar. Foie Gras in Strawberry Consommé from Plate Shop. jpg Foie Gras in Strawberry Consommé  with pickled green strawberries from Plate Shop. Stracciatella (inside burrata cheese) with wild mushroom & artichoke ragout crostini from Barbacco. jpg Stracciatella (inside burrata cheese) with wild mushroom & artichoke ragout crostini from Barbacco. Incanto's Lamb Tartare. jpg Incanto’s Lamb Tartare. A suckling pig slider from Prospect. jpg A suckling pig slider from Prospect. AJ eating the suckling pig slider. jpg AJ thoroughly enjoying the suckling pig slider.

Are you overwhelmed yet? Yeah, AJ and I were too. But we suffered on, sampling as much as we could, because I know you readers wanted me to (I’m a giver that way). Bocadillos had braised oxtail that was delightful as only braised oxtail can be, while étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon was serving up a gorgeous yellowtail tuna with fiddlehead fern and white soy sauce. Lark Creek Steak had an excellent Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit Terrine with pistachios and Apricot Compote and E & O Trading Restaurant had more meat on a stick, this time sake braised pork with pickled Fuji apples.

Bocadillos preparing some oxtail for me. jpg Bocadillos preparing some oxtail for me. étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon had yellowtail tuna with fiddlefern. jpg étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon had yellowtail tuna with fiddlefern. Lark Creek Steak's Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit Terrine. jpg Lark Creek Steak’s Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit Terrine. Sake marinated pork and pickled Fuji Apples from E & O Trading Company. jpg Sake pork & pickled Fuji Apple from E & O Trading Company.

More wine was in order if we were to actually last any longer at this event, so we stopped at Saddleback Cellars where we sampled their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon which was nice and juicy and full of berry flavor but not too jammy. Rombauer Vineyards was offering a nice 2007 Merlot that was smooth and soft. I think AJ’s favorite of the evening though, was the Pride Mountain Vineyards which is located between Napa and Sonoma. AJ and I loved their Cabernet Franc, which they normally don’t pour (it was luscious) and their flagship merlot is not to be missed either.

Saddleback Cellars. jpg Saddleback Cellars. Rombauer Vineyards. jpg Rombauer Vineyards. Pride Mountain Vineyards. jpg Pride Mountain Vineyards.

Stumbling away from the wine, we encountered Meritage at the Claremont, who had a pork belly on a spring pea salad, and Baker and Banker (I love their little breakfast bakery window but I still haven’t been to the restaurant proper) was offering Devil’s Gulch rabbit loin with faro, cherry and toasted walnut salad topped with a Kriek Beer Sauce. Come to mama! Picán had Fudge Farms Pork Ribs served “Reuben Style” which mean it was pastrami cured and served with pickled cabbage, mustard and Cajun cheddar aioli. Nearly full from all the sampling of appetizers, we nearly missed The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco if it were not for fellow bloggers Danielle Tsi and Ben Rhau where they said we had to try the foie gras lollipops being served up with three types of vanilla. I don’t know how they did it, but the foie gras actually tasted light and melty in my mouth.

Pork Belly on Spring Pea Salad by Meritage. jpg Pork Belly on Spring Pea Salad by Meritage. Rabbit Loin with Farro from Baker and Banker. jpg Rabbit Loin with Faro and Cherry Walnut Salad from Baker and Banker. Pican serving up some pastrami style pork rib. jpg Pican serving up some pastrami style pork rib. Foie Gras Lollipop with three types of vanilla by Ritz Carlton, San Francisco. jpg Foie Gras Lollipop with three types of vanilla by Ritz Carlton, San Francisco.

Stage one was quickly coming to a close and so we met up with Ben and Danielle and a few others and walked back to the prepping area, where we witnessed some of the magic behind the scenes of the event. Stage two of Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala included a three course meal created by the top chefs (and their assistance of course). AJ and I ran around taking photos and generally tried to stay out of everyone’s way as we zoomed in to capture the behind the scenes action.

Behind the scenes creating fancy meals for fancy people. jpg Gorgeous plated food for gorgeous people. Behind the scenes creating fancy meals for fancy people. jpg Dominique Crenn being meticulous. Behind the scenes creating fancy meals for fancy people. jpg It’s all about the details people. Behind the scenes creating fancy meals for fancy people. jpg Thankfully this was not an outdoor event, so no wind could disrupt the placed microgreen. Behind the scenes creating fancy meals for fancy people. jpg Plating like there is no tommorrow. Behind the scenes creating fancy food for fancy people. jpg Reaching for perfection. Behind the scenes creating fancy food for fancy people. jpg Endless plates of delicious. Behind the scenes creating fancy food for fancy people. jpg Behind the scenes creating fancy food for fancy people.

After watching in astonishment at all the insane amount of work happening behind the scenes, AJ and went to our seats and found ourselves in stage two of the evening, a three course meal. Thankfully the courses were small, with the first one being from Terra & Ame restaurant, a Lebanese Tuna Mezze, tuna kibbeh neyeh, tuna tataki and grilled tuna with tahini. The first course was paired with a crisp Chardonnay from Breggo Cellars.

The trio of tasty tuna from Terra & Ame. jpg The trio of tasty tuna from Terra & Ame.

Course two was from The Farmhouse Inn, a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to get to forever, but just haven’t been. It’s up in Forestville, very close to my friend Peter and Grant’s cabin. One of these days I’ll make it up there, but in the meanwhile, I’ll have memories of the duo rabbit plate they made for us, a rabbit loin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and a house made rabbit fennel sausage. I love rabbit and The Farmhouse Inn did an excellent job with it. The Pinot Noir from August West was probably my favorite wine of the meal.

Rabbit loin wrapped in bacon and rabbit sausage from The Farmhouse Inn. jpg Rabbit loin wrapped in bacon and rabbit sausage from The Farmhouse Inn.

Finally the third dish, was from Yoshi’s which I adore. A roasted hanger steak with honey soy garlic potato gratin and melted cabernet miso, I was in love. I love how yoshi is able to take a traditional American dish and infuse it with an Asian twist but still keep it classic. Brilliance on a plate. Hawkes Wine provided the Cabernet to go along with it, and it’s held up to the robust meatiness of the hanger steak.

hanger steak from Yoshi's. jpg Hanger steak from Yoshi’s.

While the three course meal was going on, the appetizer stations were being broken down and the dessert stations were being set up. That’s right, after all the food, there was still more food to go. Incredibly, it’s true, but I knew that some of the best food was yet to come. After all, didn’t I tell you that there was a stage three to this Gala?

Setting Up Desserts. jpg Setting Up Desserts. William Werner explaining how to serve his dessert creations. jpg William Werner explaining how to serve his dessert creations. Wayfare Tavern setting up. jpg Wayfare Tavern setting up. prepping for the post meal crowd hungry for dessert. jpg Ritz Carlton San Francisco prepping for the post meal crowd hungry for dessert.

AJ and I left the dining room area to go and explore the desserts and sweets that were available for us. William Werner was there with his magical Tell Tale Preserve Company serving up all sorts of crazy confections and sweets. I was partial to his Valrhona Manjari chocolate mousse with raspberry sphere (the sphere just explodes in your mouth with sweet berry flavor when you bite down) but others liked his sugar coated raspberry grapefruit marshmallows. The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay’s Navio had sweet bracing Strawberry Pernod shots, along with Baba Au Rhum and Peach Melba. Café des Amis offered up a Strawberry Rhubarb Chevre tart while Cavallo Point Murray Circle restaurant offered up a chocolate malt Bavarian parfait with caramel foam and a strawberry cassis ice cream bar with lemon thyme shortbread.

Raspberry sphere on chocolate mousse by Tell Tale Preserve Company Raspberry sphere on chocolate mousse by Tell Tale Preserve Company Raspberry grapefruit marshmallows. jpg Raspberry grapefruit marshmallows by Tell Tale Preserve Company. Strawberry Pernod Shots by Navio, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay jpg Strawberry Pernod Shots by Navio, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. Peach Melba by Navio, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay jpg Peach Melba by Navio, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.
AJ capturing me diligently taking notes. jpg AJ capturing me diligently taking notes on the desserts from Murray Circle.

Baker and Banker were serving up hot butterscotch with homemade marshmallows and an olive oil fleur de sel biscotti (I seriously could have downed three of those cups) and Sons & Daughters had a candy cap mushroom and red wine cake with some crazy, even for me, flavors like douglas fir Styrofoam. Somehow it all came together. Wayfare Tavern took the classic Carrot Cake and updated it with candied carrots, carrot paper, carrot syrup and micro celery. I was impressed. While AJ’s absolute favorite dessert was Mayfield Bakery & Café’s Espresso Caramel Pot de Crème with spun caramel on top. AJ is a sucker for pretty much anything caramel.

Hot Butterscotch being poured from Baker and Banker. jpg Hot Butterscotch being poured from Baker and Banker. Candy cap mushroom red wine cake with douglas fir styrofoam by Sons & Daughters. jpg Candy cap mushroom red wine cake with douglas fir styrofoam by Sons & Daughters. Crazy carrot cake from Prospect. jpg Crazy carrot cake from Prospect. Espresso pot de creme with caramel threads from Mayfield Bakery and Cafe. jpg Espresso pot de creme with caramel threads from Mayfield Bakery and Cafe.

Boulevard had an amazing apricot cake with almond cream, macerated strawberries, almond confetti and strawberry tuile that I adored (but then I adore Boulevard) and Dynamo Donuts was there with their selection of donuts (I only sampled one – the cornmeal cherry rosemary with buttermilk glaze that clearly as fantastic as the name implies it would be). And Kara Cupcakes were there serving up their signature cupcakes (yes, I got to witness Ben Rhau, hater of cupcakes, actually partake of one).

Apricot Cake with almond cream by Boulevard jpg Apricot Cake with almond cream by Boulevard Dynamo Donuts selection. jpg Dynamo Donuts selection. Kara's Cupcakes handing out their treats. jpg Kara’s Cupcakes handing out their treats. Ben Rhau eating a cupcake. jpg Ben Rhau eating a cupcake.

Yigit Pura of Taste Catering and winner of Top Chef: Just Desserts was there as well, along with his friend (and my pastry idol) Sherry Yard. AJ and I politely asked Yigit for a photo of us together, so we could send it to someone we know. We told Yigit that he was actually the reason that we were back in touch with that particular someone, a hilarious story that involves, love, heartbreak, betrayal, forgiveness and shocking violent death, but unfortunately I can’t tell you all it. Perhaps one of these days I can. We never did tell Yigit the whole story (he was kinda busy) but the small part that he did hear, had him shocked and astonished.

Yigit was happy to pose with us. jpg Yigit was happy to pose with us. Taste Catering presents Pucci on the Street: Lime Bavarian yuzu gelee and strawberries. jpg Taste Catering presents Pucci on the Street: Lime Bavarian yuzu gelee and strawberries. Taste Catering Presents Frank Lloyd Wright: milk chocolate hazelnut passion fruit. jpg Taste Catering Presents Frank Lloyd Wright: milk chocolate hazelnut passion fruit. Taste Catering Presents Gimlet and Pearls: Gimlet sorbet with yogurt foam and tapioca. jpg Taste Catering Presents Gimlet and Pearls: Gimlet sorbet with yogurt foam and tapioca.

If you’ve read my epic three post story on Pebble Beach, you’ll remember that I previously met Sherry Yard and was reduced to a fanboy. Well this time, when I met her again, I played it much cooler, and thankfully AJ was there to hold me back (I think the wine and food coma I was in also helped me from gushing). I reminded her that I met her a few weeks ago at Pebble Beach and she remembered me! We got to talking and she found out that AJ was doing the AIDS lifecycle in a few weeks. She insisted that we come to her restaurant when in town, and then proceeded to give me her cell phone number so I could text her when I was in town.

I heart Sherry Yard. jpg I heart Sherry Yard.

Yes. I now have my pastry idol’s cell phone number in my phone. Sherry and I are going to be BFFs now. Just you wait and see.

Sherry Yard and I are so going to be BFFs. jpg Sherry Yard and I are so going to be BFFs.

After all the pictures of food and more food (and even more food) you’re probably wondering, what dessert actually inspired my own dessert. The Ritz Carlton’s San Francisco was offering to all the fancy fancy drunk slightly tipsy event-goers a chocolate cherry tart with pastry cream as their dessert. I adored its seeming simplicity and contrasting colors of red fruit, black chocolate and white pastry cream. Even though shouldn’t have, I think I might have eaten three of them that night.

Cherry chocolate tarts from the Ritz Carlton San Francisco. jpg Cherry chocolate tarts from the Ritz Carlton San Francisco. Cherry chocolate tarts from the Ritz Carlton San Francisco. jpg The inspiration for my dessert.

So, while in Los Angeles a few weeks after the event (to pick up AJ for the AIDS lifecycle) I went to the restaurant supply store Surfas at the urging of my friend Shauna. What do I find just hanging out on the shelf but Black Onyx Cocoa, something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to play with, but just haven’t gotten around to tracking down. I immediately snatched it up and made this tart. It’s fairly easy to make and the components can be made ahead of time for an event. And with each slice of it, I’ll be transported back to the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintner’s Gala event, where I became best friends with Sherry Yard. ;)

Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Lemon Caramel jpg Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Lemon Caramel

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ethan July 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I feel like this gala was a 12-hour eatathon based on all the pics! Great cause and congrats on its success!
you both look pretty spiffy in your non-rental tuxedos

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Danielle July 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for bringing me back to that evening -EPIC! What I’d give for a foie gras lollipop now ;)

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Brianne July 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Everything about this post is epic. I read this over my lunch break at work today and then spent all afternoon dreaming about that tart. Yum! That gala looks like it was an amazing evening. Way to support a good cause!

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Pat July 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Oh, oh, oh — how I wish I had been there! But I feel like you gave me the next best thing. (I will always be grateful to Meals on Wheels and its gala for the miracle of having A.J. and you at the table with Marina and me.) Great job, Irvin! The strawberry creation is amazing.

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Dana July 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Amazing! I am feeling so inspired and SO hungry after reading this post. You’ve perfectly captured a, clearly successful, important food industry event. Thanks for sharing!! Now how am I going to dress up the chocolate ice cream in my freezer to please this craving for something so much more elegant??

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet July 12, 2011 at 3:11 am

Wow, what an event! I also would have been completely overwhelmed by all the amazing looking food. Such a great cause, too- my mom used to do some work for Meals on Wheels.

Love that you got the photo with Yigt, I have one with Zac Young who I’ve met a couple times at Flex Mussels:-) Oh, and your tart looks fabulous!

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Brian @ A Thought For Food July 13, 2011 at 10:13 am

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… you live quite the life, my friend. And how is it you stay so thin? Am I jealous? Yes!

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Lea Rude July 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Hey Irivin! I’m starting to feel a bit envious with all of these gala postings! happy for you – but my foodie creds just aren’t living up to these posts. In any case – can you get me that tater tot recipe so I can make it for Bill? (ps – I have been doing a bit of gluten-free baking and your blog has been helpful. I’m going back to eating some gluten now after three months gluten-free, but I think I will continue to incorporate alternate flours in my baking endeavors. So much fun to work with different basic ingredients.) – Lea

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Felisa July 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Before I started reading this post, I’d been contemplating what to make for dinner tonight. I give up. Nothing sounds the least bit worthwhile after seeing all these pictures.

Also, those vases are comically large!

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