This was my fourth year attending the Red Ball at the Please Touch Museum and I still can't get over how incredibly lucky I am to have the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible event. I'm not shy to say that I look forward to this all.year.long.
Initially, I came for the food. Because, well, food is one of my most favorite things in the entire universe (check out my past foodie events on the left-side panel). But what I'm learning is that the Red Ball isn't just food -- it's an experience. It's the gowns, the red-tie tuxedos, the music, the atmosphere, the people. But yes, the food is pretty fantastical, too.
Here's my little piece of what always turns out to be one heck of an evening...
I will never get tired of the rooms bathed in delicate red light and stars on the walls. So pretty. Let's DO this...
Red carpet, baby!
An extra special thanks goes out to Dave Schrader, Director of Communications for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Red Cross.
Something I noticed about this year's Red Ball was the attention to detail. There were sporadic tables scattered throughout the party, some reserved and some not, and EVERY table had candles and red roses on them. That's a lot of tables, people! It was a nice added touch.
Here is the Honorable Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross of Southeastern PA, looking exquisite.
A friendly guest giving me her best Miss America wave. (By the way, have you ever tried to take a picture of a person riding on a carousel? It ain't easy, folks!)
This was the very first year that the president and CEO of the American Red Cross, Ms. Gail McGovern, was in attendance. She was so gracious and kind. It was an honor to meet her.
We had a bride-to-be in attendance. Here she is with her future groom and parents. Congratulations family!
I'm pretty sure The Hubs is breaking every cardinal rule of riding a carousel here, but it was hella funny! At least they made him strap in before the ride started...
I was chatting with these three and the gentleman uttered right before I took the picture "I'm a lucky man..." Ha! Indeed you are, sir.
This is one of my favorite shots of the night -- board members from Red Paw Emergency Relief (it's like Red Cross for animals!) posing 'piano-by-heels.' Love!
And now that we've seen the beautiful people, let's get on to my favorite part: THE FOOD! Yessssssss. Get your slobber napkins ready. Set? Go! Here's a elegant cupcake display by Cupcakes Gourmet.
Grilled cheese by Melt Down Gourmet Grilled Cheese. Comfort food at its best. The representative at this table even wore a huge piece of cheese on his head while happily handing out plates (did you see the picture of him on my preview post?) -- The Hubs and I declared that he wins the prize for best salesman of the night. Melt Down, give that man a raise and a promotion!
Here's a chef perfecting scallops (with bacon and micro greens) from Devon Seafood. OMG, you guys, this was BY FAR my most favorite dish. When I told The Hubs this, he said "yep, I went back to that table three times." Save some for everyone else, babe! See below for my portion...
Soooo, the picture does not do the scallop justice: they were HUGE -- I struggled to stuff the entire thing into my mouth in one bite (but I did it anyway teehee). The bacon was sweet and smoky (doesn't everything taste better with bacon?), and the greens gave the bite added texture and crunch....it was spectacular. Devon Seafood has been moved to the top of my date-night restaurant wish list. So watch out Devon -- I will be stalking you shortly.
Here The Hubs discusses beer with someone from SlyFox Brewing Company. Maybe it's the Irish in me but, I love beer. I'm not embarrassed to say that beer and I have a relationship. We tasted the IPA here and it was light and tangy -- just the way I like it.
Ristorante Panorama offered parmesan flatbread topped with mascarpone and goat cheese and oven roasted tomatoes with micro greens -- yum! The flat bread's smooth flavor with the kick from the cheese made the perfect combination.
One thing that makes me happy is when vendors put mirrors under their food -- it enhances the display and makes for great pictures! So special snaps go to Seasons 52 Fresh Grill for their beautiful and scrumptious display.
Assorted mini desserts from Water Works Restaurant and Lounge. Red Velvet cupcakes or water wheel shooters, anyone?
Speaking of displays, this was my favorite one of the night by The Cotton Candy Confectionery. There's just something appealing about cotton candy, isn't there? And these folks added some extra charm to theirs by making it into STARS. Cotton candy stars?! Be still, my beating little-girl heart! I asked her how they did it -- cookie cutters, she told me with a sly smile. Who knew?!
Devine shrimp from Opportunities Inn. I think chef Charles Schmidt must have put liquid gold into this butter sauce, because it sure tasted like he did. My first instinct after devouring the shrimp was to lick my plate. Seriously.
Veggie quesadillas courtesy of Arpeggio. I was chatting with another guest at this table and she commented on how grateful she was (as a vegetarian) that there were meatless options available.
Here's a little bowl of heaven: Paella-Risotto with saffron risotto, mussels and shrimp from R2L Restaurant and Lounge.
And yet another dish from R2L: Signature Veal Stew -- veal meatloaf, braised veal breast and gravy. I am not a big fan of veal but this tasted like Thanksgiving dinner. Mild, comforting and a little tangy. Yum.
All proceeds from The Red Ball directly benefit Red Cross House, SEPA Chapter’s one-of-a-kind short-term housing facility where hundreds of local families every year begin their recovery from fires, floods, and other disasters. The public is invited to regularly check out www.redcrossphilly.org for photos and articles about the event.
And so, I give my most heartfelt thanks to the Red Cross and all the vendors who gave their time, energy and support to such a great cause...and for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of it.
It's not every day that a girl gets to inappropriately lay across a plastic toy in her Saturday-night best -- I have to seize the opportunity when I see it. And, that's right bitches, I'm the media!