CASA's Sunsets and Safe Harbors Event Recap

Lindsay Bull

Saturday, July 27, 2013 Baltimore Eats had the pleasure of attending the Maryland CASA Association’s Sunsets and Safe Harbors Fundraising Gala at the Penthouse at Silo Point. This event was in its second year, to raise funds for high-risk children in foster care. With the help of CASA, these children have a voice and have higher chance of finding safe, permanent homes. The turnout was incredible, so it is evident that this organization has many generous supporters.

 

We brought our appetites, knowing that the menu included a Maryland-style surf and turf, so upon checking in and receiving our silent auction papers and program, we sought after the passed hors d’oevres. Offerings included a variety of gazpachos, deviled eggs, and kabobs, compliments of Chef Egg, a local culinary instructor and private chef.    

 

Surrounded in floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the entire horizon, the Penthouse proved the perfect location for the event’s theme. Sadly, however, the weather was not cooperating, and while it wasn’t raining, it was still hazy enough that the sunset was not as stunning and bright as one would have hoped. It was still a beautiful view, though; each room enveloped in deep cerulean skies as the evening progressed, which complemented the interior’s nautical theme.

 

At 8:00, the buffet was ready. We grabbed our dinner plates and hopped in line. We began with a beautiful summer salad of baby lettuces, blueberries, and jicama. The light, refreshing dressing tasted of champagne vinaigrette. There was a seasonal fruit and cheese board with soft, pillowy rolls. I helped myself to brie and some grain crackers. The unique potato salad was a cool, creamy side dish. It had peas in it, which was something I have never had in potato salad before. But somehow the combination worked. I was surprised!

 

As we moved onto the hot food, we helped ourselves to fresh corn on the cob, with cotija cheese, lime, and cilantro. The flavors popped, and the tangy lime and flowery cilantro complemented the natural sweetness of the corn. We also loaded up on the mac and cheese, because honestly, who doesn’t love mac and cheese with any meal? This is where we were disappointed. The flavor tasted one dimensional; salty if anything. And the texture was off-putting, almost grainy. We wanted to like this mac so badly. But, instead, we moved on to the stars of the plate: the surf and turf.

 

Chef Egg clearly appreciates the importance of an authentic Maryland crab cake; one made of lump crab and little filler. The slightly sweet flavor was stellar, and the tangy, piquant dill sauce was a creative accompaniment. The steak was melt-in-your-mouth tender. And maybe it was our fault, but by the time we got to try it, it was cold. I understand that a perfectly cooked-to-temperature steak loses said perfection when left on heat; however the lines of people were progressing so speedily that a chafing dish would have kept the steak warm enough, without ruining its integrity. The flavor itself was delicious, especially topped with the horseradish cream, but due to its temperature I felt like I should have been slapping it on a sandwich roll instead of eating it with a knife and fork. We would have loved to have had a slice fresh from the kitchen; no doubt it would have been marvelous. The fried chicken was perfectly seasoned, crisp, and juicy, like what you would have had at a day-long prepared Sunday Supper with the family.

 

As dinner came to a close, State Director, Ed Kilcullen introduced the first speaker, Monique Johnson. Monique is a well-spoken woman, grateful of the CASA committee for their place in her life. Faced with tragedy at a very young age and ultimately with no one on her side she could trust, her CASA representative became the constant in her life and the reason that things began to turn around for her. To this very day, she still thanks CASA for teaching her that where she began in life is not where she had to remain. Her speech was very heartfelt and inspiring, and it proved what remarkable differences CASA truly makes in the lives of abused and neglected children.

 

For a brief moment following Monique’s speech, CASA Vice President, Angela Hamilton reminded us of CASA’s efforts, thanked us all for attending, and then queued the DJ. We grabbed another glass of wine and made way upstairs to the silent auction. There was a wide array of items and packages, including Ocean City timeshare stays, art prints, domestic airline tickets, Baltimore Blast packages, beauty products, hot air balloon rides, and of course gift baskets of local wine. We placed our bids then headed back down for dessert.

 

Strawberry and stone fruit shortcakes were served, as well as oatmeal cookie balls. The treats satisfied our sweet tooth, but we were still too full from dinner to have more than a few nibbles. We headed outside and gazed at the moonlit water and cityscape before deciding it was time to head on home. There was an after-party at Silo.5% Wine Bar that we did not attend, but I’m sure it was lovely if attended by even half of the people who were at the gala.

 

Held in a beautiful, industrial-chic setting, with great food, drinks, and music, this is an event that you will not want to miss when CASA’s third installment comes along next year. I would conclude that this was an incredible success, and the children are very lucky to have CASA and all of its generous supporters on their side.

 

View additional event photos online by clicking here

                                       


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