Flip Flop Festivus 2012 Event Review

Diana Peisach

                Baltimore’s Best Football Party, otherwise known as the Flip Flop Festivus, is a night of great food, fine drinks, and generous charity. Saturday, September 22nd was the fourth annual Flip Flop Festivus to benefit the Life and Breath Foundation at Baltimore’s Harbor East Four Seasons Hotel. You didn’t have to be a Ravens fan to appreciate this incredible event, but it certainly didn’t hurt. By the end of the night I can certainly say I left with a full stomach, a tune in my head, and a smile on my face.

                My “date,” also known as my father, and I arrived at the event at 6pm ready to start off the night at the VIP reception. As we walked into the beautiful, new Four Seasons Hotel we were greeted by the friendly hotel staff and led to the event on the second floor. As we were brought into the VIP room, I was immediately struck by the elegance of the room. There were beautiful chandeliers and an amazing balcony view of the Baltimore Harbor. We immediately grabbed some champagne and went outside to check out the view. While the scenery was breathtaking, the event unfortunately could not have accounted for the extremely loud 98 Rock concert at Pier 6 during the same time. Nevertheless, we took in the view, sipped our champagne, and toasted the night.

                Returning to the event, we immediately began exploring the creative food and drinks offered. The head chef for the evening was Chef Michael Marx, owner of Mexican restaurant Miguel’s Cocina and Cantina, who graciously donated 100% of the food in support of the foundation. Tables of unique and elegant food and cocktail combinations were carefully placed around the room, taking guests on a culinary tour of four areas, Cuba, Mexico, the Mediterranean and the Chesapeake. We began our tour with some Red Wine Poached Chorizo, a Mediterranean dish that was savory and delicious. The next food to catch our eye was bacon-wrapped soft shell crab tempura topped with a berry sauce. Even though this seemed like an interesting try, the flavor, I decided, was definitely for the more advanced palate. Overall, I found one of my favorite appetizers from the VIP reception to be a bite sized chicken, tamarind and rice croqueta, small yet bursting with flavor. While the food certainly made the VIP hour worth it, it was the drink specials that truly added the extra effect. Paired on the table with my chicken croquetas was also my favorite drink of the night, a Don Q Mint Mojito, a delicious mix that was cool and refreshing. Other specialty drinks included Alma Fresh Grapefruit Palomas, Sloop Betty Vodka Martinis, Don Q Passion Fruit Rum with iced tea and a number of different wine selections, all of which we were sure to try.

                As the evening wore on, the event transitioned from the VIP reception to the main event and more guests, including notable Ravens players Matt Stover and Jonathan Ogden, made their way into the room. The ballroom for the main event certainly set the mood, with dim colorful lights, a main stage for starring band Mo’ Sol and a sizable dance floor. As people filled the room however, we noticed one major flaw of the event- not enough tables and chairs. With tables of food spread around the room, there were only several sparsely placed tables for guests to sit and eat. Though my date and I figured this was done purposefully to encourage dancing and mingling, our feet were the priority as we quickly found an open table in the corner to rest. And despite the lack of tables, the main event was great fun. The band Mo’ Sol set a great atmosphere playing a variety of Motown, funk, soul and hip-hop tunes. Raffle tickets for auctions items circled the room all night for prizes such as a signed Ravens helmet, wine refrigerator and a “stock the bar” liquor basket. The attending Ravens players were also a hit of the evening, constantly swarmed by other guests asking for pictures and even some autographs.

                But even with so many great aspects to the event, the food and bar were certainly not lost on anyone, especially us. The main bar constantly had a line and more hors d’oeuvres, this time compliments of the Four Seasons Hotel, circled the room. Some of these great starters included delicious crab fritters, coconut shrimp, and lamb chops. The main course consisted of different sections as well, with three main stations- Little Italy, Greektown, and Land Sea and Beach. The Little Italy and Greektown stations served selected side dishes like Greek salad, mozzarella and tomato, and pita with hummus. The Land, Sea and Beach presented the main course, consisting of pulled chicken sliders with BBQ sauce, lump crab cake lemon remoulade sliders and mini tuna tacos. While I found all three of these menu options tasty, their miniature size was surprising. For this style event I expected a main course with a little more weight, however, the small portions may have been a result of the seating decisions and a need for bite size options. But whatever guests may have been missing in food, they made for up in drinks as the open bar thrived all night long. At one point I even got a moment to talk to one of the stars of the event, Matt Stover, to ask his favorite food of the night, but apparently he was too popular to even get a bite to eat. I guess with fame comes starvation.

                Throughout the night, it was clear that guests were having a great time at the event. Charitable donations poured in for the Life and Breath Foundation, as both the founder, Sean Hill, and honored Ravens players spoke about the history and accomplishments of the foundation. Honored guests included Matt Stover, Jonathan Ogden, Brad Jackson, and Wallie Williams. It was great seeing these former players engaging in the community and supporting such an incredible cause. Overall, the Life and Breath Foundation did a fantastic job with this event. They successfully created an unforgettable night for guests of food, music, dancing, and fun and most importantly raised a great deal of funds for a worthy cause.

 

View additional exciting photos of the event by clicking here.

                                                  


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