Bloggers can be a wacky bunch. A wacky bunch with big hearts. Like my online pal from Seattle who once hosted a virtual New Year’s Eve party. From across the country, and beyond, a group of us conjured up decorations, games, and sundry contributions on our blogs (the host’s animated .gif of a virtual vodka fountain was one my favorites). We whiled away the evening visiting each other’s “party rooms,” cracking jokes, exchanging comments, and generally having a lot more fun than I’ve ever had at a real-life New Year’s Eve party. Better yet, we each came up with a scheme for welcoming the upcoming year on a karmically good note by making a donation to a local charity. Like many of my friends, I pledged a certain amount of money per comment left on my blog that weekend. My contribution, a virtual morning-after brunch, racked up so many comments that I made a tidy (for me) donation to the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank, a tradition I now look forward to greeting each new year with.
Food bloggers Laura and David Arnold of Cincinnati Nomerati are flipping things around. When her husband David’s former job took him out of town once a month, Laura took advantage of the quiet time by focusing her culinary imagination and considerable artistic talents on preparing themed welcome-home dinners. Laura served up her most recent – with a “trashy to classy” menu featuring dishes like deviled quail eggs, truffled tater tots, and quite possibly the fanciest Philly cheesesteaks ON EARTH – at a “restaurant of the mind” she dubbed The Golden Lawnchair, complete with pink flamingo party favors. Go check out her post about it. I'll wait.
Photo by Cincinnati Nomerati
Photo by Cincinnati Nomerati
After drooling over the photos, as well as the menu, Nomerati readers couldn’t help but exclaim they’d like to eat at The Golden Lawnchair too. With the help of chef/owner Josh Campbell, who is turning over his OTR restaurant Mayberry to the effort, The Golden Lawnchair will become a reality next Sunday night, Nov. 18.
If you thought simply bringing this fantasy to life would be enough for Laura, you’d be wrong. She decided to turn the event into a benefit for the Freestore Foodbank and has been going full throttle to make this one of the most enticing benefits the city has ever seen. Especially for those of us who aren’t in a position to fork over several hundred bucks for a ticket to a gala, and wouldn’t want to dress up in tuxes and gowns if we could.
So how can you get in on this, and what can you look forward to? I’m pitching in behind the scenes and can share these details.
Although the first 48 pairs of dinner tickets (which include After Party admission) sold out in less than 48 hours on the Golden Lawnchair Indiegogo site, there is one last pair being auctioned off here on Ebay! The auction will run until the night before the event.
Miss out on the dinner portion of the evening? No worries. The After Party runs 9:00-? and cover is just $15/person. Weather permitting, there will be a band (or two). And plenty of prizes available.
Oh, the prizes! This is really going to be a “Locals Supporting Locals” event. We’ve received generous and creative contributions, from farmers to food trucks to fine dining establishments, as well as many of the arts organizations and other civic institutions that make Cincinnati great. Available via raffle ($5/ticket), bingo, or silent auction as the evening unfolds, you can come away with gift certificates, one-of-a-kind experiences, and gift baskets from some of Cincy’s best.
A few special perks have already been claimed on the Golden Lawnchair website, including the Nicola’s Limoncello lesson (the lucky winner gets to take a batch home with them) and the fabulous License to Chill package from Dojo Gelato – the winner will work with Dojo founder Michael Christner to create and name their very own gelato flavor, as well as receiving two pans of their custom gelato to take home. If you weren’t the lucky person to claim that perk, Dojo will be featuring the special flavor for a week at their Findlay Market shop. Stop in for a taste, because Dojo will be donating all proceeds to the Freestore Foodbank!
Still up for grabs on the website (as of this writing) are a private pizza lesson for two from A Tavola.
And a private cocktail lesson by the Cincinnati’s reigning mixology maven, Molly Wellman, of Japp's, Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar, and a cocktail cookbook coming in 2013.
What else is in store?
Gift certificate plus opportunity to have a “Dog of the Day” named after you at Senate
Two passes to an Taste the World at Findlay Market tour by Daisy Mae’s and Cincinnati Food Tours
Two seats to an upcoming “underground” dinner by Please
Gift basket from Carriage House Farm
Gift basket from Napoleon Ridge Farm
Gift basket from The Party Source
Picnic basket from Local 127
Two Lunch Trays from Jean-Robert’s Table
But wait, there's more. Gift cards and passes from:
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
1215 Wine and Coffee Bar
Bouquet Restaurant + Wine Bar
Moerlein Lager House
Park + Vine
Taste of Belgium
Tavern Restaurant Group
Tom + Chee
The C’est Cheese food truck
The EAT mobile food truck
New Orleans to Go (gift certificate good at either their food truck or their new bistro at 10921 Reed Hartman)
The Taco Azul food truck
Barrio Tequileria – soon-to-open brick-and-mortar in Northside by the Taco Azul folks
And still more, including a bike to be raffled off at the After Party!
Head on over to Ebay now to bid on that last pair of dinner tickets, or make plans to attend the 9:00 p.m. After Party next Sunday night at Mayberry, because you don't want to just imagine what this night will be like. You'll want to be there!
Stay up to date with the Golden Lawnchair:
Golden Lawnchair indiegogo site
Golden Lawnchair on facebook
Golden Lawnchair on twitter
Ebay auction for the last 2 Golden Lawnchair dinner tickets (includes admission to the After Party)
Spread the word and support the Freestore Foodbank!