There was more to "sip" and eat at this year's Sip Around the World fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee on Friday night at Memphis Botanic Garden.
A VIP tent featured 11 types of champagne ranging from $55 to $330. Food was from John Bragg, chef/owner of Circa. Last year, the party featured five types of champagne.
New this year was a food-and-wine pairing tent, which featured food from BlueFin Edge Cuisine and Lounge and Just for Lunch catering.
Another new attraction was a "wine pull." Guests chose a number for a wrapped bottle of wine. The wine pull featured 96 bottles of wine, which ranged from $10 to $100. Jeanne Fioranelli Fortney was one of the lucky players; she got a $97 bottle of Au Bon Climat Rincon Tally pinot noir, which was the same wine served at the recent James Beard dinner in New York prepared by Felicia Willett, chef/owner of Felicia Suzanne's restaurant.
More than 300 wines from more than 100 wineries were included at this year's event, said Jack Aaron, president and CEO of Athens Distributing Co., which annually provides the vino.
Meat Me in Memphis
Erling Jensen whipped up a foie gras and bologna terrine for Thursday night's Meat Me in Memphis fundraiser for the Monogram Loves Kids Foundation. The party was the inaugural event for the new Beale Street Landing at the foot of Beale.
Asked if he was planning to serve the dish at Erling Jensen: The Restaurant, Erling said, "I don't think so."
Erling was one of 14 chefs who created dishes using Monogram Foods meat products, which include King Cotton bacon, sausage and bologna. "If it's for a good cause, you'll do anything," Erling said.
When he heard about Erling's dish, philosophical Memphis transplant Jeff Krida, who attended with Deborah Flautt, said, "Any place you can get barbecued spinach, you can get bologna foie gras."
Guests were given a copy of "Soul 'n Sausage: Recipes from Memphis' Finest Chefs," which included recipes for the party food, including the bologna and foie gras terrine.
Performing at the event were the Brian "Breeze" Cayollo Duo, The Hot Shots, Stax Music Academy, New Ballet Ensemble and the Watoto de Afrika dancers. The party was the first opportunity for the public to see the Beale Street Landing project, which will open in spring 2013.
The Phoenix Club held its first Bacchanalia fundraiser for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis Friday night at 89 S. Front.
Teams of people brought three bottles of the same pinot noir. Two bottles from each team were used in a tasting that ran throughout the evening. The other bottles were put in brown paper bags. The teams that brought the highest-ranked and lowest-ranked wines at the end of the tasting got the bottles in the paper bags. More than 60 teams participated.
More than 150 people attended, and $3,000 was raised, said Megan Klein, Boys and Girls Clubs vice president of resource development. Food was from the Boys and Girls Club Technical Training Center and The Peabody. Jay Hazen was event chairman. Rebecca Fowler is Boys and Girls Clubs development specialist.
Robbie Britt, one of the founders of Friday night's Dirty Dozen Halloween party, said, "I'm getting torn up tonight."
He wasn't talking about downing too many of the party's legendary Jell-O shooters; he meant his Frankenstein costume was coming apart. Meghan Brown, who was with him, went as "The Bride of Frankenstein" a.k.a. Elsa Lanchester at the Church Health Center fundraiser at Earnestine & Hazel's.
The Dirty Dozen Halloween party is an annual event given by people who live in the South Main District. About 250 attended, and $1,400 was raised at this year's party, Robbie said. Kelly Kraisinger with Church Health Center was on hand.
John Gleeson, who traveled from Chicago to Memphis for the party, raised eyebrows at O'Hare International Airport when he showed up carrying his giant wolf costume in a clear plastic bag. "TSA (Transportation Security Administration) asked if I was a team mascot," he said. "I told them I was just a nerd."
When John said he was going to a Halloween party in Memphis, the official said, "Awesome."