Saturday, April 24, 2010
Empty Bowls Benefit
Thursday night Johnny, Goran, and I went to a community event to help combat hunger by Johnny and Goran's work. It was a really unique charity event, I've never been to anything like it. Two local food pantries will receive the proceeds.
First, you got in a long line outside of Terra Incognito, a pottery studio that also teaches classes. Their students had made hundreds and hundreds of bowls for the event.
$20 got you a ticket to go inside and pick out your bowl. There were three rooms with tables lined up. There were bowls made by kids, bowls made by the highly talented, normal bowls, unique bowls, and every color bowl you could imagine. You were able to choose any one you wanted and then traded your ticket for it.
For the rest of the night the bowl acted as your "admission" to about two dozen restaurants that had generously donated food for the event.
I did not get pictures of all the food, but I will share each stop and what we had. As the night progressed I had to use the flash, sorry!
First up was Knead and all 3 of us chose the beef steak chili. It was really full of flavor and a nice start to the event.
Second, Noodles & Co. gave us a seasonal asparagus and lemon linguine. It was ok, but not something I'd pay for a whole bowl of. It is nice to see they offer asparagus as an option when it's in season, though.
Third, Kama Indian Bistro, was my favorite of the evening. There was a sweet potato with chutney and this other fried vegetable thing that wasn't on the menu. It was really delicious, but unfortunately the tray ran out while we were there and Johnny only got the sweet potato!
Fourth, a Chicagoland pizza chain, Aurelio's had little pizza squares. I'd never had their pizza before, but it was pretty tasty. I enjoyed their sauce, it had a nice flavor - it wasn't overly sweet like it usually is around here.
Fifth, Marconi's had cheese tortellini with peas in vodka sauce. Pretty tasty, but the tortellini was overcooked.
Sixth was Nickson's and their "mini" crab cakes with basil pepper remoulade. Personally I would have been embarrassed at how mini they made these. They were about the size of a nickel. The tray ran out while we were there so I was the only one who got to try this. They served a smoky macaroni and cheese to Johnny and Goran, who really liked it.
Seventh, Casa Margarita, Johnny's and my favorite local Mexican restaurant by our house (there's 2 locations). For some reason they chose to serve their chicken soup instead of any Mexican fare, which I think was a big mistake. Nothing to write home about and why not showcase your specialty?
Eighth was Bella Bacinos, another favorite of the evening. They served two pastas - one was a rigatoni with sausage and the other was a vegetarian orecchiette with an orgasmic sauce and little bits of mushrooms I gave to Johnny.
Ninth stop was Magic Wok, where we received fried rice and BBQ pork. The sauce and pork was delicious, but I've had better fried rice.
Tenth was Palmer Place, by far the most generous of the evening. We received a serving of fries, fried green beans (they had run out of the advertised fried green tomatoes), wasabi dipping sauce, and a General Tso's chicken wing that was spicy, but really flavorful.
Eleventh was Q BBQ, where we were served up their famous southern Mac-Q-Roni with crumbled Cheez-it topping and a mini hushpuppy. Would you believe neither Johnny nor Goran knew what a hushpuppy was?!
Twelfth was a new green restaurant called Prasinos. I thought it was pretty goofy because all of the "artwork" on the walls were TVs displaying paintings and their menu was projected on TVs. Wouldn't framed artwork or a menu board be more eco-friendly? We waited in line a really long time for their smoothie. Ours was pineapple, orange, mango, and lime. It was shockingly high on the lime and tasted kind of woodsy. I didn't finish mine and another customer shared her disappointment with us outside. She said she didn't think the mango was ripe, that's where the hint of "pine" might have come from.
Thirteenth was Francesca's Belleza, where the boys enjoyed bruschetta with tomatoes, fresh mozarella cheese, and basil. I don't like raw tomatoes so Johnny ate mine too. They looked beautiful and smelled really fresh though!
Fourteenth stop was at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory where we were each given a massive slab of fudge to go. I chose peanut butter and Johnny got coconut.
Fifteenth was DiNico's Pizza & Gelato where I chose the melon gelato and it was absolutely delicious! A refreshing treat to wind down with.
Sixteenth and last stop was at Caribou Coffee where we all chose hot chocolate and whipped cream to warm up, since it started to get really chilly!
Not a bad deal for $20! We got to sample a lot of delicious food, come home with one-of-a-kind hand made bowls we love, and help a local food banks fight the war on hunger!
My bowl - I thought it'd be perfect for veggies and dip and the glaze is beautiful!
Johnny's bowl - has a really unique swirl pattern down to the center and along the outside too.