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Taste of the Nation: Pink Drinks, Smooth Jazz & High Security

Elizabeth Falkner looks out over her sea of octopus salad in the VIP section.
Elizabeth Falkner looks out over her sea of octopus salad in the VIP section.

This is Hangover Observations, where we share our thoughts on last night, the night that was.

Last night saw Taste of the Nation take over the Bentley Reserve in the FiDi. In our humble opinion, it was a much more fitting location for the annual taste-o-rama than AT&T Park where it went down last year. The high-security VIP area dished out premium bites from 5:30 to 6:30 in back; and then the event unfurled in the 8,000-square-foot Banking Hall until about 9 p.m. with a silent auction and copious bites. As always, 100% of proceeds went to Share our Strength. Read the full spectrum of reflections in the gallery above and after the hop.

1) At the Atelier Crenn table in the V.I.P. lounge Dominique Crenn served an explosive modern take on the kir royale and wondered a bit about her Bauer review, coming out in the Chronicle this Sunday.

2) Aaron London of Ubuntu couldn't stay for the after party because he had a big day today in Napa today adding 12 or so new dishes to his menu for spring. He can't wait to get into the asparagus and beets. London also mentioned Ubuntu pastry chef Carl Swanson will soon be moving on amicably to another venture.

3) Elizabeth Falkner has been working the line at Citizen Cake on Fillmore for the past month since Amy Glaze moved on (again, amicably). Falkner's also been hard at work filming a new TV show she couldn't talk about. Busy month.

4) Zero Zero bar manager Joel Teitelbaum mentioned he's almost out of the barrel-aged negronis he's been serving for the past few weeks. He's got another batch in the works.

5) Eater got kicked out of the V.I.P. room. Twice! Cheers to Michael Judge of Bourbon Steak for getting us back in for round two.

6) Daniel Hyatt, Alembic bar manager, said 7,000+ people showed up at last Friday's Off the Grid Fort Mason, where they just started serving cocktails. He also mentioned Magnolia went through 90 gallons of beer.

7) Hubert Keller was supposed to DJ, but it didn't work out. As it turned out, lots of vendors thought the music was a little too Kenny G for their tastes.

8) The cocktail color of the evening? For sure, pink. Smuggler's Cove, Zero Zero, Campo de Encanto, Alembic and Perfect Purée all served rosy-colored libations. We're sure there were more.

9) Honorary chef co-chair Chris Cosentino served pig skin noodles fra diavolo-style, natch.

10) And where was Marcia?

· All Previous Taste of the Nation Coverage [~ ESF ~]

Atelier Crenn

3127 Fillmore Street, , CA 94123 (415) 440-0460 Visit Website

The Alembic

1725 Haight Street, , CA 94117 (415) 666-0822 Visit Website

Zero Zero

826 Folsom Street, , CA 94107 (415) 348-8800 Visit Website