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Monday, March 05, 2007

Yummy! Children's Home Society's 22nd Annual Chefs Sampler

An excellent workout deserves an excellent reward and a visit to the Children's Home Society's 22nd Annual Chefs Sampler at the Leon County Civic Center was the right treat last night. Although still feeling a bit under the weather, I pulled myself together and joined thousands of others grazing my way through the Civic Center. More than 40 restaurants served up their finest.

I didn't over indulge and hardly indulged because I'm not a fan of grazing functions but it gave me an opportunity to taste a few Tallahassee restaurants. I overheard some people say, "this is smaller than last year's function." It's my understanding the 2006 event was at one of the malls. And yes, it was a bit crowded, but the culinary treats were worth it. My favorite tastes of the evening were:

Fusion Cafe - Squash empanada (at least that's what I thought they were); definitely vegetarian and pleasant tasting. I love squash, it's a terrific comfort food but Fusion Cafe took this veggie up a notch by blanketing a light crust around the smooth acorn squash (either that or butternut squash - it was orange). I passed on their dessert, which actually looked yummy. It looked like a mini-hamburger but was a round brownie on a donut-like bun topped with a slice of white chocolate, strawberries and I believe mango.

Paradise Grill & Bar
- She-crab soup. In the words of Rachael Ray, "Yummo!" The soup was rich, thick and had the perfect amount of she-crab flakes. It hit the spot with my cold. Just wish it was a bit warmer, but hey, feeding thousands of people isn't easy.

Ali's Strawberry Shakes and Farmers Market - Strawberry shortcake. How can anyone not enjoy this classic? 'Tis the season for strawberries!

The photo below shows the panel of judges for the event. I didn't stick around to see which restaurant was voted the tastiest, but I did see the judges chowing down on the delicious bites. Although I can't verify this because I can't seem to find anything about the event on the Net, but from last week's newspaper insert and doing some Googling, I believe from left to right are: Julie Montanaro, WCTV6; Brad Johnson, Minnesota Vikings (well, up until Feb. 28 he was); Peter Boulware, Baltimore Ravens; and Loranne Ausley, State Representative, House District 9. I forgot to ask who was who (I know, pretty dumb) so if anyone can verify, I'd appreciate it.

Contact for the above mentioned Tallahassee restaurants:

Fusion Cafe
1225 N. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Paradise Grill & Bar
1406 N. Meridian Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Ali's Strawberry Shakes and Farmers Market
3031 Crump Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32309

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