The Canadian Red Cross “Red Carpet Soiree” Gala at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
Stepping on to the Red Carpet and into the Blue Water…
It was a celebration of primary colours especially with me and Sherman there… red carpet, blue water and yellow food bloggers! All jokes aside, May 12 was the 4th annual Red Carpet Soiree gala event at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar for Canadian Red Cross, one of the world’s most recognized humanitarian organizations. It was definitely a highly anticipated event I was honoured to be invited to.
Raising awareness and supporting families in need through an evening of fabulous food and people. This is what the event is about and it’s a concept I’m all for. The event featured award-winning canapés, fine wine, a silent auction, and of course a red carpet. The funds raised went to the Canadian Red Cross of the Lower Mainland Region towards their Canadian Red Cross Family Support Program.
I feel a bit spoiled, but I was actually at Blue Water Cafe enjoying the same hors d’oeuvres just a couple weeks ago for the 15th Annual Where to Dine Awards by WHERE Vancouver. It’s definitely not something I’m complaining about, but I was quite familiar with the menu, and just like my previous experience it was delectable.
Despite everyone getting dolled up and it being hosted at one of Vancouver’s finest seafood restaurants, Blue Water Cafe, the event was actually quite relaxed, casual and yet lively and social. It was a standing room of 300 guests and it was an entertaining time of mixing and mingling as well as stalking the servers bringing out the trays of seafood towers. It’s okay to admit it, we all did it at least a little bit. The tray would come down and in a matter of seconds the sashimi would be gone.
If you missed out on the swanky event this year here’s a glimpse of how the night unveiled. Also, it was about an 8:1 girl to guy ratio… so boys, start saving up for next year
**Note: Due to the nature of the event the food may not be representable of what Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar provides on a regular night. Also since it was for charity, I won’t be discussing the food in my usual detail. Some items are offered on their regular menu, but most were custom catered for the event. Photos are courtesy of “photographer” and partner in food blogging crime, Sherman!
On the table:
It was a light and creamy whipped puree of capers, cream cheese, dill, lemon juice as well as some minced red onions or shallots. I couldn’t taste the sliced grape, but I loved the sweet idea. I can’t say I was a fan of the pumpernickel bread it sat on, which was a bit woody, but the mousse was great with lots of smoked salmon flavour and aromatics.
No doubt it was a beauty with the edible gold specs. The duck was tender, buttery, savoury and cured perfectly. The crispy shell was filled with some sweet and tender beet tartar for a little crunch and there was a hint of truffle oil in the aroma.
Creamy whipped goat’s cheese topped with what I thought was just sun dried tomato on top of a flaky phyllo pastry tart. Quite classic, rich and creamy.
The onions were sweet and melt in your mouth tender, but the bread had gotten a bit soggy, and I couldn’t really taste the chanterelles.
It was light and fluffy and perhaps one of the most intense spinach frittatas I’ve had to date, but it was a bit bland. I loved the texture of the crunchy crostini and sponge like frittata, and I wouldn’t have guessed there were pine nuts, but I loved the idea.
This was the only hot hors d’oeuvre of the night and it was more like a chicken samosa. It’s filled with minced chicken and a creamy rich savoury peanut sauce for dipping.
Definitely one of my favourites of the night for the hors d’ouevres. The roast beef was tender and it sat on a crunchy crostini with a salty bite of Parmesan and a bold tang of balsamic gelée which just completed the bite.
Seafood Tower – three tiers with oysters, prawns, seared red tuna, smoked salmon, jellyfish, scallops ceviche, mussels, prawns, and assorted sushi (not shown in this photo). Photo from Red Cross Red Carpet Soiree Facebook page. It’s one of their signature menu items available in variations on their regular menu and it was one of the highlights of the night.
The smoked salmon terrine was alternating layers of smoked salmon and smoked salmon cream cheese mousse (the same Smoked Salmon Mousse from the hors d’oeuvres). They were creamy, soft, melt in your mouth pillars which gave a little richness to the seafood tower.
“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly, I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly… ” – This was definitely a Bootylicious jellyfish! I think I had at least 4 of those saucers of it. This was perhaps my favourite of the night and the best jellyfish I’ve had to date. It was amazing!
It makes that jellyfish I usually get on the cold appetizer platters at Chinese banquets really hard to ever go back to. I’ve had lots of versions of this and I like jellyfish, but I’ve never loved it as much as this one. It was springy and crunchy and the strands were thin and delicate and wonderfully coated with dressing. It was marinated incredibly well with sugar, mirin, sesame oil, and I think a bit of sweet chili sauce. It was truly a magical jellyfish.
This was probably my next favourite on the seafood tower and general favourite of the night. These creamy, soft, and buttery cubes of fresh albacore tuna just melted in your mouth with little chew. I could have used a creamier gomaae sauce to stand up to the sashimi cubes, but it was still nutty and aromatic. One of the best tuna gomaae I’ve had was from Tokachi Japanese – see here.
Assorted Sushi and Nigiri – Dungeness crab roll, vegetable roll, spicy tuna roll & dynamite roll. All rolls are available on their regular menu. Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar isn’t particularly my choice for sushi or nigiri, but the fresh seafood and house made sauces were nice.
Dungeness Crab – fresh crab meat and avocado in a egg roll 14.50
Vegetable - cucumber, asparagus, avocado, radish sprouts 8.50
Spicy Tuna – chopped albacore tuna with sesame and chili 10
Dynamite - crispy prawns, tobiko and cucumber with spicy mayonnaise 12.50
Assorted Desserts: Lemon Tart, Fruit Tart, Bergamot Shortbread Raspberry Ganache, Double Chocolate Brownies, Raspberry Chocolate Macaroons, Ginger Chocolate Macaroons, Carrot Cake with Caramelized Apple, Passion Fruit Jelly Madeleine, Spicy Tea Cake, Fresh Raspberry Trio, Chocolate Rocher (White, Dark, Milk), Opera Cake
Passion Fruit Jelly Madeleine – My favouite dessert of the night. It was a skewer of textures and flavours including a moist almond and marzipan Madeleine, intense passion fruit sugar coated jelly, a bite of fresh tangy raspberry and a whirl of creamy fluffy meringue topping to bind it all together. A perfect balance of sweet and tart and fruity and nutty ingredients.
Left to right: Passion Fruit Jelly Madeleine, Double Chocolate Brownies, Opera Cake, Ginger Chocolate Macaroons, Lemon Tart, Chocolate Rocher (White, Dark, Milk), Bergamot Shortbread Raspberry Ganache and Raspberry Chocolate Macaroons.