Why I Gained Five Pounds for a Good Cause

 Walking into the California Auto Museum in Sacramento where the 9th Annual Celebrity Chef Challenge took place was a bit overwhelming to say the least. Not only do you see quite a few beautiful classically restored cars, but a warehouse full of tables set up of vendors pouring wine, beer, and an assortment of a culinary excellence to nosh on all night long!

The event is put on by a non-profit organization called "InAlliance" that assists adults with developmental disabilities with job placements, employee training, and the facilitation necessary for integrated employment and community living,. This fundraising event also holds a culinary contest between six local chiefs who have 45 minutes to make edible masterpieces, and a Cake War contest between three talented pastry chefs.

At the risk of being rolled out of the event on a dolly due to the over indulgence of food and beer digested, I could only stop at a few vendors and report my delicious findings. Yes, I am quite aware that the topic of this blog is running, however, what pairs best with any runner after a big race? The perfect pint of beer of course! And as I have  a bottomless pit, I will also include some delicious delectibles. Here is a full listing of vendors represented at the Celebrity Chef Challenge event that I was not able to write on; Vendors.

Hoppy Brewing Company - Founded in 1991 is a local to Sacramento microbrewery providing award winning beers. I tasted the Hoppy Amber which was certainly “Hoppy.” A bit of a bite, but smooth, and on the lighter side. Not only did I really enjoy the taste of this beer, but found out that The Hoppy Brewing Company also sponsors a local trail race in the Auburn Area called "Blood Sweat And Beers!" Every runner that crosses the finish line receives two free beers. I had no idea this race existed and I'm tempted to run in it come the end of July!

Sudwerk - It wasn’t the beer label that drew me in like a moth to the bright light, but the cute guy doing the pouring. I have always been a sucker for a blue eyed man. Attempting to look past his boyish good looks, I did manage to have a pint of the Pilsner. Just the way I like it; mellow with a touch of sass! Yes - I’m still talking about the beer! This malty hop also held a very fragrant flavor. Celebrating the 21st anniversary, this Davis, Ca beer continues to win awards including the 2010 Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival. I regret not being able to try the Hefeweizen in which I heard was also quite the crowd pleaser!

Firestone Walker Brewing Company - Located right in the middle of wine country in Paso Robles you will find no grapes here, but beers brewed in traditional oak barrels to provide a mellow, smooth taste. I tasted the Pale Ale which was malty with hints of caramel - Delicious! I also tried the Solace. A seasonal Hefeweizen that is a bit tangy and slightly sour, but yummy all the same. Award winning for being the #1 mid-sized brewery in the world.

Wine for Humanity - I will confess, this was the only winery that I was able to stop by. So many wines so little time. The cool thing about these folks is if you book a private tasting in your home, they give the proceeds to a charity of your choice. Not only are they local to the Sacramento area, but national. They represent wines from Italy, France, and New Zealand, just to name a few.

Future spokesperson perhaps? ;)
Gekkeikan Sake USA - It’s no secret that I love sake. Cold, hot, in cocktail form, sparkling, you name it! The vendors representing  Gekkeikan  even remembered me from last year’s event. How cool is that? With a sake brewing facility out in Folsom Ca, to meet the increased demand of sake lovers such as myself here in the states, the Gekkeikan sake is my favorite. I stopped by their table more than once throughout the evening to get refills. My favorite was the Black and Gold Sake which can be served warm or cold. It holds a full bodied taste with a slight hint of flowers, but ask me which type of flower and I will kindly stare blankly. Don’t let my description deceive you though, this 15.6% alc/vol certainly packs a punch. I look forward to making a trip out to Folsom to the Gekkeikan tasting room at some point this summer!

Chabot Cheese was also present at the event providing this quesa puta with an unlimited array of cheeses to get me fat. My favorite by far was Habanero cheese which is spicy, sharp, flavorful and everything I could have asked for in a cheese. Based out of New York, you can find this Co-op brand cheese at a grocery store near you. Just plug in your zip code. If you’re a cheese lover like me I highly recommend Chabot if you haven’t tried them already.

Posing with the Jessica Bean and Mama Bean
Overall this was a great event and a great time had by all! Overeating and drinking is certainly an understatement though, as some guests forgot to drink water and were able to provide the drunk entertainment of the night. None of my friends of course, while we did enjoy ourselves, we were more than happy to watch these guests make a mockery out of themselves. Major props goes out to Jessica Bean who has been coordinating the event for the last four years. Every year she seems to outdo herself making the event bigger and better than ever before. So while I perhaps did over indulge in eating far too much, I left the event with some new beers to try and a greater appreciation of those who create culinary magic everyday for us to enjoy and savor.

Making a cake for the Cake War competition
Moriah's Marvelous Cakes won 1st place

2nd Place Winner - So cool the bottle is made of sugar - Insane!
3rd Place Cake Winner - Reminds me of the Little Mermaid w/ the crab coming out of the pot.
I know nothing about cars but they sure are pretty to look at!

More cars at The California Auto Museum

Good idea/Bad idea - Taking cupcakes home from The Cupcake Craving

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