Sunday, March 27

MSU Museum Wine Tasting Benefit 2011

The 16th annual wine tasting fund raiser benefiting MSU Museum was held this past Friday, March 25th, at Kellogg Center. It was another successful event with a great turnout. My friends and I had a very nice time exploring and discovering new wines to add to our favorite lists.

The evening featured an amazing selection of wines - over 20 tables offering close to 200 wines from more than 20 producers!

There was live music performance to entertain attendees while sampling their wines and also enjoying a selection of appetizers.

Also, at the venue, MSU Museum featured some of the masks from their new special exhibition, "MASK: Secrets and Revelations" - opening since last month, and will run through January 2012.

I have been attending this annual fund raiser for the past few years. It's just wonderful to always see a big turnout. People enjoy getting to experience a wide variety of wines and discover what they like without having to buy the whole bottle. It is also a great learning experience since vendors and representatives from the various wine companies are there to answer questions about the wine varieties. And on top of those, attendees can feel good leaving an event knowing that the fund that are raised that evening go to a whole range of MSU Museum programs.

Thursday, March 17

Friday, March 11

St. George Island (2)

Continued from St. George Island (1),
our mid-winter break trip to Florida

Breakfast on the deck overlooking the beautiful beach,
with a cute friend.

Out and about shopping in Apalachicola :)

Going to the beach!

The boys making hobo dinner.

The next day, we went to Wakulla Springs State Park.

Revisiting Cafe' con Leche for the fantastic Spicy Kumquat Marmalade.
It was a hit during our happy hour later that evening...

What we found walking along the beach...

They are very cool and adorable!

It was a great trip, we love every second of it!

Saturday, March 5

That Place Off 98 - Apalachicola

I went to this seafood restaurant in downtown Apalachicola during our St. George Island Vacation -- and Love It! The place is well known and liked by locals and tourists, for their great food - especially oysters and seafood dishes.

Cozy and very welcoming place with good service and excellent food.

Have to have oysters when in Apalachicola! Great Fried Oysters.

My Soft-shell Crab Platter. Delicious. And they have the best fries ever!

Oyster Po Boy. Very nice. My son absolutely loves it!

That Place Off 98:
17 Avenue East
Apalachicola, FL 32320
(850) 653-9898

Tuesday, March 1

MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit 2011

Once a year, chocolate lovers gather at MSU's Kellogg hotel & Conference Center for MSU Museum annual Chocolate Party Benefit. This year, the event marked its 22nd on Sunday, Febuary 27th. I had such a great time once again. This tasty event has been a part of my mid-winter tradition for many years. There was quite a chocolate feast for my eyes -- and taste buds. My Sunday afternoon couldn't have been better!

Elaborate and edible chocolate masterpieces created by the area's finest chefs along with samples to savor from local bakeries and shops, all benefiting care and preservation of the MSU Museum's natural history and culture collections.

This year's participating chocolatiers include Acclaim Catering, Aggie Mae's Bakery, Awesome Chocolate, Bake N' Cakes, Kirabo, How Sweet It Is, Patricia's Chocolate, Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe, The Sweet Cake Company, and Wright Endings.

The Competition: Participants were required to create a completely edible showpiece and provide chocolate dessert samples, that tie in with the theme. The chosen theme for this year was Masks through time from around the globe -- serving as a prelude to the MASK Exhibit displayed at the MSU Museum.

2011 Professional Culinary Competition Results:

Masterpiece Category:
1st Place - Shelli Halman/Laura Alvarez, Culinary Institute of Michigan
2nd Place - Greg Stoker, Detroit area pastry chef
3rd Place - Joseph Gonzalez/Chad Starr, Culinary Institute of Michigan

Premier Chocolatier Choice:
Ashleigh Hile/Elizabeth Adamson, Culinary Institute of America

(Left) 1st Place -- Serpent sculpture by Laura Alverez and Shellie Hallman, students at the Culinary Institute of Michigan.

All chocolate sculptures were completely edible. Showpieces were composed of only chocolate, or a combination of chocolate and decorative sugar. Any decorative sugar technique was allowed.

(Above) Museum Director, Gary Morgan, thanked attendees, participants, sponsors, and staffs, in closing of the event.

(Above) People's Choice Award, based on attendee votes: Chocolatier vendor - The Wright Endings, Lansing, MI

Participants in the competition and exhibition -- from the Culinary Institute of Michigan.

The event is unique in that it's one of the few professional culinary industry competitions open to the general public, with area chefs and culinary students competing to create inspired, edible masterpieces featuring the key ingredient: chocolate! Meanwhile, attendees also have an opportunity to view part of the museum's current exhibit during the event.

(Above) Laura Abraczinskas - Collections Manager for Vertebrate Natural Science Collections, and Lynne Swanson - Collections Manager for Cultural Collections

A new special exhibition, "MASK: Secrets and Revelations", which opened in Feb. 13 and continues to Jauary 22, 2012 -- in the Main Gallery of the museum, showcases many of its global collections on public display for the first time.

The art of mask making and wearing is timeless. It has been practiced from our ancient ancestors through modern day cultures, performance, and cinema. According to the director of MSU Museum, Gary Morgan, "Masks are both works of art and powerful statements about cultures and human behaviors."
The MSU Museum is located on West Circle Drive next to Beaumont Tower on the MSU campus. It is open seven days a week free of charge (donations are encouraged).
[Source of information: Michigan State University Museum]

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