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I can’t believe this event was already TWO weeks ago! Time flies, y’all.
First of all — I love date nights! We haven’t had a real date night in ages! So it was just nice to just get out of the house and spend time talking to each other (as opposed to talking at each other about Ari).
But it was better than last year. Which I wasn’t sure was even possible until it happened!
We went straight to the VIP lounge after checking in.
Here’s what made this years VIP lounge even better than last years:
- It was open for the duration of the event. Last year the VIP lounge was only open for a couple of hours. This year? 5:30-9PM!
- A VIP bar with signature drinks. I didn’t expect a wine event to have signature mixed drinks, but they did. And they were delicious!
- There were fewer servers with hors d’oeuvres. But also a better spread at the buffet section (which included prime rib and a full ice cream sundae bar!). All of the catered food was delicious.
- More seating available. Last year I remember trying to juggle my wine glass and a big plate of food on a teeny table top. Not a problem at all this year!
After indulging in a chair massage in the VIP lounge, we ventured into the general admission room.
There were 18 restaurants/caterers and I literally lost count of the wine vendors. But I’m fairly certain I tried everything — well, at least all of the food. There was a LOT of wine! And if I had tried all of it, I would have been comatose.
I, of course, ate my dessert first! Salvino Dolci Bakery was back again with her amazing cupcakes, including a gingerbread Great Lakes Christmas Ale confection. Of course I didn’t manage to get a single picture of her gorgeous cupcakes (I was too busy eating them!).
In regards to the wine:
I think I tasted every Cab/Cab-blend that was there. And the wine vendors were so helpful to choose the right wine to try (which, let’s be honest, isn’t too difficult considering I would tell them all I needed was a dry red).
Other items of note:
- Attendance this year was noticeably more limited than the previous year. And I’ve got to say, that was an improvement. In 2013 we waited around a LOT for wine and for food. This year was much more intimate. There were fewer patrons, fewer vendors, but much, much, more relaxed and fun. We were able to visit each vendor multiple times; we were able to make conversation with them and really get to know their restaurant; and we were able to find a table to pause and eat at.
- The bartenders (and the police officer! ha!!) in the VIP lounge were so sweet and so kind! They stood there waiting on all of us all night, so Chad & I brought them lots of food goodies that they were missing from the main room (sorry, Alicia! I’m not certain that was in the ‘rules’ but they were totally grateful!).
- It was fun to run talk to restaurants/caterers one-year after ‘meeting’ for the first time last year. Chad & I love to support local restaurants/bakers and it was fun that some of them remembered us from conversations at last years’ event.