Paul and I went to the 10th Annual North Market Apron Gala on Saturday night, which is an annual fundraiser full of food, fun, and neighborhood camaraderie. I took a lot of pictures, but for some reason, my camera went a little wonky, so some of them may be a bit blurry. Bear with me.
We were running late, and got there a little bit after 7. No problem, as the vendors were just setting up at that point, and the atmosphere was fairly relaxed and laid back. Appetizers were just starting to be served when we got there, and we made the rounds.
Eric from Bubbles had made mimosas with his fresh-squeezed orange juice, which definitely made a difference in the final product. If all you’ve had are mixed drinks with supermarket OJ, do yourself a favor and pick up a quart or so of fresh squeezed juice. I spoke to him today when I stopped at the market and he said that he was completely cleaned out of mimosas in 20 minutes. I guess everyone else liked them as much as I did.
Amy from Omega had a wonderful selection of different baked goods, such as Savory Biscotti, Stuffed Flatbread, and Artisan Breads with Dipping Oils.
North Market Produce had a huge spread of fresh fruits and veggies. Nothing says love like fresh produce – the produce they presented was at the height of ripeness, and was the most perfect sweet & juicy palate cleanser I could ask for. I think that’s why I love spring and summer so much – the produce.
Across the aisle at Heil’s Family Deli, they had deviled eggs and finger sandwiches. The same solid stuff you can get every day. I love Heil’s – they have the best reasonably priced cheese in town. And their deviled eggs are almost as good as my own.
Other standouts during the appetizer portion of the evening were the Ham Balls at Bluescreek Farm Meats, the magnificent selection of cheeses from Curds and Whey, and my new favorite salad – Deluxe Baby Green Salad with Raspberries, Blueberries, Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins and Gorgonzola Cheese w/ Balsamic Dressing from Pastaria. The salad is so good I went back for seconds, and went out of my way today to pick up an order of it.
While making the rounds and noshing on all of the appetizers, we took a couple of minutes to talk to Daniel at Pure Imagination, who was keeping himself extremely busy dipping hundreds of strawberries in chocolate for dessert later that night.
As the night progressed, it got more and more crowded – by the time they started serving entrees at 8pm, the place was packed. Because of the long lines and the crowding, Paul and I opted to stick with just a couple of different places to try entrees at, as food was pretty much disappearing as soon as it was set out. Pastaria Seconda had the best dish of the night, hands down – Sun Dried Tomato Asiago Ravioli with Pork Tenderloin and a Marsala Sauce. I really wish they sold it as a regular dish, as it was quite fabulous. I did pick up some of the ravioli today, and a container of the Wild Mushroom Sauce (they don’t make the Marsala sauce regularly, but said the Wild Mushroom sauce has similar ingredients), and will try my hand at reproducing the dish tomorrow night.
Pam’s Market Popcorn had delicious Popcorn Crusted Chicken with Thai Peanut Sauce. I would have never thought to use popcorn as a breading for chicken, but it was surprisingly delicous. Kind of like Shake and Bake on steroids. Of course, part of that may have to do with the fact that she has the best popcorn in town (she told me that she uses her Classic Butter flavor for this recipe). She shared the recipe with me (see link above), and I’m hoping to try to make a batch on my own sometime soon.
Dessert was served promptly at nine – Jeni’s Ice Cream had a scrumptious tart orange push-up pop, and Daniel’s chocolate covered strawberries and truffles have had me craving chocolate and strawberries ever since.
By this time, it was really crowded and we decided to bow out early. People were having a great time and were dancing to the band (the free-flowing beer and wine might have something to do with *that*), but we wanted to beat the crowd so we headed home.
All in all, we had a great time, and look forward to attending next year.