A few months ago, I was getting a pedicure at the cute little nail place by my house, reading a magazine, and minding my own business. The place was pretty busy so when they sat this girl next to me I thought nothing of it, until I caught her giving me the look-over out of the corner of my eye. I thought maybe I had something on my face or my bra was out or something, but I checked and everything was good. I caught her checking me out again, and before I knew it she said “You’re Beth, aren’t you? I read your blog every day!!”
I got spotted.
It was the first and only time anyone has ever seen me and recognized me from the blog and it was such a flattering and cool/strange experience, but I was SO happy when she said hello!
After talking for a while as we got our toes done side by side, it turned out we had more in common than just enjoying pedicures. Jessica is a publicist for Linda Roth Associates, Inc, a group that does publicity, marketing, and promotions for restaurants in the DC area. She asked me if I would “mind” if she invited me to some DC foodie events and you can guess my answer!
So Monday night, I got to go to this amazing cocktail party held by her firm for food bloggers/food enthusiasts at Ris, a cute upscale American comfort food restaurant. The party was planned to showcase some of the new features on their late spring/early summer menu, and I was blown away by so many things I tasted.
To start, the bartender made these incredible cocktails that were going too fast for me to get a full picture.
Dark ‘N Stormys on the far left with rum, house-made ginger beer, and lime; and Elderflower Collins towards the right, which was my favorite cocktail of the night. It had Hendricks, St. Germaine, cucumber juice, lemon, lavender spice bitters, soda, and pieces of fresh cucumber. It was light, refreshing, and absolutely delicious.
A close second was the Bloody Wasabi that came out later in the evening – Ketel One, Wasabi Tomato Juice, and cucumber.
It definitely felt a little weird to be drinking this at night and not to nurse a hangover during brunch, but this was one of the best bloody marys I’ve ever had and something I’ll certainly order when I go back to Ris for brunch.
The food was equally as good as the cocktails, if not better. I loved that it was all served in small bites so I got to try a little bit of everything. I also loved that there were several rounds of all the dishes so I got to get seconds (or thirds) of some of my favorites. There were two small plates that tied for first place of my favorites of the nights, with a third as a close second.
To start, my first bite of the night – the Scallop Margarita.
I can’t even articulate the incredible flavor explosion that was on this spoon, but I can tell you I had not one but FOUR of them. It was seriously the perfect bite, with lime marinated scallops, chiles, orange, avocado, tequila ice and a fresh tortilla chip for a garnish. I ate it in one bite, and the flavors and textures were perfect and so well balanced. The recipe for this one is on the website!
My other favorite was the gruyere cheese puffs.
Puff pastry and melty cheese? Yes, please. These bites were so delicious that I practically tackled the server from behind to get my hands on a second one. I cooled down a bit after that, but was pleasantly surprised when they placed a whole tray of them down towards the end of the night.
You can guess where I parked myself until those were gone..
The runner up for best bite of the night for me was the Asparagus and Gingered Grapefruit Salad.
It was drizzled with a sesame, scallion, and miso vinaigrette that added a surprising but welcome spicy tang to the dish. This one feels like something I’ll be attempting to recreate at home. The grapefruit and asparagus went so well together and thinking about eating a huge version of this (perhaps with crab or shrimp?) on my balcony sounds just about the perfect summer night.
Though those three were my favorites, there were plenty of other delicious bites that I got to try.
Molasses (!) cured salmon with honey mustard on a house made potato chip.
Gnudi – fresh ricotta dumplings served over a tomato and eggplant fondue, with spinach and crisp proscuitto. I just ate the dumpling and the texture was out of this world.
Oh yeah – and dessert. Check out the care that went into making these.
Hollowed out egg shells that were hand painted and filled with melted chocolate, peanut butter mousse, and chocolate covered peanut brittle. I don’t think words can do that dessert any justice. Peanut butter, chocolate, and chocolate covered peanut brittle – I mean what’s not to love? I had two of those and while I probably could (should) have stopped at one – it’s not every day that you get to eat something as delicious as that.
One of my favorite photos of the night, while not great in quality, is this one:
Wil and Alicia taking photos of the food without skipping a beat in the conversation. Only at a foodie event.
Have you ever been to a tasting event like this? Can you think of one of the best bites you’ve ever tasted?