Here’s what we ate (and drank) in the first hour: strawberry
crème tart, fried zucchini flower moo chu with pickled summer
flower in rice crepe, green chile mac-and-cheese with tortilla
crumbs, caramel crème sandwich, baked brie pops with strawberry
coulis, mini cannoli cupcakes, drip bar iced coffee, pecan
butterscotch bar, mac-and-cheese squares, maple buttercream
banana cupcake, buttermilk gazpacho, rice balls, caramel
buttercream chocolate cupcake, truffled robiola pizza—and two
cryogenically chilled greyhounds.
Here’s what we had to do during the second hour: sit down.
Fortunately, there was an abundance of seating overlooking the
Hudson River as more than 2,300 guests crowded Pier 54 for the
Center’s Garden Party 27. With a record number of fifty
restaurants participating in the only LGBT tasting evening in
the entire country, this year’s Garden Party was the ne plus
ultra of al fresco dining—and a complete death knell to diets
all over the city.
Started in 1984, the Garden Party is the Monday night event of
NYC Pride week and the annual fundraiser for the largest LGBT
community center on the East coast. More than 6,000 LGBT people
visit the Center weekly, with more than 300 groups meeting at
the beloved Village institution. The Center is home to a rainbow
coalition of organizations from the Youth Pride Chorus to Center
Families, as well as the largest LGBT job fair in the
Northeast—and the proceeds from the Garden Party enable the
Center to remain open 365 days a year.
And with a silent auction featuring a Lunch for Four at Food
Network, gourmet food baskets and—sit down for this—a signed
script by the cast of Glee, there was plenty of reason to break
away from the food (for at least thirty seconds) to affix your
signature to a bid.
Here’s who else came out to support the Center (and to mingle at
the open vodka bar sponsored by Ketel One): nightlife impresario
Mark Nelson, international recording star Ari Gold, politicos
such as Scott Stringer and Gerrold Nadler—and a sea of the most
gorgeously attired peacocks, preening about in seersucker,
linen, and gingham in shades as delectable as the food on the
serving trays: purple and pink, lemon yellow and orange sorbet.
This was a crowd that loves to dress nearly as much as it loves
Here’s what we missed eating (somehow)—and what we’re already
dreaming about for Garden Party 28: housemade tofu with wari
joyu, chilled tomato and watermelon soup, buttercream icing
shots (!!!), ricotta bread, mozzarella carrozza, crispy papadum,
taro spring rolls… These are food fantasies to fuel the months
ahead—until it’s time for Garden Party 28, in 2011. Mark your
calendars (and start dieting) now: the Monday evening of Pride
week. Kick off Pride with the culinary event of the NYC Pride
calendar—and help the Center to help the community of which we
are all a part.