Friday, November 13, 2015

Party Pics - shots from this year's super successful TOCA

The 7th Annual Taste of Cape Ann was, without question, the biggest, best foodie fest north of Boston yet. Proceeds benefit Cape Ann YMCA's Service Trips and Initiatives for Teens.  My daughter is a Teen Leader now. My nephews were before her. I've been involved since the first year, when my now 20 year old nephew, Dominic went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with the group. This is an important event for great kids doing important work. This year we broke another record. Over 300 guests attended and dined on the most interesting mix of local cuisine we've had since it all began. At a family friendly ticket price of only $25 a head, we made over $8,500.
Mile Marker 1 Crab Cake BLTs and Sea Glass at Castle Manor Duck Confit Arancini
Newcomer Sea Glass at Castle Manor, who's chef Nick Peters was a season 14 Hell's Kitchen contender, making it to #5 before he got cut, went big with Duck Confit and Butternut Squash Arancini,  Lobster Bisque and Pumpkin Munchkins with creme Anglais. 

Alchemy Bistro Picnic Board, Sea Glass Pumpkin Munchkins and Latitude 43 California Rolls
Also new this year was Manchester-by-the-sea culinary hot spot, Foreign Affairs Bistro who came in big with Bluefin Pate Crostini. Magnolia 525 Tavern was also a first timer. Their Roasted Free Range Chicken, root veggies and kale did not disappoint. And I hear the Amaretto Spice Cake was the bomb - I never got back for sweets. Speaking of sweets, Cake Ann joined us, as well, and man oh man am I glad she did. If you missed her at the Taste, don't cry. She's opening her own space in The Common soon.
Carson afKlintenberg, the ladies of Emerson Inn, Katrina's crew, Tim Burton and Manny Lapa from Azorean and Caroline Thompson and Janet Downey pouring vino

New in the hydration department this year was Wachusset Brewing with their Boston sports inspired cans of solid local liquid and Emory Vodka, who created 4 different signature cocktails from their locally made spirits.
My parents, Jerry and Pattie Goulart with my baby girl, Julia, a Leader, my sister, Jillian Amero, Margo Barry, sister Kristen and nephew/former Y Leader, Zachary Nicastro, Lisa Carlson and Greta Bagshaw and my hubby, Ryan Amero with Uncle Vinny Galise

Changes to promotion this year included leaking the menus as chefs committed their contributions, which I think resulted in a noticeable leap towards haute cuisine in the overall menus. The competitive nature of chefs seemed to kick a little bit of "Bring it On" into the scene and with each menu announced came another, more elevated announcement. 
Vinny Galise with Kathy Low, Jenn and Tom Fernandes, Lisa Carlson and Tory Bagshaw, Jerry and Pattie Goulart, Kristen and Zak Nicastro, Rick Hemeon

Regulars like Mile MarkeMile Marker 1 upped their game with the addition of Pain Killer cocktails to their food offerings and Jalapenos bringing Dos Equis to wash down terrific tamales. The general buzz was that this was the night of the culinary A GAME, but I think the pictures speak for themselves.

My sister, Jill Amero, Nick from Sea Glass, Inga and Susan from Cake Ann, Jalapenos crew, myself and Rick Doucette, Liz O'connell at the Emory Vodka station, TJ Peckham with Wachusett, The 525 crew, Classic Cooks and Mojo Cold Brew
This is my favorite non-holiday event of the year, especially now that I'm out of the foodie marketing business. My agency job doesn't require photographing sushi or tasting wine, so this is a project I anticipate like Christmas. Nothing brings me more joy than organizing and networking, securing restaurants and promoting the event in social and in the press and I will do it FOREVER if they'll let me. And I'm good at it. At least, it seems that way. And with YMCA Executive Director and friend, Rick Doucette as my event partner, it's a piece of cake!

The Fernandes, Jen and Tom, parents of Jack, a leader and Joe Lioacano from Mile Marker 1 at the end of the night

Big, giant, heartfelt THANK YOU to all the restaurants, spirits companies and raffle donors who made last night the BEST Taste of  Cape Ann yet. Until next year...
7 Seas Whale Watch​
 525 Tavern
Alchemy Gloucester
Atlantic Salt works​ 
Azorean Restaurant
Beach Gourmet
Cake Ann
Cape Ann Brewing
Classic Cooks

Duckworth's Bistrot​
Emory Vodka

Elizabeth Grady Salon
Essex River Cruises and Charters​

Foreign Affairs Wine Bar & Bistro Grand cafe Emerson Inn
Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant
JennyCakes Bakery

Laurie Lufkin
Lobsta Land
Mile Marker One
Mojo Cold Brew Coffee

Railroad Ave Liquors
Seabreeze Liquors
Seaport Grille
Stones Pub & Eatery

Skydive New England​ ​
Schooner Thomas E Lannon
Virgilio's Italian Bakery​
Wachusett Brewing Company 
Wally's Blackburn Bistro

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