The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction of DC last was SO fun. The event has more than 30 of DC’s top chefs and bartenders for a night filled with tons of great food and drinks and I got to cover it on behalf of Foodbuzz through their Foodie Correspondent Program. The evening was divided into three parts – first a VIP reception, then a silent auction, then a live auction.
I went to the VIP reception but just for a second because there were a lot of people in a very small space and everyone there seemed to know each other and I knew no one. So I headed over to the Ritz-Carlton where the main event was being held shortly thereafter to check in. The silent auction was set up during the tasting portion of the event, lasting just under 2 hours. Every attendee was given a BidPal to use, which is similar to an ipod and allows people to bid electronically and keep updated ont eh status of their bids. It was SO cool!
Lining almost the entire tasting room were were tent cards displayed with the items up for bid during the silent auction.
I was kind of glad to not be given a BidPal because that could have been dangerous. All of the items were sorted by category and you received instant notification if someone outbid you, so I imagine they raised a lot more money than they would have with a paper auction.
Inside the room, there were tables and tables of food and drink tastings from some of the areas top restaurants. My favorite tasting from the whole evening came from Founding Farmers.
I tried to look away when he put a huge hunk of butter into the pan for the sauce, but glancing at the plate you can’t really deny that. The ravioli was stuffed with butternut squash and literally melted in my mouth. I went back at least one more time for another one of these. Heaven.
I was actually sort of surprised with the number of tastings that were vegetarian/pescatarian friendly. I assumed I would only be able to eat a few things, but that was not the case at all.
Another highlight was from Taberna Del Alabardero.
These mussels were marinated in sweet paprika and vinegar in a sauce with a touch of cream and potato sticks (I’m sure they had a fancier name for them) on top.
The crunch of the potato against the warm mussel and the creamy sauce was just perfect.
Lobster bisque? Why yes, yes I will.
Chunks of fresh lobster burst with flavor in the creamy broth. I think they served it in a cup so you could literally drink it down and somehow I resisted licking the cup clean..
A clam and potato chowder with toasted red quinoa on top…
Butternut squash gelee with honey and toasted walnuts..
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Prawns and Croutons
Shrimp and Grits with a Tomato Chutney
Grilled Octopus Salad
Three types of Ceviche
I tried the tuna ceviche and it was unreal
Oyster shooters in a brown ale
And as if I hadn’t had enough, popcorn to eat on the way home.
My favorite drink of the night by far was this incredible pear cocktail.
It had vodka, pear nectar, pear butter, and pear cream soda with fresh ground cinnamon for garnish. Seriously, unreal. They were dangerous though because they were so delicious you (I) forgot about the fact that they had a base of vodka…
After all the food and drink tastings, everyone sat down for the live auction.
(That’s Carla Hall up on stage because they auctioned off a dinner with some local foodie celebs)
Though the food and drinks were unreal and I had some of the best things I’d ever tasted in my life last night, my favorite part was when Joshua Hoffman, the 2010 national ambassador for March of Dimes, got up on stage before the silent auction began and gave a speech. Joshua was born at 23 weeks (just like my nephews) and is now a healthy, active, and happy 7 year old (almost 8!). He talked about how March of Dimes saved his life and his dream is for one day all babies to be born healthy like his little brother was. “The March of Dimes saved my life, and now I want to fight for preemies and reach for the stars.” His speech was so moving and literally left tears in my eyes and much hope in my heart for my nephew. I was so happy to be at an event where all the proceeds go to such an amazing cause. You can check out more about his story here.
Such an incredible night – I’m so glad I got to be there. 🙂