If you are not familiar with Foodbuzz and you are a food blogger, you really need to become familiar with them.  Foodbuzz is an online community of foodies from around the world.  The company provides a platform where one can  grow their community and make money while doing so.  The staff over at Foodbuzz is young, vibrant, complex foodies and very fun to spend time with.  Even though we have only participated in a couple events, every time we do, we leave the experience elated.  You can read more about the company here.

Spruce Dinner 1009Lenny & Chef John

Last night we were invited to our first community dinner.  We have heard about these dinners but have not had the pleasure of experiencing one.  It was so nice to finally be able to attend one and to network with foodies from our immediate area.  This particular event was at the lovely restaurant Spruce.  Spruce serves contemporary American cuisine using only the finest local and organic ingredients – right up our alley!  Chef and Partner Mark Sullivan was brilliant in the kitchen and every dish was amazing, after all how can one go wrong with duck fat potatoes!  I love when I come across a chef who is not “classically” trained and who is a creator of his domain, this is Chef Sullivan!

The host for this event Steve Hosmer from Black Box Wines as well as Constellation Wines U.S. and Current Lifestyle Marketing.   I have to admit we have not tried box wine at our home and I was definitely interested that “box wines” were being brought into Spruce.  Back in 2003 the founder of Black Box wines, brought the concept over to the US, after traveling through Europe, where he discovered premium quality box wines.  Today they produce high end box wines using grapes from some of the finest vineyards around the world.  One interesting fact for us was that the quality is assured by the bag in the box packaging, which keeps the wines fresh for at least four weeks after opening;   no more finishing the entire bottle because you don’t want it to go bad!  We were pleasantly surprised by the high caliber of each wine, in particular we really enjoyed the 2008 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and the 2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon.  For more information on Steve and the Academy of Wine please click here.

The menu and parings for the evening were as follows (as well as photos, see below):

Beet and Pear Salad with Aged Goat’s Milk Cheese, Walnut Vinaigrette

2008 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

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Roasted Halibut with Fennel, Chanterelles, Fennel Fumet

2008 Monterey County Chardonnay

2008 Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay

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Grilled Bavette Steak with Duck Fat Potatoes, Bordelaise

2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon

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Farmstead Cheese

2007 Central Coast Shiraz

For a slide-show of the evening, eye treats here.