Sunday, April 21, 2013

Taste of the Nation

I've had April 17th circled on my calendar for several months.  After attending my first Taste of the Nation here in Charlotte last year, I've been anxiously awaiting the 2013 event.  In addition to hosting dozens of Charlotte's finest restaurants who prepare their signature entrees, the event donates all proceeds to Share Our Strength in an effort to eliminate childhood hunger.  

The event was held at the Wells Fargo Center Atrium, with the VIP entry beginning at 6pm and the regular admission at 7pm.  There appeared to be a huge turnout for the event.

My dates for the evening were Dad and Mom.  After I made them drool describing all of last year's dishes, I didn't have to do much convincing to get them to drive from Atlanta for the 2013 night of eats.

I believe I was quite successful in capturing the majority of the dishes on camera.  The restaurant staff provided impressive detail of the ingredients and cooking methods for each dish, but my appetite overpowered my patience to write down each details for later use.  You'll notice that there are probably more pictures of meat in this single post than there have been in the past year on my blog. While I follow a largely vegetarian diet on a day-to-day basis, night's like this require flexibility in my food philosophy.

Without further ado, I'll let the pictures and basic descriptions do justice to the incredible evening.  

Napa on Providence's
Meatball served over a Polenta Cake
Duck over a Herb Sauce and Sliced Radish
Pork Tenderloin, Goat Cheese Potatoes, and Greens
Several plates from Cantina 1511
Pork taco, Meatball, and Carnitas
Queen City Q's BBQ Sliders
Yet another meatball - seemingly the theme of the evening.
The dessert on the background is a take on an Arnold Palmer prepared by Gallery Restaurant.
Caramel over a shortcake cookie and topped with a lemon mousse.
My favorite bite of the evening
Cornbread topped with BBQ pork and garnished with slaw
Upstream's White Tuna over Sticky Rice
Seared Scallop over Frisee Salad
Harper's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Slaw, Homemade Pickle, and Crispy Pork Skins
Beef Tenderloin and Cheese Popover
The dessert spread prepared by Johnson and Wales 
Can you believe those plates are only a portion of the restaurant's dishes that were available for tasting?  Eventually my stomach spoke louder than my desire to continue eating, and I became a bit more selective and grabbed a few final bites of my favorite flavors.  Last, but not least, a cup of Counter Culture decaf coffee sipped while sitting under the stars on a beautiful spring Charlotte evening.

Now that I've recovered from my food coma, I'm already counting down for the 2014 Taste of the Nation.  This is a one-of-a-kind event that anyone with even the slightest love of food should make an effort to attend.  If you're outside the Charlotte area, be sure to check out Taste of the Nation to find out when there might be events in your local area.    

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