While the formal set was sweating in the open glow of the sun at the Dallas Arboretum for the Chihuly gala with hardly a sign of shade in sight, the young ones in the sundresses and the resort wear were partying in the auto courtyard At the Mansion for the TACA Party on the Green (POG). Only problemo — the only “green” was the money being raised for TACA via the auction items wine-cork pull and the raffle for the hotter-than-a-red-chili-pepper Lexus IS convertible.
Event Co-chairs Kristi and Ron Hoyl and Bill and Lisa Ogle made the decision along with the
TACA team and the Mansion staff that instead of doing indoor-outdoor or strictly indoors, they would do outdoor but not on the rolling lawn fronting Turtle Creek. Instead the Mansion crew lit the limbs of the trees and had the 20 celebrity chefs do their best cooking out in the open. As one organizer put it, “We wanted it to feel more like one event.”
The chefs were cooking up a storm throughout the courtyard. The Grape’s Brian Luscher was bound and determined to win the Golden Skillet but judges culinary blogger Brad Murano, food photographer Robert Peacock, writer/stylist Denise Gee, and Dallas/Fort Worth food editor Meda Kessler decided to award the “skillet” to Matt Raso from Nobu for his whitefish with citrus salsa.
Good thing they didn’t let the 700 guests like Jodie and Billy Payton, Christine and Peter Handy, Rebecca Cedar, Teffy Jacbos, Simona Beal, Terry Shields, Johnny Pompa, Mary and John Gill, Billy Fulmer, Isabella Novakov and Carmen Miller vote. It would have been a close call, though Mansion Chef Nicolas Blouin‘s macaroons had folks returning for second’s, third’s and you know the rest. Still another fav was that ancho-cocoa rubbed grilled quail with sage polenta, spiced capsicum jus and fig syrup created by Rosewood Tucker Point’s Chef Juan Bochenski.
And the weather cooperated to a point. At 8:30 Mother Nature started crying on the event. No, it wasn’t a downpour. It was enough of a major sprinkle that those who were allergic to rain headed indoors. Hey, indoors at the Mansion ain’t shabby.
The Lexus’s babysitter quickly moved into protective mode, putting the top and windows up. You just can’t have the auction-item-of-honor’s leather interior getting wet.
But some stalwarts like Sandy Breuss just braved the wet stuff by simply taking a pashmina wrapped around one of the chairs and cocooning herself, saying, “This is just a mist. It’s only gonna rain when we’re sleeping. You have to think positive and create your own reality.” How deep! But she was right. Within minutes, the rain was gone.
And speaking of the pashminas, those little stoles tend to bring the best and worst out in people. While some like Sandy just took one and put it to use, one gal was seen picking up every wrap that she could lay her hands on. It’ll be easy to spot her in the days ahead. She’s the one with a different pashmina for every outfit.
But not to worry. The TACA staffers quickly replaced MIA pashminas with extras, so everyone would have a chance to take one home.
Former Mansion GM Duncan Graham flew in from his new assignment in Bermuda just for old time’s sake and gal pal Holli Murray. Don’t think Duncan has abandoned Dallas. He’s keeping his home here and promises that eventually he’ll be living here permanently.
Shane Walker took a chance on the wine-cork pull and for his $25 ticket, he ended up with a magnum of Veuve Clicquot.
One guest admitted that it was a hard decision picking between the Chihuly gala and the TACA POG, but added that the Chihuly exhibition would be in place til November and POG was a one-night-only affair and didn’t require a tuxedo. His companion added, “He’s (Chihuly) sort of like Thomas Kinkade.” Well, yes and no.
Oh, and just who won that delicious Lexus? It was Julia Keith, who wasn’t even there. Seems she bought her ticket online after seeing the flyer in the program at Uptown Players.
Just shows those online chances can pay off.