God bless whomever invented stretchy jeans.
Spandex and elastic were necessary last night after indulging in a near 50-course food and wine fest, and I'm STILL in a food coma today.
Nom. Nom. Nom.
Not to mention, I think I put on 10 pounds in one night. Gah.
Hubby and I attended the 19th-annual Forks and Corks event last night, which features gourmet food and wine from more than 50 of Kansas City's finest restaurants and wineries, each offering their signature dishes and their finest wines. Forks & Corks was created in 1997 to support Harvesters’ hunger relief effort and is known today as one of Kansas City’s best Food & Wine Events! As their tag line says, "Eat, drink & feed many at this fantastic event where 100% of the proceeds benefit the hungry in our community!"
We attended this last year, and had so much fun - between the food, the wine, and the fellowship of other foodies - that we weren't about to miss it this year.
A VIP ticket got us Valet Parking, entrance to the VIP lounge, and a 30-minute "head start" at the food & wine booths. That 30-minute head start is HUGE, as the lines will get long and longer as the evening progresses…especially at the more popular food booths. We knew from past experience that a couple of booths would get hit HARD when the doors opened to the general public, and so that's where we made a bee-line at the get-go.
And those booths did not disappoint.
First up was the ever-popular Capital Grille, which featured some slow-braised beef and creamy, hot mashed potatoes:
This ended up being my favorite entree of the evening…it was pure perfection.
Although this one was pretty darned good, as well:
This was from Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse here in town. You had me at steak.
For dessert, two standouts for us included a chocolate flour-less cake with a jalapeno-strawberry jam from Johnson County Community College Culinary school:
…and assorted chocolates from Kansas City's premier chocaliter, Andre's Confiserie Suisse:
Can I just take the whole table home with me???!!
One of those truffles was infused with Kansas City's own J. Rieger whiskey. This special whiskey began in 1887, but was killed by Prohibition in 1920. However, 95 years later - the whiskey is BACK!! And it's better than ever, trust me. These truffles came with instructions: "You MUST eat this whole - do NOT attempt to nibble."
Embossed with the J. Rieger monogram…how cool is THAT??!!
I soon found out why…there wasn't just a drop of whiskey in that sucker. It EXPLODED, with a SHOT of delicious, smooth whiskey that blended perfectly with the chocolate shell.
I may - or may not - have had a few of those. Hubby was worried that the Andre's booth were going to have to take out a restraining order on me…I was pretty much stalking that table for awhile.
The Melting Pot had these fabulous chocolate-covered strawberries:
Almost too pretty to eat. Notice I said, "almost." Hee hee.
As far as having to worry about gluten-free offerings, it was pretty easy to ask someone at the booth if their food was "safe" for Celiacs. There were definitely some booths I had to avoid - such as the pasta offering at Lidia's Restaurant - but I never felt cheated or short-changed. In fact, it may have been a BLESSING that I couldn't quite indulge in EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. at this event.
Like the famous Rainbow Cake from Succotash:
Gah. I would have exploded.
But that certainly didn't stop Hubby from indulging in some deliciousness:
We could just not. stop. eating.
As far as the drinks - what's more fun than walking up to a booth that has 8-10 bottles of wine, holding out your wine glass, and saying, "Yes, please" as they refill it??!! Over. And Over. Again.
Fill 'er up, please. Squee.
A little white…a little red…a little buzz going on in my head...
Basically, the whole evening was like, "YOU get a drink! And YOU get a drink! And EVERYONE gets a drink!!"
Lots of happy people, trust me.
Except for a Kansas City policeman walking around, making sure no one was getting TOO out of hand. I assured him that the food, and especially the wine, was terrible, and he wasn't missing out on anything. He thanked me, and said, "Yeah - I see a whole bunch of people having a horrible time tonight."
Meanwhile, there was a live band, Lost Wax, who played some great covers of everything from Garth Brooks to Black Eyed Peas. They kept encouraging everyone to dance, but I think everyone was too busy eating and drinking to even THINK about dancing. Although dancing would have probably burnt off some calories, which was sorely needed at this point.
There was also a silent auction, which had some pretty cool items, including tickets to The Jimmy Kimmel Show…wowza. Those went for a pretty penny. But for a reasonable $30, Hubby and I scored this cool basket, stuffed with some culinary delights, from Monin Gourmet Flavorings. I was happy - as I had fallen in love with the Honey Mango iced tea earlier in the evening:
I know they didn't consult with me, but if they'd put up a year's supply of those whiskey-filled chocolate truffles for auction, I may have cleaned out our life savings in order to win.
At some point, I was taking a much-needed break from stuffing my face, checking out Facebook, when I saw that a sorority sister from college was at the event. From her photos on Facebook, I saw that she was wearing a houndstooth dress - and looking up - saw that she couldn't have been more than 20 feet from me.
CHI OMEGA REUNION!!!
After about three hours of wining and dining, Hubby and I waddled back to the car and headed home…happy with our meal, happy with our basket, and happy knowing we'd helped stock the shelves at our local food pantry for another year.
And when we got home - we may…or may not…have looked like this: