I had wanted to get this post up days ago, but I had no idea how much time and energy it would take to get ready for my Blogiversary Bash. It wiped me out! Seriously, I don't know how some of you who regularly host events do it. It is a LOT of work! You need to let me know what kind of vitamins you're taking!
Last weekend, Mr. SGCC and I headed over to Orlando for the Florida Foodbuzz Featured Publisher event at Todd English’s Blue Zoo Restaurant. This event, hosted by Foodbuzz, of course, was part of their new Dine on Us program designed to bring local food bloggers together. About twenty-five of us were treated to a memorable evening of fun, food and fellowship.
The Blue Zoo is located in Disney's beautiful Dolphin Hotel. It's a lovely place with an uber sophisticated feel all done up in hues of blue with strikingly modern metallic accents. We were treated to a fabulous six course tasting menu that was created especially for us. The service was impeccable! Each course was introduced by the staff and Executive Chef, Chris Windus was on hand to visit and answer all of our questions.
We all had a good chuckle over the fact that, as each course was served, instead of digging right in we all whipped out our cameras to snap photos first! Aah! We food bloggers are a quirky bunch!
Our feast started off with an Amuse Bouche of a Fresh Littleneck Clam with Bacon Ragout, which was served in a small glass filled with sea salt. Though the clam itself was raw, it has the subtlest smoky taste. It was delicious!
Next, came the First Course of Shrimp Cocktail Steamrollers. This was a most unusual dish with an even more unusual presentation. All of the components of the dish were layered in a kind of plastic tube. You had to suck them all out where it came together in a big flavor explosion in your mouth. Strange, but brilliant!
The Second Course was a Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts and Goat Cheese Fondue. Again, a delicious dish!
After the salad, we were served a Third course of Spice Route Char with Curried Beluga Lentils, Zhataar Carrot and Yogurt Spill. Basically, it was a delightfully moist and flaky arctic char filet, blackened and crispy on the outside. This one drew raves from everyone at the table. I loved it!
Our Fourth Course was Sous Vide Amish Chicken with Parmesan Polenta, Picholine Olives and a Deconstructed Tomato Sauce. The dish was good, but we were all already spoiled by the marvelous fish that came before it.
Last, but by no means least was the Dessert Course of Warm Chocolate Cake with Liquid Ganache Center, Maracaibo Chocolate Cream Pudding and Peanut Ice Cream. In my excitement to see chocolate cake, I totally forgot to take a picture of the dish! In essence, it was a small globe of molten chocolate cake swimming in a pool of chocolate pudding and caramel sauce. A tiny scoop of peanut ice cream lay on top. It was the perfect ending to a fabulous dinner.
Though I didn't get a photo of the cake, I did get a nice shot of the excellent bread that was served with dinner. It was served with the most amazing butter laced with fennel.
It was so much fun to get together with this wacky bunch of bloggers! It was also great to finally meet Ryan Stern, from Foodbuzz, who flew all the way from San Francisco to be with us. We've already been talking about and planning our next big gathering!
Here's the scoop on who was there:
Lys from Cooking in Stilettos
Christey and Peter from Foto Cuisine
Rachel from My Little Marshmallow
Judy from No Fear Entertaining
Chris from Pickles and Cake
Jenn from The Leftover Queen
Ingar from Taste Memory
Erin and Chris from The Olive Notes
Bryan from The Tattooed Gourmet
My sincere thanks go out to Ryan and all the fine folks at Foodbuzz for making this event possible.
Oh, and one more thing. If you ever get to Blue Zoo, go easy on the Zootini cocktails. They may taste like harmless fruit juice, but they pack a powerful punch!