On Saturday, I was up super early to get in my 12 mile training run before everyone came alive. It went ok, but more on that tomorrow. I’m sure your waiting on the edge of your seat to hear how Saturday night turned out, so let’s get started.
To recap, Nana, Mom, Mitch, Kelly and I attended Robert Irvine’s Dinner Impossible at Bally’s at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. It was phenomenal – the food, wine, and entertainment .. aka .. the one and only Robert Irvine. He approached my Nana early on in the evening and ended up inviting her to his private event! An invitation only dinner at Harrah’s. We exchanged information with the Director of PR and spent most of Saturday waiting on the edge of our seats – at least we had a good view while waiting …
Finally, late in the afternoon, we received the best call ever – instructions for the night ahead! Nana could not have been any more excited. She spoke on the phone to a lot of our relatives and said numerous times, “Boy! You’d think I was a celebrity with how many people have been calling me!” It was great to see how excited she was. To make the night even better, my cousin Amy came down to attend the event. That may have just made Nana’s night even more spectacular.
We were told that the event was hosted in the main ballroom in Harrah’s, and that they were expecting about 1,000 people – all we needed to do was to find the right person to pick up the tickets – VIP status I guess .. thanks Robert!
We quickly got ready, took a few pictures and were on our way!
The women all ready to go!
After navigating our way through the casino, I found the right woman and introduced my Nana. The woman immediately grabbed our little packet and explained to Nana that she was Robert’s guest for the night and that we were seated front and center so he could see us – I wish I snapped a pic of Nana’s face when she heard this. She was overjoyed to hear that and couldn’t wait to enter the room – she even grabbed a glass of wine to celebrate!
Once the clock struck 7, the doors to the ballroom opened up. The women was decorated wonderfully, and like the woman said, our table was definitely front and center!
We were the first ones at our table, so we picked the best seats facing the stage – properly positioning Nana with her good ear toward the stage
When we sat down, the first course was ready for us. A simple salad with fresh asparagus (no worries, I put the cheese to the side )
And of course a glass of yummy white wine – since it is a food and WINE festival after all
Once everyone was seated, the MC introduced the hosts for the night, Robert Irvine and … wait for it ….. PAULA DEEN! Yes, you’re reading that right – we were so shocked and happy
She looks fabulous and is a drop dead gorgeous woman – super funny too! She brought her hubby Michael along for the night :)
After all the commotion, Robert Irvine got the night started and made us get out of our seats. We had to put our hands in the air and basically go crazy once he said so – the crowd had a few issues with this, so he did it a few more times – one time he pointed to me and called me “Blondie” - love, made my night
He then got started with the first cooking demo (each of the 7 courses were preceded by a cooking demonstration from chef’s from well known restaurants like Rao’s or ones in Las Vegas).
The crowd was so intrigued with Paula Deen (who moseyed through the crowd the whole evening until she had to leave) that they were not really focusing on the demonstration. Robert Irvine did his best to focus their attention, but some of the crowd just remained super rude (for the majority of the night that is…).
Once the demonstration was over, we were served a fabulous Seafood Salad
Paula joined Robert for the next demonstration since the recipe was her own – a really yummy Crabcake with a spicy cream
Next, came the best part of the night, the meatballs! A fabulous italian favorite made the old fashioned way – Nana loved this demo since the chef’s explanation of old world italian tradition “hit the nail on the head.” Brought Nana back to her childhood!
They were served with fresh ricotta and a side salad for the table. Later, the chef sent around bread dipped in GRAVY(not sauce) for the few front tables to try – Nana was in heaven.
So Much Fun!
Next up: The scallop over lobster succotash. This, my friends, was one good dish – so different and delicious! Robert told us it was his favorite of the night!
Since the main course was up next, Paula said farewell to the audience and headed to her next event. Robert Irvine just took a break while we enjoyed the food. (I hope he had a chance to eat on his break!)
Beef tenderloin with gorgonzola polenta and vegetables made up the main course.
I’m not a huge beef fan, but this was pretty good – I stayed away from the polenta because I knew I’d rather an upset stomach from dessert The veggies were so yummy tho!
Like I said earlier, the audience pretty much talked the entire time and neglected to pay attention to Robert and the chefs. They were extremely rude in my opinion – it was hard to hear Robert sometimes .. and he had a mic! O well, we still paid attention and enjoyed ourselves!
For the dessert course, Robert introduced the pastry chef, Carlos, from the Caesar’s hotel in Las Vegas. He put together a decadent chocolate layered dessert and a panna cotta with shaved melon and citrus.
Deliciousness!I took my time eating the chocolate one and finished every last bite – amazing
Although the audience was rather rude, we still had a great night! Nana made a friend and Paula ripped open Robert Irvine’s shirt – priceless. Oh! And his gorgeous wife, Gail, demonstrated how she body slams him
Nana thoroughly enjoyed herself and we all loved being together experiencing this great event.
Thank you, Robert Irvine, for inviting my Nana to your private event and making her so happy and excited! You are a great person and do wonderful things for those in need. You are not only my idol when it comes to cooking, but you also inspire me to help others whenever I can. I’m so glad I was able to get tickets for Friday’s dinner – I looked forward to it ever since I received the confirmation e-mail. Now, I’m already looking forward to next year – hoping you come back again that is!
I couldn’t have asked for a better way to de-stress after 5 weeks of Anatomy and Physiology class. Just seeing how excited my Nana was made the weekend even better. Robert Irvine is the most “real” celebrity you will ever meet and is true to his fans. He is very personable and always tells you how it is (love that!). He even answers if you tweet at him! – I get excited whenever I see a response
Well, that definitely was a great ending to the weekend. If you have every thought about attending a food and wine festival, the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival is a great one to go to!
I can’t believe how fast the weekend flew by! At least I can say it was a fabulous one
Off to bed since I head into work super early tomorrow (5:30am!)!