In one of the highlights of the holidays, Seasons Rotisserie & Grill celebrated its 20th anniversary with an evening of delicious food in support of an organization that helps some of the most food insecure in our community, the Durango Food Bank.
Held Dec. 9, the event featured a cornucopia of delights prepared by Seasons’ Executive Chef David Stewart and his crew.
The menu included Rappahannock River (Virginia) and Naked Cowboy (Long Island, New York) oysters on the half shell; wood-grilled housemade local lamb and pork sausages; white pizza with housemade mozzarella and James Ranch Hungarian hot wax peppers; a selection of salumi and cheeses, including delice de Bourgogne, ColoRouge, Comté, Gorgonzola dolce, pecorino Romano, Maytag blue cheese and chorizo Ibérico; Jenn’s house-baked crackers; caprese skewers with local cherry tomatoes and housemade mozzarella; hoisin-barbecued pork ribs; crispy poblano-polenta fritters with romesco sauce; crispy potato croquettes; sliders made with rotisserie LB Farm lamb or rosemary and balsamic LB Farm pulled-pork; smoked trout dip featuring Rainbow Springs’ trout; and a plethora of holiday cookies including chocolate chip, lemon linzer drops, shortbread, lemon-poppyseed and biscotti.
One of my favorite resources when writing about food is The New Food Lover’s Companion, which I generally use for spelling purposes, but it also serves to educate and elucidate.
For example, I looked up the word “salumi,” which I know means cured meats, but that’s about all. According to the companion, it’s a lot more complicated than that. It refers to primarily pork that has either been salt-cured, smoked or preserved in fat, and includes hundreds of meats such as capocollo, pancetta and prosciutto as well as some pâtés and cooked sausages. Who knew?
The tables were moved out of the center of the restaurant, and food stations were created, so there was lots of room for mixing and mingling.
Ken Brott, director of operations and programming for public radio station KSUT-FM, and one of the restaurant’s first employees, kept the mood jolly by serving as the disc jockey for the evening.
Previous owner-managers Jim Nichols and Gerry Schaefer were on hand to enjoy the festivities, joining Karen and Wayne Barger, the current owners. Karen Barger declined the request that she say something, preferring to chat with longtime faithful regulars such as Chuck Norton, Michael and Barbara Bell, Roger Hayes and Margie Sittner and Pam and Joe Leder.
About 120 people enjoyed the feast, making the recommended donation of at least $25 per person to the food bank. All told, they raised almost $3,000 for the cause.
Guests also dropped off four huge bins-worth of nonperishables to fill the food bank’s shelves.
In a fun touch, food bank volunteers Wendy Allen and Nancy Baker didn’t just collect the food in the bins, they set it out around the room, so folks could see cereal, pasta and cans of all kinds of food while they dined. It made everything quite cheerful.
My personal belief, after almost 15 years of writing Neighbors and attending countless fundraisers – and I do mean countless, because I’ve completely lost track – is that fundraisers that reinforce the cause’s missions are both more effective and more meaningful to the attendees.
This evening was meaningful in more than one way, as guests got the chance to enjoy a smorgasbord of delights from one of their favorite eateries while making sure at least a few families would not go to bed hungry. I call that a win/win situation.
Congratulations on your landmark anniversary.
Nights may be cold but the birthday wishes for these folks are warm indeed – Art Chase, Suzanne Chiarito, Ted Carr and Samuel Kidd.
When the ladies of the Tuesday Literary Club gather for their holiday party, it’s a time to have fun and do good.
They met at the home of Kathy Tonnessen at the beginning of December to break bread – make that a potluck array of appetizers and desserts – share some reading tips for the holidays and raise money for a good cause.
This year, the club’s Ways and Means Committee selected the Garden Project of Southwest Colorado as the Christmas philanthropy. Until this fall, I had never written about the Garden Project, which was my lapse, because finding ways to teach people to grow their own food and getting more fresh produce on our tables is a valuable mission.
The club raises money by having each member bring an item to auction, whether it’s a Christmas decoration, a home-baked goodie or a pampering item.
Generally, attendees are asked to kick in a little for the plates and wine, but this year, the co-hostesses, Tonnessen and Elvira England, picked up that cost so people would have more money to bid, and bid they did.
Chocolates from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, See’s Candies and Enstrom’s toffee? Check. A bag of rosemary-mint pampering products? Check. Jewelry, a handbag or holiday towels? Check.
Many brought something they had purchased from another nonprofit, making it a twofer, so to speak, benefiting not one, but two good causes. Nicki Massieon purchased a wreath from the San Juan Mountains Association, and yours truly bought her Waterford Christmas ornament at the Durango Children’s Chorale fundraiser last year.
England brought one of her famous pysanka, a wax-painted (a technique similar to batik) egg in the Ukrainian style featuring a poppy and snowdrop. They’re always beautiful and take a lot of time to create, and England has generously donated one or two for the last few parties. There are always a lot of oohs and aahs when she unveils the year’s creation, and this year was no exception.
By the time the evening was over, the 20 or so guests had raised about $800 for the Garden Project.
My next column won’t run until next year – I love saying that kind of thing at this time of the year – so I ask all my readers not to drink and drive this party weekend. I will be safe at home, because New Year’s Eve is when amateurs party, and I am a professional partygoer, after all. But I hope you and the other drivers on the road get home safe and sound. Because that’s the best way to start 2015.
Happy New Year!
These couples will be popping the cork on lots of champagne as they celebrate both their anniversaries and the beginning of 2015 – Kenny and Shannon Bassett and Charlie Hakes and Lynn Partridge.
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