So, yes, I am a terrible blogger but I still like to pretend I’m a food blogger and go hang out with the bloggers that are far superior to me. And, recently, I was invited to join some wonderfully fun people at Caffe Calabria in North Park for a dinner event showcasing Specialty Produce and highlighting the deliciousness of chef Javier Plascencia (I mean, his food, of course…)
We started with cocktails – and the Blackberry Bramble was a dangerous one. Muddled with blackberries from Specialty Produce, with a little sugar and booze, this was a drink that went down way too easily. I actually handed half of it over to T when he arrived so I would be able to stand up for the rest of the night.
Along with the cocktails, there were a couple of passed appetizers: seared tuna on toast and then a skewer of sausage, roasted garlic, and potato. The skewer was my winner, hands down. I mean, you really can’t go wrong with sausage and a tender clove of roasted garlic.
I’ve never been a fan of cactus, but radishes I love. This gorgeous salad was like a sign of what to expect for the rest of the night – beautiful and delicious and amazing. Still not a huge fan of nopales, but the radishes and white beets were quite tasty. I think most of us were hanging out on the outside patio because 1) it was pretty warm that night and 2) that’s where all the food was. It’s also where chef Javier Plascencia was cooking everything up, so we all had a great view of this shrimp dish as it was being assembled and plated.
One thing I love about blogger events is that as a dish is brought out and set down, there’s a huge rush of people. But not to dig in to the plate! Everyone crowds around to get that photo of food before it’s been touched or tasted. And everyone waits for the photos to be taken before moving even a morsel of food. Just think, if the world acted as nicely as food bloggers how pleasant things could be!
Anyway, this shrimp dish (prawns?) was the most delicious thing I ate all night. Roasted veggies lined the plate base, with plump, sweet, meaty shrimp on top, all covered in a garlic cream sauce I would have eaten spoonful by spoonful all by itself.
Inside the restaurant, by the coffee roaster (which smelled heavenly all night), was another food station and after the shrimp was devoured this pizza showed up. I had never eaten at Caffe Calabria before, but I’d heard good things about their pizza. If their pizzas are anything like this one, with prosciutto and figs and a balsamic glaze, I can’t wait to come back for more. The crust was thin and light and crisp but I think the figs outshone everything. After the pizza, it was back outside where chef Javier started assembling the pulled pork pupusas. Because it was all being assembled, instead of just setting out a platter of them, a little line formed. But the line moved pretty quickly and then you were rewarded with more tasty bites!
I think after the pulled pork, a salad was set out where the pizza was. I saw a few people walking around with plates of it, and it looked good, but how can you follow up pulled pork with salad?I wasn’t aware of this, but there’s an upstairs to Caffe Calabria! And upstairs, there was dessert! I’m usually not a fan of fruit for dessert (don’t even get me started on cheese for a dessert course!) but the donut peach, all roasted and sweet, hit the spot perfectly. We opted to skip the espresso drinks, but smelling the roasty aroma wafting around the patio was almost good enough.
At the end of the night, we were sent home with a little goodie bag from Caffee Calabria and a Specialty Produce Farmers Market Box. I’ve been to a lot of media events and I can say that I’ve never gone home with more useful and appreciated goodies EVER. The produce box was full of fruits and veggies that were showcased as part of the dinner dishes (although, the chef was not included!) that I slowly used throughout the week. And from Caffe Calabria we got a little gift certificate for a pizza, a very nice mug, a stainless steel scoop, blood orange tea, and espresso beans. It’s a well balanced mug, too, so I’ve been using it almost every day.
All in all, it was a really fun night. I enjoyed getting to see a lot of bloggers I haven’t seen in a long time, we ate a lot of really good food, and I’m looking forward to visiting Caffe Calabria again for a coffee and a pizza.
Many thanks for Caffe Calabria for hosting us, Specialty Produce for the invitation, and Puja for coordinating all the bloggers!
Disclosure: I was invited on behalf of Specialty Produce and Caffe Calabria for complimentary bites and drinks as part of a media event. No compensations was received for this review. As always, all opinions are mine.