This week has been a doozy, folks. A DOOZY. But you know what? Perspective.
I have a roof over my head, my family is relatively healthy, my husband and I are working, and we have food on the table. I wish the majority of people could say the same, and it hurts my heart that millions in our country alone cannot.
Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry
There are nearly 16 million hungry children in the United States; 16 MILLION kids who live in homes that struggle to put food on the table. Nearly half of all people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) are children.
When kids don't have access to food, especially breakfast, they can't concentrate and their brains can't operate at full capacity. If children lack focus and learning ability, they do poorly in school. And when they do poorly in school, their future potential is limited.
When our children's future potential is limited, our entire country's future is at stake.
There is a massive, horrible, awful hunger problem in our country, and I am grateful for organizations like Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry for working tirelessly to get food on the tables of our nation's families. No Kid Hungry helps connect kids in need with nutritious food and helps teach their families to cook healthy, affordable meals.
Taste of the Nation Portland
Earlier this week, I was fortunate to attend Taste of the Nation. More than 40 local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and food artisans prepared food and beverages for attendees to enjoy at the Crystal Ballroom. 100-percent of ticket sales benefits the Share Our Strength effort to end childhood hunger.
Here's a peek at this amazing event.
For $150, attendees could purchase VIP tickets. These guests were treated to early access to a more intimate setting, featuring VIP participating restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
Top picks from Taste of the Nation Portland
One of the most exciting items I tried was this My Pharm Rabbit N'duja with pickled carrots and pea shoots from Renata, an Italian eatery slated to open in Southeast Portland this coming summer.
Xocolatl de David treated guests to a decadent Fluffernutter sandwich with chocolate milk. Thumbs up!
VIP guests were treated to Sazeracs, served up by Jake and Jordan of Multnomah Whiskey Library.
My favorite drinks in the VIP lounge came from Imperial: a Harlequin (tanqueray gin, aperol, lemon, honey syrup, chandon sparkling brut rosé) and Matchpoint (pimm’s no. 1 cup, bianco vermouth, lime juice, vanilla syrup, cinchona tonic, cucumber).
Pok Pok wowed the VIP crowd with Khao Niaw Sangkhaya Bai Toei -- sweet sticky rice with duck egg-pandan-coconut custard in banana leaves.
At 6:30 pm, the doors to the main event opened up for general admission, and the Crystal Ballroom was packed quickly.
Greeting guests as soon as you walked in was a gorgeous display of fresh fruits and vegetables, provided by event sponsor Charlie's Produce.
Boke Bowl was there with a crawfish and pork in spicy black bean sauce over rice tots. One of the other bloggers pointed out their marquee to me. Of course, I love it! :) (If you missed my DIY Marquee Letters tutorial, pop on over here and learn how to make these!).
You could satisfy your sweet tooth with inventive and delicious chocolates from Batch PDX
. . . as well as a nice assortment of pastries from Petunia's Pies and Pastries. They are all gluten free!
One of my favorite savory items was this beef tataki with kimchi, hoisin, and cilantro from Smallwares.
Olympic Provisions was on hand to serve up a fine selection of charcuterie.
Grassa brought tasty tasty carbs to the table with this Lumache Cacio e Pepe (pasta with truffle butter, cracked black pepper, and Jacobsen sea salt)
Then to help you wash down all of that meat and those carbs, Portland Juice Company was there with a lovely assortment of juices.
A great event for an important cause
One of the best things about Taste of the Nation (besides the great food and drinks, of course), was meeting many of the chefs, winemakers, business owners in person. Everyone was fantastic to chat with, answered all of my silly food questions, and they looked like they were having as good of a time as the attendees.
If the main floor became a little chaotic or claustrophobic for you, the mezzanine was also open, with seats and a great view of the ground floor activity.
Upstairs, Andina was showcasing some desserts, as well as their signature ceviche.
Bull Run Spirits and Dry Soda were managing the bar space upstairs. You could either choose from a cocktail menu, or you could make your own custom cocktail! I choose the latter, creating a cocktail with whiskey, ginger soda, and lemon. Delish.
So much fantastic food by amazing people who all came together to help raise funds to fight childhood hunger.
I say CHEERS to that, my foodie friends. Thanks to the great volunteers who made Taste of the Nation Portland a success!