The large second floor ballroom was filled with booths from over 20 restaurants, representing half of the group's members. Nearly 500 hundred people attended the event, which was also a fundraiser for two Madison College culinary scholarships. NBC15's Charlie Shortino emceed the event.
Highlights from the tastings included pork sliders from Hawk's; the lox plate from Dayton Street Grille, a generous piece of lox on a rye cracker with cream, had just the right crunch and refreshing cool; Liliana's spicy jambalaya was New Orleans good; the crave-worthy Porta salad from Porta Bella with finely chopped ham, salami and mozzarella was a classic I had never known existed, and the peanut avocado salad from Fit Fresh was worth trying to copy at home.
Guests were given the chance to vote for their favorite item, and the winner was an excellent curried crab soup from the Blue Marlin. This was a thick, well-spiced curry soup with huge pieces of sweet crab meat.
Meeting the personalities behind the food was big part of the event, as most of the restaurant owners themselves were in attendance. More than a few restaurants offered coupons for half-off meals and other perks, making Flavors of Madison a great venue both to meet chefs, sample foods and score additional deals.