Food Network Magazine Lounge, Thalassa, New York
October 6, 2010
When you're under the weather, only something spectacular can yank you out of those comfy pants with the elastic waist and up from under that fluffy warm blanket and toss you into the cruel harsh chilly NYC night, right? Well, all you have to do is throw some food parties at me and I'll bite. Plus, I heard somewhere that champagne is better than the flu shot. I may have heard that from myself.
I spotted Thalassa from my position on the wrong side of the street. It was a wormhole into an ocean front South Beach eatery with its hot-blue-neon-lit palm trees outside and magenta and fiery orange lights glowing inside. Immediately I was greeted with "champagne, compliments of American Airlines!" and "a vodka drink sweetened with Truvia." I also spotted martini glasses with limp green units dangling from the side, labeled with a little "Claussen" tray tent. Ack, pickletinis?! Why do you keep trying to make pickletini happen?
I wandered through the seamlessly branded restaurant: every pillow, every candle, every napkin, every light display; everything branded with Food Network logos and signs. I felt like I took the right pill and landed in Food Network world where every turn put another delicious morsel into my mouthhole. One table was littered with every crostini imaginable, but the guy I made a beeline for was the fellow grating parmesan over tiny little cups filled with some sort of pasta. It was actually Buitoni Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti and it was divine. Filet chunks, smoked salmon buffet, breads and spreads to send you to fat camp -- they were all delicious.
While sipping and snapping, I met two women who were attending as actual Food Network Magazine subcribers. I love hearing that. It's great to schmooze the advertisers that pay for your Maui tiki hut, but I love when publishers remember that advertisers wouldn't exist without reader demand. For whatever reason, the women I spoke to didn't want to share their info.
BUT another couple did. Well, not a couple, they're brother and sister. Nicole Montagnino, who works in movie production (I do believe she said something about "Men In Black III") got the invitation through her subscription and immediately thought to bring her brother, electrician Michael Montagnino. They are both confessed foodies and were happy to be part of the event. People like the Montagninos renew my enjoyment for running around at night like this, even with a schnozz full of oozage.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the vivacious and absolutely adorable Aarti Sequeira, winner of the sixth season of "The Next Food Network Star," and host of her own show, "Aarti Party," which got picked up for a second season. Her show folds a little Indian flair into American cuisine. And she's adorable , did I mention that?
I met Melissa Tinklepaugh, Journalist, and Meagan Walker, who is also of the writer/editor/journalist variety. Sunny Anderson of Food Network's "Cooking For Real" was also there - and I witnessed her flipping out over the addictive fried pickles. There was a tasty little zing in their batter. Before heading downstairs I also met Mary Ann Porch, Digital PR Consultant for Food Network. We share a mutual friend in the owl loving Morris+Kinger Katie Smith-Adair.
Downstairs was darker, more decadent. Lining one long table were serving dishes loaded up with chocolate squares. I immediately lunged at the pieces gently tickled with sea salt because nothing is as mouth-pleasing as dark chocolate and salt (except for pizza). The bitter salty sweetness is rumble-worthy. Further down the cozy room I discovered a cupcake pyramid. Chubby little cakes with thick creamy hats lounged about the table, compliments of Candace Nelson from Food Network's "Cupcake Wars." I was already reaching my cresting point with all of the pasta and dips rolling around in my belly so I couldn't force down a cupcake, but guests were snatching those things up like... cupcakes.
It was a beautiful, tempting food event, and I thank the good people at American Airlines for providing Mama with her medicine. But I had to leave, for the Michelin Guide party at The Wooly awaited.
Send invitations to firstname.lastname@example.org!