So where do I begin?
Last night was one of the best evenings of my writing career – it was the Lost Restaurants of Tucson Dinner.
The evening was incredible from beginning to end.
I was nervous at first. After all, here was a roomful of people, most of them unknown to me, who were there to celebrate the coming together of six local chefs and dishes from their “Lost” restaurants. Plus, the event was a fund-raiser for The Tucson Museum of Art’s Restoration Project. And it was at The Carriage House, Janos Wilder’s newest event space.
I hadn’t done any of the work but still my book was the reason for all of the hoopla. I wanted it to be a success on every level.
And it was.
We got there early enough to witness the before service meeting. Janos instructed the team of about six servers and the front of the house manager about the way the evening was going to work.
Executive chef, Devon Sanner, whose idea it had been to have this dinner, was in the kitchen, no doubt doing the same with his staff. Devon is smart, passionate and a great chef. I also consider him to be a great friend.
And then just as the first guests began to arrive the team headed for the kitchen. There were going to be 115 plus dinners to serve.
Janos began the evening with an introduction as to what the evening was about. He talked about the book, the museum and the chefs. And he introduced Jeremy Mikolajszak, TMA’s new Chief Executive Officer.
I had met Jeremy at the first meeting we’d had to discuss the event. He’s incredibly enthusiastic about the museum and his job. The museum is lucky to have him on staff.
And then it was my turn. I’d written out what I wanted to say but instead I used my notes as a guideline. It took just a few minutes to erase my nervousness.
I introduced the first chef, Jimmy Gekas, from The Palomino and his dish Shrimp Marucca.
He told some great stories.
But then all the chefs did. The banter among them was great. Lots of laughs. Lots of good memories.
And the food?
Each dish was more spectacular than the next/
Here’s the menu:
Palomino, Shrimp Marucca with Garlic and Shallot butter, mushrooms and sherry
Fuego -Crispy Softshell Crab, Polenta with Salsa Fresca, Butter Sauce
Janos – Bacon wrapped quail with pork carnitas, green corn tamale pie and squash sauce
Jerome’s – Blackened Prime Rib with Bearnaise Sauce and twice baked Tasso cheese potato
Terra Cotta – Chocolate Mousse Pie
Wine flowed. Conversation was lively. At our table it mostly centered on old restaurants and old bars in Tucson.
At our table was Jim and Jackie Murphy, Marianne Banes and Greg McNamee and Alan and Mickie Zeman.
People were so wonderful about the book with memories of their own. I sold a lot of books. Alan Zeman sold all of the products he brought. The centerpieces, which were from the Museum store, were also for sale and it looked like most of them sold.
Anyway, it was a fab evening. I felt honored that all the chefs came together over the book and for a great cause.