Photos by Josie Koler
No one was asking, “What’s for dinner,” Monday night! Nearly every eatery on the island was dishing up a signature appetizer, dish, or dessert to benefit the AIDS Help at the Truman Annex. For 15 years the event has been going strong to provide an irreplaceable support system for those in Monroe County living and working with HIV and AIDS.
“We were out at 9 am setting up tables, and it was well after dark when we were still out picking up paper off the ground, so we didn’t have to pay the city. What a wonderful event! The entire community came out to support us,” remarked AIDS Help’s Joe Pais.
We’ll start with some of the creations which left ticket holders’ mouths watering for more!
Then, show you some of restaurant owners and chefs rolling up their sleeves to present the public with cuisine all cooked for a wonderful cause!
3 ½ year old Ryan Fossum chomped down earnestly on a chocolate chip cookie from Key West Cakes! Many of you many know her dad, The Green Parrot’s bartender, Jim Fossum.
Let’s just say Key West Cakes’ giant chocolate chip cookies and toddlers go together like a nice Australian Shiraz and the Hot Tin Roof’s Duck Confit! 3 ½ year old Rylee Rich enjoyed the richness of this biscuit. Her parents, Mandy and John Rich, live and work in Key West.
Eddie “Spaghetti” Marsh, owner of Mello Velo Bicycle Tours was out with and his family, wife Melanie (not pictured) and son Milo. “He’s three years and two months,” exclaimed Eddie, “going on 15!” The kid chowed down on… of course, a cupcake from Key West Cakes!
“The cider beer, for sure, is our favorite!” (From left to right) Joe Palumbo, David Winter, Purvey (pronounced purr-VAY) Bennett, Byron Macfarlane, and Hank Gross couldn’t get enough of the California creation.
(Left to right) “Gator,” Andy Brown, and Bob Oberle sunk their chops into Martin’s lamb chops! So….good…Oberle is STILL lickin’ his lips!
The Reverend Randy Becker and his wife, Elissa Bishop-Becker were two more ticket holders more than fond of Hot Tin Roof’s Duck Confit!
Ambrosia’s Fuad Farhoud, Holly Maloney, and Jessica Castro played the crowd with the Playmate Roll! Eel, cream cheese, and crabstick, rolled up in rice and macadamia nuts!
Known for their Gauchos and meat seasoned to perfection Braza Lena’s grill masters Manuel Anull and Klmbla Demazio catered to a line stretching all the way across the annex. Their dish – $4 burgers!
Straight from Sebastopol, California, Mark Birkin and Nathan Small provided the crowd with some serious merriment via their hard pear and apple ciders. “It’s real juice. That’s the secret!”
Making waves with a Blow Bubbles summer salad is Finnegan’s Wake’s co-owner and chef extraordinaire Wayne Keller! Made with sugar cane Key West Pinks steamed in pink champagne over mixed greens, Basmati rice, avocado, and strawberries Wayne realizes he has yet another wonder to add to the menu at “The Wake! The secret, salad dressing made with bubble gum!
Help Yourself’s Charlie Wilson lured people to her booth by donning a carrot costume. “I couldn’t talk anyone else into dressing like a carrot!” (left to right) Sally Kromer, Amber Price, Charlie, and Rabindra Sarabit served up a summer slaw and dairy-free dessert.
Ocean Key Resort and Spa’s executive chef Tim Labonte ruffled the crowd’s feathers with a dish made with duck. “It’s duck confit with parmesan cheese, caramelized onion, and a roasted duck absorption,” Labonte explains. Pictured from left to right are Sarah Thompson, Tim Labonte, Jason Mastenbrook, Candice Jeffords, and Shelia Rogers. …did you really think we’d forget to mention the boy in the blue! A Key West eating and drinking event is never complete without everyone’s favorite… give it up for Rodger Levering!
Islanders and tourists are always invited to come ‘Hang at the ‘Hole! Eric Catalano and Ruben Garcia made their way from Stock Island to serve up Seafood Bisque and Smoked Fish Dip. “The secret,” Catalano clarified, “local seafood. Definitely fresh, local seafood!”
At the helm of Luke Barnett, and executive chef Greg Lopez, Shor American Seafood Grill is making their niche as having one of the most posh places and the most personable staff! Andrea Garland, Michelle Tomas, Andrea King, Luke Barnett, Scott Pinto, and Alican Sunal wowed the crowd with Pompano Skewers, a summer slaw with mango chipotle sauce.