Honored To Attend: The 2015 No Kid Hungry Heroes Dinner in Beverly Hills

Never prouder than when I get to stand as an ambassador with my No Kid Hungry family.

Never prouder than when I get to stand up against childhood hunger, as an ambassador for No Kid Hungry

Never prouder than when I get to stand up against childhood hunger, as an ambassador for No Kid Hungry

Tonight, I got the honor of getting to taste many a fancy food from many a fancy LA restaurant at the fancy Four Seasons in the fancy city of Beverly Hills, being seated next to many fancy people.

But the real honor was getting to join No Kid Hungry in Arkansas in April, where I had the opportunity to learn all about the efficacy & impact of breakfast in schools. I learned that when breakfast is served in schools in the classroom, visits to the nurse’s office, visits from social welfare and absences are reduced by 75%. SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT!! 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry, I can’t even function, let alone learn what I’m being told to learn and be civil. Thank you, No Kid Hungry for keeping our kids fed so that they can be fueled so that they can flourish. Love & appreciate you, Shore family & Share Our Strength.

I’m doing this for my father, who grew up in a home with teen parents in Eagletown, Oklahoma, who often went to school with his belly empty, and was helped to get that belly and mind full, by many a kind stranger, so that he could later go on to graduate high school and college, armed with a dream, to become a success story in Dallas, Texas.

Breakfast – and kind souls – makes dreams dreams come true.

Period.

Be that kind soul.

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Photo ℅ David Livingston/Getty Images

Photo ℅ David Livingston/Getty Images

 

xoxo,
Dawn

Where Foodies Meet Fundraising: No Kid Hungry Taste Of The Nation LA in Culver City

This tree could just have easily have read, "DM hearts NKH"

This tree could just have easily have read, “DM hearts NKH”

Today, I’m feeling miiiiiiiighty grateful, because yesterday, I got to eat so that kids can be fed.

I know. This sounds like a dichotomy. How can eating actually feed others?

Well, if I know anything from my collaborations with No Kid Hungry, it’s that with these guys, anything is possible.

Linds & I at Taste Of The Nation LA, benefitting my beloved No Kid Hungry

Linds & I at Taste Of The Nation LA, benefitting my beloved No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry’s Taste Of The Nation events do just that. Food-loving patrons pay for a ticket to get the opportunity to try bites from a bevy of the best chefs in their city, and 100% of the profits earned go to No Kid Hungry programs. That certainly fills me up more than any pizza could.

So, yesterday, I headed to Media Park in Culver City for Taste of The Nation LA, with my friend, Lindsey, and we ate and drank to our hearts’ content.

Gearing ourselves up to be stuffed silly!

Gearing ourselves up to be stuffed silly!

Among the hundreds of options, there were…

Delicious scallops…

Scallops and ravioli goodness from Maru in the VIP lounge

Scallops and ravioli goodness from Maru in the VIP lounge

and peach tarts from Maru in the VIP lounge.

Peach tarts, served with ice cream from Maru. This is what you get when bread pudding and peach cobbler have a baby.

Peach tarts, served with ice cream from Maru. This is what you get when bread pudding and peach cobbler have a baby.

 

Deconstructed Philly cheese rolls with the melted cheese INSIDE from The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS.

All I can say is…YUMMMMMM.

All I can say is…YUMMMMMM.

 

One of my favorite lunch spots, Mainland Poke, served up some fresh goodness to balance out the decadence.

Mainland Poke is one of my favorite lunch spots!

Mainland Poke is one of my favorite lunch spots!

Chile Con Corny from Dog Haus: Masa-Battered Smoked Queso Sausage, Haus-Made Pepper Jack Sauce & Crushed Corn Chips. Holy heck.

Chile Con Corny, from Dog Haus

Chile Con Corny, from Dog Haus

Plan Check burgers with cheese crostini, sunnyside up egg, bacon two ways (why yes, there WAS bacon jam), melted cheddar and dehydrated ketchup (think fruit leather). Amazeballs, y’all.

These divine little Plan Check burgers had the longest line by far: too much, and just enough all at the same time. Just decadent.

These divine little Plan Check burgers had the longest line by far: too much, and just enough all at the same time. Just decadent.

As for dessert? Oh, a little Moët Chandon bubbly certainly never hurt anything.

Champagne, anyone?

Champagne, anyone?

And did I mention SNOW CONE cocktails from Davey Wayne’s? Oh, I didn’t. Well, I did now. Summer in a basket, my friends.

Nothin' says summer like snow cone cocktails!

Nothin’ says summer like snow cone cocktails!

So, whatever city you’re in, do your darndest to get yourself to a Taste Of The Nation this year. I’ve been to two now, and it’s just one of the best – and most rewarding – culinary experiences you’ll ever have.

Upcoming No Kid Hungry events:  The No Kid Hungry Chef’s Cycle is coming up THIS WEEKEND! (http://chefscycle.org/) Nearly 50 chefs and restaurant industry professionals are riding bikes 300 miles to raise funds and awareness for No Kid Hungry.  The East Coast ride takes place June 7-9 and the West Coast ride happens June 14-16. 

Roll me away…

 

xoxo,
Dawn

 

Eat To Feed Others: Taste of The Nation Laguna Beach, Benefitting No Kid Hungry

At the Montage Laguna, for No Kid Hungry's Taste Of The Nation Laguna, wearing WAYF

At the Montage Laguna, for No Kid Hungry’s Taste Of The Nation Laguna, wearing WAYF

Well, I figure the best way to get y’all excited about No Kid Hungry’s Taste Of The Nation in Culver City (coming up on Sunday, June 7th) is to show you what a fun time I had at Taste of The Nation in Laguna Beach this past weekend at The Montage Laguna Beach.

Yep. Pretty much me in a  nutshell the whole night. No date? No problem. Delicious food. Wine. Friends. Good cause. And best yet? All for @NoKidHungry at @montagelaguna . Bite I'm eating right now? @FordsFillingStation Ben Ford's Seared Sea Scallop with Pea Sprout Salad, Preserved Lemon & Toasted Hazelnuts. Holy yum.

Yep. Pretty much me in a nutshell the whole night. No date? No problem. Delicious food. Wine. Friends. Good cause. And best yet? All for @NoKidHungry at @montagelaguna . Bite I’m eating right now? @FordsFillingStation Ben Ford’s Seared Sea Scallop with Pea Sprout Salad, Preserved Lemon & Toasted Hazelnuts. Holy yum.

Details are at the bottom on how you can buy your tickets to have your own foodie dreams come true, all while helping our nation’s kids get fed! But, for now, here’s my Taste of The Nation Laguna story.

As a Team No Kid Hungry member & influencer, I arrived, with a hungry belly – and a full heart – ready to eat, drink, and raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry.

On the carpet for No Kid Hungry Laguna Beach

On the carpet for No Kid Hungry Laguna Beach

First up? Delicious Riverain Cabernet and cheeses and charcuterie from The Cellar and Center Street Cheese Shop.

The perfect first course to kick off my tastebuds! Riverain Cabernet and delicious cheeses and charcuterie from The Cellar and Center Street Cheese Shop.

The perfect first course to kick off my tastebuds! Riverain Cabernet and delicious cheeses and charcuterie from The Cellar and Center Street Cheese Shop.

Next up? The vegetarian portion of the evening. And it was surprisingly downright delicious to this Texas girl!

Beefsteak's Marcel Vigneron's Smoked Bowl with Brown Rice, Quinoa, Veggies, Spicy Sauce, Avocado and Crispies

Beefsteak’s Marcel Vigneron’s Smoked Bowl with Brown Rice, Quinoa, Veggies, Spicy Sauce, Avocado and Crispies

 

Then, it was time for the flavors of the sea with the plentiful ocean-fresh seafood options! After all, our view was all ocean, there at the beautiful Montage.

The Montage's Craig Strong's Grilled Octopus and some Sauv Blanc

The Montage’s Craig Strong’s Grilled Octopus and some Sauv Blanc

 

Twenty Eight's Shirley Chung's Chilled Noodle with Uni

Twenty Eight’s Shirley Chung’s Chilled Noodle with Uni

 

My 3 favorites of the evening? THESE GUYS.

Faith & Flower's Chef Michael Hung's Yellowfin Tuna Poke, Soy Braised Konbu, and Foie Gras Panna Cotta

Faith & Flower’s Chef Michael Hung’s Yellowfin Tuna Poke, Soy Braised Konbu, and Foie Gras Panna Cotta

Chef Ben Ford's Seared Scallops with Pea Sprout Salad, Preserved Lemon and Toasted Hazelnuts

The Filling Station’s Chef Ben Ford’s Seared Scallops with Pea Sprout Salad, Preserved Lemon and Toasted Hazelnuts

Gastropub's heavenly Venus Clams with Tabasco  Butter and Reyes Blue Mousse…and beer!! The beer would be Noble Ale Works Spicoli

Gastropub’s heavenly Venus Clams with Tabasco Butter and Reyes Blue Mousse…and beer!! The beer would be Noble Ale Works Spicoli

And, lastly, the meat options!
I started out light with Alma’s Chef Ari Taymor’s Beef Tartare with Fermented Walnuts and Blackberries. It was a divine balance of savory, nutty and sweet!

Alma's Chef Ari Taymor's Beef Tartare with Fermented Walnuts and Blackberries

Alma’s Chef Ari Taymor’s Beef Tartare with Fermented Walnuts and Blackberries

The line was out of control for this one:

Chianina's Steakhouse's Chef David Coleman's Spit Roasted Whole Chianina Beef Leg Trio, California Style BBQ Sliders, House Made Corn Tortillas, and Grilled Flatbread with Pickled Ramps

Chianina’s Steakhouse’s Chef David Coleman’s Spit Roasted Whole Chianina Beef Leg Trio, California Style BBQ Sliders, House Made Corn Tortillas, and Grilled Flatbread with Pickled Ramps

And, the eating & drinking didn’t end when the event did!

With new friends, s'moresing it up around the fire pit at the VIP reception

With new friends, s’moresing it up around the fire pit at the VIP reception

I stayed on for the special VIP reception, where I got to enjoy more of what the Montage chefs had to offer, got to meet the chefs, and eat s’mores!

Clearly excited to meet Chef Ben Ford (fun fact? He's also Harrison Ford's son)

Clearly excited to meet Chef Ben Ford (fun fact? He’s also Harrison Ford’s son)

The VIP reception eats, courtesy of The Montage:

Fried Mac & cheese balls

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Fried Lobster

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Grilled Cheese & Sweet Tomato Bisque

My FAVE!!

My FAVE!!

Foie Gras Cones

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S’mores!!!

photo 5 copy 4

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Late night antics in the photobooth with new friends:

Why yes, there WERE cigars

Why yes, there WERE cigars

So, NOW, it’s your chance. Tickets for the LA Taste of The Nation event at Media Park in Culver City are on sale now! General admission tickets are $110 and VIP tickets are $160. I say, go ahead and spend that extra $50 because it’s for my FAVORITE cause, and you get all that VIP access you’re gonna want. And talk about a romantic date!! Be sure to bring your sweetheart, because what’s better than eating, drinking and being with the one you adore?

Feed the kiddos by tasting to your heart's content!

Feed the kiddos by tasting to your heart’s content!

I’ll see YOU there!

xoxo,

Dawn