Though I am not sure why I would know this since I never really watched the show, I believe it was a episode of Friends that explored why we do charitable things. Even if I am mistaken I will roll with it and expect someone to correct me. Can we really carry through with an unselfish act without any benefit to us? I tend to think not as I think we all do those things to make us feel better; not necessarily because we need the lift but because we want to feel like we have bettered the world in some way.
And why is that a bad thing if spending your money on just one VIP ticket to Taste of the Nation Orlando results in 900 pounds of canned goods for people who need it? That is the amount of food packed into the back of (and spilling out from) a shiny new Mini Cooper at the event to better demonstrate the good that each of us can do. That makes you think of how much good can be done with every single dollar collected. Oh yes, and the event here raised $167,500 this year to help the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida!
So yes it is a good amount of money to go to a Taste of the Nation event and yes still, from where I sit that is no excuse not to go. Almost every one of us will have an evening or two (or many more) each year where we splurge on a meal that approaches, if not surpasses the price of a ticket to these events. Do those dinners give you access to dozens of the best chefs and restaurants in your area is one location? Even more importantly do any of those meals provide hungry children with food that they too often are forced to go without?
The point of my intro being far heavier than my usual tone on this site is to simply tell you to go. If you have an opportunity to go to a Taste of the Nation event (find one near you here) just go. If you happened to miss the one near you this year mark your calendar, put aside a few dollars each week, and plan to go next year. And when you are there eat and drink to your limit and have a blast knowing that you are doing something very very good for a lot of people.
Whew! I will exhale a bit now and get on with a few bits from my time at Taste of the Nation Orlando over the weekend.
That is me with The Wife and a few new friends who got in a little early to get a chance to talk to the chefs while they set up. It was a great opportunity and I always like to be able to put faces to the people I follow on the web (talking to you @MegaYummo and @TastyChomps).
There were so many items in the silent auction this year and that is without the instant wine cellar (100 bottles) that you could win via a raffle of sorts.
You can see what the culinary highlights were for the The Wife here, but I am going to hit on a few of my memorable bites.
My favorite bite may have been one of my first of the evening and I now wish I had gone back. It was the Braunschweiger sandwich from The Ravenous Pig. From my basic understating it is a bologna / liverwurst of sorts made from various parts of the animal that many people will not touch. I am a sucker for that stuff and actually I could have made a evening simply sampling from their lineup.
They also made my beer drinking requirement a little easier by offering some Swamp Head Wild Night right at their station (thank you Larry). All in all the beer was a bit lacking this year compared to past years, but that did not stop me from sampling what was available.
There was also no doubt that I enjoyed the Tripleta Sandwich with marinated shrimp from The Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld and the pork belly from The Technical Education Center of Oseceola County that received some love from Dr. Pepper.
As usual I did not get too far into the dessert selection but I did sample a few and they were all quite good. For example . . .
And I learned that apparently you can make booze out of anything. Though this Acai spirit seems to make one heck of a mojito style drink.
That is all I have in me today. As I think I have made clear, The Wife and I had a great time again and loved the opportunity to hang out with some friends (Brent, Erica, Ian, and Emily) on a Saturday night for once. There is no doubt that Taste of the Nation is on our calendar for next year, whether here in Orlando or somewhere else. See you there.