Sante: Spoil Your Palate Event Recap

Lindsay Bull

    On Saturday, November 10, 2012, I was invited to an exceptional event at the B&O Railroad Museum, the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) third annual Sante: Spoil Your Palate event. The event was held to raise funds and awareness for NKF, recognize the champions of kidney donation, those who were recipients of kidney donations, and to hear their stories. As the festivities quieted down and we all took our seats, we were directed to view a stage and two screens, which depicted stories of the champions and their donors. Following each story, an award was given to each champion and followed by a small speech of gratitude.

 

     Emcee Don Scott began, by introducing the first Kidney Champion, Pamela Paulk, Senior VP of HR at Johns Hopkins. She told her story of how she once casually asked a man she knew, “is there anything I can do to help you?” And he halfheartedly said, “Yes, I need a kidney.” Upon finding out she was a match, she selflessly donated a kidney to him. It was wonderful to experience the heartfelt story they each shared. The second champion, Matthew Weir, donated a kidney to someone in need as well, and his story was also a compassionate one, as he was already involved in NKF and as a director of Nephrology at University of MD School of Medicine. Both champions were given recognition and awards for their heroism. Following the awards, four guests were interviewed, one being a donor recipient, another a family whose son received a kidney from his mother, and a young boy who received a kidney at the age of four. The stories were all so touching and really kept everyone’s attention.

 

     In addition to the moving presentation, the food and drink before and after the presentation was remarkable! There was just so much food to try, that we did our best to make it to every table, but unfortunately ran out of time as things felt a bit rushed. Some of our favorites were the delicious seafood chili from Silk’s Restaurant at Bulle Rock, tuna sashimi wontons and prime rib crostini’s from Barrett’s Grill, and The Cabot Creamery habanero and dill cheeses were great, especially when mixed with other items, as I decided to get creative.

 

 

     Indigma’s Chenna Masala dish was stunning. It was a slightly spicy chickpea dish, although I cannot remember the rest of the ingredients.  Should you visit their restaurant, please ask for it. I’m sure they serve it on the regular menu. My absolute favorite dish of the evening was the Papdi Chaat from The Verandah; it was like heaven on a crispy tortilla, with sour cream and cilantro. I had to go back for seconds on that one. Richardson Farms had a creamy butternut squash soup with a crispy pork belly and fried sage leaf. Fried sage leaves take on their own unique flavor versus in fresh form. A must try at home or when dining out!

 

      Hampden’s new The Food Market served a tasty cream of crab soup, with a sprinkling of old bay and chives. It was a great way to indulge in one of my favorite soups, without the guilt, since I never order a bowl of it off of any menu due to the caloric content. We sadly missed many of the desserts, but loved the white chocolate bark from Cooking with Catherine, as it had nuts and dried cranberries, in a perfectly salty and sweet combination. The pumpkin cheesecake push pops from Zia’s Café were unique, as I did not know what to expect from a vegan dessert, but I am glad I tried. Although I am not a big pear fan, Tark’s Grill really impressed me with their pear and custard napoleon. Who doesn’t love a great napoleon? The creamy custard made all the difference!

 

     Our favorite drinks were those from Van Gogh (PB&J vodka, can you believe it?), and the Tap 357 rye whiskey was like none other, with a sweet, maplelike finish I have never experienced in a whiskey before. Not being a beer drinker, the EuForia was my favorite of the traditional type of beers; mild and light and not at all bitter, yet would still please novices of  beer drinkers. However, the Crispin Hard Apple Cider was a nice seasonal drink, which deserved a second helping!

 

     The silent auction had a plethora of options, from endless sports memorabilia, cheese and alcohol baskets galore, gift card baskets for dining throughout Baltimore, photo packages, spa indulgences, romantic getaways, date nights, and signed art prints from various artists. And that is just to name a few. I am sure they all went to happy homes!

 

     The live auction began with one to raise funds for those in need of dialysis, transportation, groceries, utility assistance, and all of the necessities that affect dialysis patients and their families. Over $2,500 was raised for this. Following the kind donations, auction prizes included weeklong vacations in Hilton Head, dinner with pro football players, a SCUBA dive in the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and even a weeklong stay in a beautiful Florida condo with family passes to Disney World. Through the generous bidders, these items were successfully won and raised a great deal of funds for the NKF and their efforts.

 

     I can honestly say I walked into this event with the notion of good eats, good drinks, and a good cause. But it has left an extra special place in my heart not only for the donors and recipients but a second thought about how I could one day help others as well. I highly recommend anyone reading this article to look into sponsoring or attending next year’s event! For more information on the foundation or to give a gift online, please visit http://www.kidneymd.org/.

 

To view additional food and venue photos of the event please click here


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