Street Dinner with my Foodie Friends

Better late than never:
In late July of this year, Sacramento hosted the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC).  This, obviously, is a super late post on one of the main highlights of the IFBC – the Gala Dinner Event:

The IFBC culminates with the traditional Gala Dinner for its attendees, speakers, and sponsors.  This year, the IFBC deviates from its typical indoor formal dinner and stages its Gala Dinner event outdoors under the Sacramento sky.  For the event, Sacramento Visitors Bureau closes1 off 13th Street, right at the tree-tented area between the Hyatt Hotel and the Sacramento L Street Theatre.  My first IFBC climaxes spectacularly and begins many fabulous dinners with foodie friends.

Sheri Wetherell, Co-Founder of Foodista and the International Food Bloggers Conference, ushers the beginning of this Gala Outdoor Dinner event with a kiss.

Beautiful centerpieces elegantly welcome about 300 of my closest Food Blogger friends in this wonderful showcase of Sacramento’s farm-to-fork finest in food and wine.  Wines from Amador and Clarskburg Wine Country flow to fuel this foodie celebration.

For the first course, Chef Jason Poole presents a rustic salad with Black Prince and Carolina Gold Tomatoes, crowned with Wild Arugula and Sierra Nevada Feta Cheese; and doused with Aged Sherry Reduction.  This dish features Yeung Farm Tomatoes, Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, and Del Rio Botanical.  Simple, straight forward, and refined with a dash of rustic edge.  This is how a fantastic dinner begins.

As an interlude, Chef Poole speaks of the dishes and the grandeur of Sacramento’s Farm to Fork movement.  Chef Poole exudes a charming duality of Celebrity Chef good looks and Mother Thesesa’s humility.  He admits of his ease in the kitchen and his tremendous discomfort with public speaking.  Chef, relax. You had us at Arugula.

The second course arrives before sunset and forever changes our lives:  Apricot Glazed Mary’s All Natural Chicken Breast with Sweet Corn Puree, Blue Lake Beans, and Natural Jus. This dish features Del Rio Botanical, Dwelly Farms, and Mary’s Chicken. This dish continues the elegant refinement of Chef Poole’s cuisine with a sustained homage to the humble and rustic origins of the ingredients: local farms, local growers, local merchants within a few miles of Sacramento city central.

Ask and ye shall receive the vegetarian dish, too:  Wild Mushroom Risotto with Soy Cream and Asparagus Ribbons.  I shamelessly teased our server – world class Mixed Martial Arts fighter Matthew Wagy if we could perhaps taste the risotto if there were any left unclaimed.  To our surprise and delight, Matt comes out shortly after with the risotto plate.  I claimed the initial shots, and then shared it with new Sacramento Food Blogger friends, Allie and Dan of Love and Risotto. With our communal affection for risotto, we taste with open palate.  It probably would have been delicious on its own, although with a palate flavored by the juicy and flavorful enchantment of the chicken dish that came before, the risotto comes across a bit flat, dry, and not as captivating.

Chef completes the meal with a Thyme and Lavender Short Cake with Grand Marnier Macerated Peaches and Vanilla Cream,
featuring Twin Peaks Orchid and Del Rio Botanical.  This dessert, from wraps up a wonderfully composed dinner experience.

The sky darkens and invites black coffee to dance with my remaining glass of red wine.  Dinner concludes; new friendships and foodie adventures begin.  I look forward to next year’s IFBC Gala Dinner Event, which Sacramento will host again.  Cheers!

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  1. This is only the third time that Sacramento has closed-off this street for an dining event.

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