On August 3, Downtown LA’s Vibiana was standing room only with well-dressed and well-meaning supporters for the 11th Annual Plate by Plate food tasting hosted by Project By Project. The evening featured hundreds of treats and was led by TV’s James Kyson and Susan Hirasuna.
There are two golden rules at a tasting. First, it’s a tasting — just a taste — not Thanksgiving. So nibble, appreciate and move on. The second rule is to start with water. Because it cleanses your palate and because if there’s alcohol, nobody will appreciate a sloppy taster later on. The third and unwritten rule (which also makes it the most fun) is that eventually both of the first two rules will diminish. Ultimately, get as much of the first two accomplished before the third takes over. Fair enough!
The evening showcased a wider selection of beverages than expected. Not just beer, wine, water and sake , but several palate extenders including Ventura Limoncello Company and White Lion VSOA. While I’ve tried and enjoyed Limoncello several times before, it’s the perfect compliment to a tasting. Refreshing, crisp and a great palate cleanser. White Lion VSOA is brand new to me and to many others, as it’s recently launched. Brand Ambassador Tim Olson explained it’s not quite like any other spirit. I tried it both neat and as a cocktail. The cocktail was my preference.
Ketel One’s vodka bar was the centerpiece to the outdoor patio. Offering several selections from the traditional drink vodka tonic to complex mixology involving their flavors Oranje and Citroen. For a vodka lover, or someone looking for a safe adventure, this was your one-stop shop.
As previously mentioned, you’re just getting a taste per plate. Not a meal. But it was increasingly difficult with so much delicious food and presented so liberally.
Throughout the evening, hosts James Kyson and Susan Hirasuna shared the spotlight to welcome the crowd, bring attention to the deserving benefactor East West Players and talk about several silent auction items. Their energy was infectious and fun. They kept the party going, kept spirits high and held the crowd’s attention.
The dessert options were awfully close to perfect. Nothing too sweet or over-indulgent, but rather palate compliments. A favorite was Rivera’s chocolate torte. Rich, deep, moist. A very subtle ending to the tasting.
Plate by Plate differentiated itself from not just other tastings, but also other philanthropic events. This event was produced by leaders like Marian Bacol-Uba (Los Angeles Chapter President) and Tim Dang (Producing Artistic Director of East West Players). The vibe was festive and optimistic and our hosts invited the entire crowd to a nearby after party (which sadly I did not partake in). Be looking for Plate by Plate in 2014, sure to be a great event.
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