Last night’s Taste of the South End in the Cyclorama building was just as delicious as it was filling; we practically needed a wheelbarrow to be shipped out of there. A benefit for the Aids Action Committee, we hit the scene with the same calculated plan of attack as a war commander.
Themes of the evening: Make way for ducklings. Or at least their well-cooked parents, because multiple booths were serving duck. Surprise guest Garden at The Cellar, tucked away in the VIP section, served fresh grilled duck sandwiches, while Masa offered duck empanadas, and Gaslight had duck confit in hand-made crepes.
Also a prominent fixture at multiple booths: Booze, booze, and more booze. Unlike some of the other neighborhood Tastes where wine is strictly sold at one spot, multiple restaurants were serving wine and cocktails. Again, one of our favorites, Masa had spicy Chipotle Tamarind margaritas that were outstanding. Other favorites included Flash’s Winter Cosmo, served by women in costumes that could best be described as winter elves, and the Franklin Cafe, who served up martinis via, wait for it, an ice luge! We were ready to take our ol’ college stance at the bottom but apparently these people are classy enough to use glasses. Oops, what can you do?
Another highlight of the evening was watching Mayor Tom Menino being forced to shuck Island Creek Oysters with Toro’s amazing chef Jamie Bissonnette, who after forgetting to bring an ingredient onstage had to announce “Um, can someone please bring the cava to the stage? I forgot the cava.” Well, it’s nice to know master chefs can be human and forget things like us commoners. And in true form, Mayor Menino rocked the oyster-shucking like a true New Englander.
Also a delicious highlight of the night was definitely the dessert offerings. Picco’s caramel swirl ice cream was a dream come true, while cooking class outpost and cookbook aficionados from Stir served up a rainbow of blue, green, and red macaroons that were killer. Toro’s booth was clearly pushing its lunchtime menu, offering bags of scrumptious chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. We’re guessing chef Bissonnette was a little busy chilling with the mayor onstage.
In true form, we spotted the VIP goodie bags with our radar that detects any free stuff in a 3 mile range. Goodies included a free pass to the Franklin Park Zoo, a small bottle of Tommy Bahama rum, and a week-long free pass to Revolution Fitness. Yeah, kind of funny, we know. Guess they were trying to tell us something.
[Photo: Megan Johnson]