Thursday, February 14, 2008

For The Love of Free Food

Last night I went to a free screening of a documentary called “The Pursuit of Equality.” It really is a film about the pursuit of love, and focuses on San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision four years ago on the eve of Valentine’s Day to allow same-sex marriages to take place in City Hall—igniting a frenzy and a national debate that continues to this day.

Now, I realize the idea of same-sex marriages is a very politically charged topic. And since this is a food blog, I’m not going to get in it. Nor am I going to critique the documentary. (If you’re interested, you can check out the documentary’s Web site here.)

What I am going to do, however, is to talk about the spread that was put out prior to the screening at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. The catering was done by the Jack Falstaff restaurant in San Francisco, part of the PlumpJack Group that’s owned by Mayor Newsom. All the food and the free screening were underwritten by AT&T and PG&E.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived were these mini-buns. I was hoping they’d be mini-burgers, but they actually were thinly sliced ham with mixed greens. The use of mixed greens to accent these bun-wiches was an interesting touch, but the overall taste was like any other ham sandwich.

What I really liked were these tomato-cheese crostinis. I don’t remember what kind of cheese were used, but it was really yummy. As you can see, I had to snap my photos really quickly before the hungry crowd grabbed everything.

These chicken skewers needed a better presentation. But they were very tasty. I thought they would have a basic teriyaki sauce but they actually had a nice, light glaze. I enjoyed it.

They were also passing out these appetizers with eggplant, but I didn’t try them because I’m not a big fan of eggplant. See how they always look mushy?

Along with the typical fruit platter and coffee station, there were also large platters of strawberries (are they really in season?) and cheese. There were these cut pieces of brie that was perfectly served at room temperature. I really liked the softness but it still held up its shape so you could just pop them in your mouth as opposed to feeling the need to spread it. But what’s more exciting was what was towering above the strawberries and cheese…

…it was this multi-level dessert station with little chocolate cakes and a mix of cookies. It was an interesting presentation, but unfortunately I never got around to trying one because I was too busy …

… at the open bar. The bar’s sponsors included Absolute Vodka so that made me ask for a vodka martini. But they didn’t have vermouth so basically the bartender just gave me a glass of shaken vodka with ice. Oh well, I wasn’t complaining. ;-)

It was the best spread of free food I’ve had in awhile. And luckily I got there early because by the time I ran into other friends, they were only left with fruit and cheese to snack on before the screening.

Here’s a tasty dish: I was sitting near the VIP section and just two rows away from model-turned-actor Jason Lewis (“Sex and The City”). I wasn’t exactly sure why he was there or how he was connected to the film since he wasn’t featured in it nor did he do the narration. Still, afterwards I went up to meet him and he was so sweet and gracious.

Anywho, it was a fun night out. Hope you’re having a nice Valentines Day. And my wish to you all is that you’ll find love, and when you do, your government will sanction it.


SteamyKitchen said...

Oh I'll have a serving of Jason Lewis!

Hungry Hedonist said...

Ben, thank you for your kind comments on my blog. Look forward to reading about your adventures! -HH

Anonymous said...

Jason Lewis, le sigh. That would have made my Valentines Day!

Anonymous said...

hehe Chef Ben, all of us are drooling over the delicious dish...