2015 Gasparilla Community Fund Charity Dinner at Council Oak, Seminole Hard Rock

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
It's Gasparilla time!! For those who don't live in Tampa are likely not aware of what Gasparilla is. You can read up on it by clicking here. We take our pirates very seriously here in Tampa Bay. Gasparilla is a month long celebration which celebrates the legend of Jose Gaspar. We have multiple events throughout January and February including the Gasparilla parade and Gasparilla night parade. In other words - it's a month long excuse to party like a pirate.

There is much more to Gasparilla than street parties. The city of Tampa raises money for multiple charities, giving back to our community. Last week, I had the honor to attend the 2015 Gasparilla Community Fund Charity Dinner at Council Oak, Seminole Hard Rock. The photos in my post were provided by Seminole Hard Rock but I took plenty, which you can check out on my Instagram account.
The evening was hosted by Sissy Biggers from the CBS Early Show and had a packed house. Funds from the dinner benefited Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's Community Fund, established to benefit our community in times of need.  Each of the 4 courses had a wine pairing, hand selected by Chalone Estates winemaker Robert Cook. Special guests included Ye Mystic Krewe Captain of the parade Rex Farrior, Chicago Cubs Head Coach (former Tampa Bay Rays) Joe Maddon, Wine expert from Chalone Vineyard Estates Robert Cook and Sgt. Faris, Gasparilla parades Co-Grand Marshal. The Chefs of the evening were: Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Executive Chef Bill Gideon, Council Oak Steaks & eafood Head Chef Michael Balles and Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Pastry Chef Alon Gontowski.
Sissy Biggers with Executive Chef Bill Gideon
Our first course was Rustic Terrine of Lobster with Tapenade Boursin. When I saw this on the menu, my curiosity was intrigued. Boursin with Lobster? Who would have ever thought! The flavors worked excellent together.
Rustic Terrine of Lobster
Our second course was Pasta Carbonara but it was unlike any pasta carbonara I've ever seen. Homemade pasta over a pork cheek cake, fried quail egg and shaved black truffle. I inhaled this dish without breathing.
Pasta Carbonara
The third and main course was a massive Pastrami Spiced Bone in Prime Rib. Council Oak dry ages all of their beef in house and it is our favorite restaurant in all of Tampa. You can read about our first visit there by clicking here. My husband Gabe literally ate his entire steak in the matter of 5 minutes and sat there staring at mine like he was a caveman. The pastrami rub on this steak was stellar.
Pastrami Rubbed Prime Rib
When it was time for the dessert course, we learned that Food Network Sweet Genius 2012 winner Alon Gontowski was Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Pastry Chef. When we were presented with the Dark Chocolate Crunch Bar garnished with Mocha meringue and cherry compote, our jaws dropped. I've never ate something this beautiful - and it was equally as delicious.
Dark Chocolate Crunch Bar
It was an incredible night for an amazing benefit. Make sure you follow Seminole Hard Rock Tampa on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Online for upcoming events and activities.

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