Friday, September 19, 2008

San Francisco Restaurants Unite to End Hunger

Last week, a very special gourmet food & wine event called San Francisco Restaurants Unite to End Hunger, was held at Ferry Plaza to benefit the San Francisco Food Bank. The SF Food Bank sources, collects and repackages nearly 100,000 pounds of food per day, which comes from supermarket chains, large manufacturers & wholesalers, restaurant suppliers, the USDA and food drives for seniors nutrition programs and low-income families. The food that the SFFB collects supplies over 600 vital food programs, such as senior centers, after-school programs, neighborhood pantry networks and soup kitchens.  As I said in an earlier post, the SF Food Bank has been having a tough year, because food prices are skyrocketing and rents have increased 12% in the last year, resulting in more families on SFFB to supply basic needs and demands continue to increase. To compound the situation, the amount of the food that the USDA had been providing has been cut by 60% in the last 5 years alone.

Due to this predicament, the member restaurants of San Francisco Private Dining Venues and Estate Groups/Sonoma Cutrer sponsored the San Francisco Unites to End Hunger event to help provide some aid, as well as allowing food lovers to help contribute as well.

The event was held at the World Trade Club at the Ferry Plaza, which made for a beautiful setting with sweeping views of the Bay and the Bay Bridge as its backdrop. The San Francisco Event Music ensemble, another sponsor for the event played lively tunes, as people mingled and indulged in delectable hors d'oeuvres from participating restaurants.

Some of these gourmet samples included House-Cured Anchovies prepared 3 different ways by Palio D'Asti. They were paired with either Roasted Peppers, earthy Beets or a flavorful Eggplant Caponata. Acme Chophouse was serving up Roasted Figs topped with Goat Cheese wrapped in a cured Duck Prosciutto. Kuleto's dish was a Tuna Conserva served on a Toasted Baguette slice with a Roasted Pepper Mission Olive Tapenade and a Parsley Aioli.

Harris' provided a Prime Rib station, sliced up the way you like it, and Chaya Brasserie represented with colorful displays of Sushi Rolls.

My personal favorites for their inventiveness and perfect flavor combinations were by Absinthe Brasserie with its Marinated Lamb Loin sliced thin atop a Vaudovan (Indian spiced) Carrot Puree with a Cucumber Yogurt Sauce and Toasted Almonds, which added great texture, and the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company's Melon Gazpacho, prepared with Heirloom Melons and a Coconut Sorbet and Mint, which provided a unique & delicious palate cleanser amidst all of the savory dishes.

The SF Food Bank had a great turnout for this event, as philanthropists and food lovers alike showed up to consume delicious creations, imbibe good wine and give back to their community.

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