My goodness I love this place so much, FareStart, that is. And I spent a lot of time there this week, only confirming this opinion.
First up was the Volunteer Appreciation Party on Tuesday evening. From 5:30-8pm the FareStart staff and students treated us wonderfully. Upon arrival to FareStart I was led to the open bar, offering two options each of red wine, white wine, beer, and soft drinks. Then I was led to the Swag Table that offered oodles of good things that I gratefully took home with me. These items included a sweet FareStart jacket (love it), a few bags of Starbuck’s reserve coffee, Rub With Love veggie mix, a seafood seasoning, and a box of Rooibos tea. Then I entered the dining room that was gorgeously decorated and the community table served as the display for the awesome buffet of food. Oh the food!!! It was all delicious and all made by the FareStart chefs and students. There was a lush cheese platter, heirloom tomato crostinis, cod fritters with chili aioli, chicken lemongrass meatballs with curry sauce, korean bbq pork sliders, mini pizzas with olives and artichokes, and an enormous platter of fruits. There was also a coffee station with lemon tarts and strawberry shortcake sliders. I really enjoyed the chicken meatballs and cod fritters, but honestly all of it was super pheomenal. All the Guest Chef Night volunteers eventually found our table and we drank, ate, and socialized for several hours.
Thursday, the official guest chef night, was another special event. Each year Getty Images rents out the place for their own guest chef night, plus auction and freely flowing wine. I guess it is their staff party but also a big donation night for them. It really didn’t seem a whole lot different than normal, aside from there being an auction, lots of wine, thus resulting in late departures for most of the guests. The food certainly made up for it though as Tom Douglas’ Lola restaurant was the menu for tonight. It was honestly one of the best, if not the best, entree I’ve had here so far. The first course was a great Greek salad with super fresh vegetables and amazing feta. The second course was a porcini mushroom braised lamb shank with truffled oyster mushrooms, braised greens, cippolini onions, fat broad beans and lemon. And the dessert course was a hazelnut baklava topped with vanilla-orange creme anglaise. I helped the chefs actually plate the volunteer meals, which was a lot of fun. In the end I got to try the vegetarian entree too which was a mushroom stuffed grilled eggplant with parsley and goat yogurt on top (yum). It was a very rich and heavy meal but oh so delicious.
In between my FareStart events I was one of the first customers to step in foot the brand new Veggie Grill downtown. For those in line before 11am, you received a $25 gift card for Veggie Grill (10 lucky winners won Veggie Grill for a year). I ordered my favorite sandwich of theirs, the Chipotle BBQ sandwich and the side of their new coleslaw that now is a creamy dressing and has currants in it. It was delicious and filling as usual and the new staff were on top of their game and uber friendly. They even let me sample the new Wednesday soup of creamy asparagus with tarragon that I have been curious to try. It was great! So was eyeing the new Kale Caesar Salad I saw a few people lunching on. I will be trying that next time!
Quite a FareWeek.