Monday, June 5, 2017

Feeding the Pirates Right for MANNA and Spicy Extras: 100 Days of Recipes, Day 52

I am always so amazed, impressed, and grateful to live in a city filled with so many creative entrepreneurs in every sort of medium imaginable. But those who like to play with their food really get my attention.

This weekend, my friend Matt and I attended MANNA FoodBank's Blue Jean Ball, their biggest fund raiser of the year. I participate in the Asheville Empty Bowls event every year, making bowls and trying to motivate other potters to make bowls. It was through that participation that I was invited to my first Blue Jean Ball several years ago. The event is always themed, and there is a costume contest for most creative interpretation of the theme, with tickets to the next year's Ball given as prizes. Thanks to my very talented friend Matt, also a creative entrepreneur, we have won our way back to the Ball for the past three years!

As for the food, it's always delicious, creative small bites from some of the best restaurants in the area. 

As my hands were most often filled with small plates or a cuppa, I didn't take pictures of all the gorgeous and tasty bites, but we did get a lovely shot of what I think perfectly captures everything I love about Asheville, and this lovely human:

Rosetta, always feeding the family right!
 Rosetta has been feeding the family right at her restaurant, Rosetta's, downtown since 2002, and this year marks 14 years that she's been sharing that love at the Blue Jean Ball. Not only is the Family Favorite my favorite dish at her restaurant, it's the perfect first bite before an evening of food, drink, and dance. We seem to be too darn busy to find each other on a regular basis the rest of the year - and this year she has been busy feeding and loving her family beyond just those she regularly tends here in the Asheville area, so this is one place I knew I would find this lovely lady for a soul-nourishing hug. 

And just to make you wish you were there, here are a few more tasty bites I recall:

Jerked duck with coconut biscuits, black bean gravy, and curry pickled shallots from Biscuit Head (the pickled shallots were my favorite part - delish!)

Flambe strawberries with rum over mango sorbet from Bouchon - a perfect palette cleanser.

Smoked duck breast on crostini with herbed goat cheese, arugula and orange reduction from Chestnut - that was great, but they also had a pile of Joe's Chips, and you most definitely can't eat just one!

Island Creek oysters from Lobster Trap - always a favorite stop!

Luella's BBQ had Cured Pork Belly wth pickled watermelon rind that was a lovely bite.

Posana had what was perhaps my favorite single bite: Seared Scallops, smoked pork belly, and coconut rum butter.

That's just what I remember - there was more goodness there from Ambrozia, Biltmore, Carmel's, Red Stag Grill, Rezaz, Twisted Laurel, Webo's BBQ, Harrah's, PF Chang's, The Cantina ... and we didn't even make it under the dessert tent for Ultimate Ice Cream or French Broad Chocolates (I blame my pirate shoes - not much keeps me from the Chocolate Lounge!).

And while I'm not sharing a particularly new recipe today, I am sharing a new find - when we arrived at the parking lot and were waiting for the shuttle to the event, we met Tad McBride who had a trunk full of hot sauces he was sharing with everyone on the shuttle. I added some generous dashes of the Matador sauce to my eggs (on avocado, on toasted bagel) this morning for a flavorful punch. It's base includes mango nectar, pineapple juice, and habanero chili pepper, which gives it a lovely flavor to go along with the heat. Since we were there for the "Pirate Ball", I made sure to also get a bottle of the Pirate Sauce, which includes orange juice, coconut bits, and spices. I'm looking forward to trying that as a marinade.

And if you were wondering, yes, we won again, and we can't wait to hear the theme for next year's Ball!!

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, a Pirate's life for me!!

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