I went to my first $2,500.00 per plate charity dinner recently in Tulsa OK. Maybe because it was for charity they thought the food doesn't matter - but it does. I can understand to a certain extent, a charity dinner shouldn't be all about the food. I mean, if I was donating my money to a charity, I would probably be a bit upset if I found out that a lot of the money was being spent on the food. It's reasonable that I'd want most of the money to go to the charity. But at $2,500 per plate, I would hope the food would be at least edible.
The event was at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa to benefit their programs for enriching children's lives through art and education. Thirty-six wineries were represented there, including Chateau Montelena. As Brian and I had lived in Tulsa for 14 months, 5 days, 13 hours and 25 minutes (was I ready to leave?); I offered to go with him to pour wine for the opening event.
The opening event is always a small, intimate event. Just a few of our closest friends.
Yeah, just a few. A few hundred.
Mostly they are a well-behaved group of people. Just moseying from wine vendor to food vendor to wine vendor, eating and drinking their way through the evening. There is no time to talk to them about the wines, just a glass thrust out to have whatever you are pouring poured into it. After 3 hours, my dogs are barking. I just want to sit down.
The following night is the grand event. Tables are sold, 10 seats each, and one vintner is assigned to each table; pouring only their wines to their group for the evening. If you buy the whole table, you have the opportunity to choose your vintner. We were at the Bank of Oklahoma's table, a lively group of lovely generous people.
The live auction was to last for the first hour and a half, so plates of cheese and other bites are placed at each seat to be enjoyed while bidding it up!
These items, of course, are meant to be served cold.
The auction was not over in an hour and a half. Two hours later, they were only on lot 16 of 24. We've got a ways to go, so they decide to bring in the main course.
The main course is described as:
Confit of Duck Breast, drizzled with Fresh Basil Oil and accompanied by a Blackberry Reduction
Oven Roasted Cauliflower Florets
Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Mousse
Doesn't sound too bad.
But wait a minute.
It's cold. I mean ice cold. This is not food that should be served cold.
Well, the duck could be cold, or at room temperature. The cauliflower could be cold, if it had been actually raw and not roasted, or roasted but not raw, but this cauliflower failed at being either. It wasn't really roasted, it was mostly raw and had absolutely no flavor. Even salt is a flavor. And the cold sweet potato and goat cheese mousse? Well, visions of jarred baby food come to mind. Fluffy jarred baby food.
I thought at first that this being cold was just due to the overrun of the auction. It wasn't till I got home at looked at the menu card that I saw it.
"Tonight's menu is served at room temperature to enhance the wine pairings".
Who, first of all, whoever said that wine was best served with cold, or room temperature foods? Wine certainly CAN be served with cold food, but enhanced by? Not so. And if you are planning a meal of cold foods, shouldn't you at least make sure the foods you are serving are good cold? I would think so.
I ate all I could. And it looks like everyone else ate all they could as well. At least the wine was good!
It wouldn't be that hard to make a great cold meal. And at no more cost then what they spent. Maybe even less. How about something like this?
Confit of Duck Breast
served on a
Now that would have been tasty cold, gone perfectly with the wines; AND they already had the quinoa made for the vegetarian plates.
It wasn't a complete loss. The Philbrook did raise more than 2.5 million for its charities and we got to visit our old house and an old friend.
And the burger we had after was pretty good too!
Click here to see the opening reception to the grand dinner event...
BTW- I have it on first-hand authority that the fracking boom in Oklahoma and recent earthquake activity are COMPLETELY unrelated. That's first hand! (Hmmmmm...I don't know)