The Corinthian never smelled so good as it did Tuesday night. The moment the doors opened on the Taste of the Nation for "No Kid Hungry" fundraiser, guests were enveloped in wonderful aromas emanating from more than 50 food and drink stations.
By night's end, more than 600 charity-minded foodies had wandered through the seductive maze of scrumptious food like ants through a picnic. They were tempted by Coltivare's braised duck, Underbelly's sophisticated BLTs, Holley's crab hors d'oeuvres and Cafe Annie's roasted eggplant tartare.
And the barbecue dishes! The pitmasters provided the biggest aromas and the biggest tastes of the night — Louis Mueller's Wayne Mueller, Gatlin's Greg Gatlin, Pappa Charlies' Wesley Jurena, Roegels' Russell Roegels, Midtown Barbeque's Brett Jackson, and the Brisket House's Wayne Kammerl.
Among others putting their best plates forward were BCN's Louis Roger, Arthur Ave's William Wright, Izakaya's Philippe Gaston and so many more. As Brennan's chef Danny Trace, a first-timer, noted, "I knew that it was a great event . . . It's beyond what I expected, there are so many booths, such great food here, so much talent and we're certainly glad to be a part of it." His team handed out steaming bowls of hunter's duck and collard greens gumbo.
While grazing through the Corinthian, guests had plenty of opportunities for bottled water, Karbach beer and creative cocktails such as Mongoose versus Cobra's gin punch, Moving Sidewalk's watermelon daiquiri, and Julep's Snake Pit Sprout, featuring gin.
And then there were the desserts, such temptation, from Weights & Measures, Michael's Cookies, Le Table, Fat Cat Creamery and on and on.
In the process of all that tasting from top chefs and pitmasters and sipping from leading mixologists and breweries, the very well-fed raised close to $100,000.
Applause, applause for chef chair Ryan Pera, beverage chair Alba Huerta, pastry chair Rebecca Masson and barbecue chair Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly.
Adding to the night's fun were the country tunes of VinylRanch DJ David Wrangler, sounds that kept the energy high as guests perused the myriad silent auction items. The Glenlivet Dram Room and the NFL Homegating "Slider Zone" for creating your own mini-burgers provided extra entertainment.
Notable guests in the mix included platinum sponsors Marta and Bill Marko, NFL retirees Warren Moon and James Farrior, and No Kid Hungry executive vice president of strategy Chuck Scofield.