Tis the season to celebrate and give. Do both by attending the 22nd annual Manna at the Shore fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Beth Israel in Northfield.
“This is a huge, love-fest party,” says Susan Simon, president of Manna at the Shore, a volunteer organization that’s been feeding HIV/AIDS and cancer patients for more than two decades. “By 5:30 p.m., people are standing at the front doors waiting to get in.”
Nearly 30 restaurants — including Steve and Cookie’s By the Bay, Smithville Inn, Washington Inn and Il Verde at Tropicana — will showcase their signature dishes at the event.
Although this year’s menu is a secret, last year’s offerings featured a buffet of gastronomic delights including salmon with mango salsa, tuna tartare, pumpkin gnocchi, lasagna, duck sausage, veal stew, an assortment of fresh salads and roasted farm-to-table veggies. All of the food is donated by the restaurants, which have been coming year after year, says Simon.
“All the restaurateurs know each other, and they’re happy to see each other. The restaurants want to do their finest — there’s nothing run-of-the mill about anything they offer,” she says.
A healthy competitive streak among the restaurants keeps the menu offerings unique.
“It’s almost like a cook off,” Simon says, “where restaurant A has the best Brussels sprouts and restaurant B is going to try and make theirs better.”
A cocktail hour, featuring wine and martini bars, along with various food stations — last year’s event featured a sushi bar and an elaborate antipasto station — gets everyone in the mood to celebrate. Cocktail music, performed by pianist Tamara DeMent and violinist Behn Gillece, enhances the elegance of the affair.
However, once the doors to the ballroom open, ending cocktail hour, the celebration begins in earnest. Dance music, performed by the “MRO” Melanie Rice Orchestra, gets the party going, as attendees (up to 200 people are expected) dance and celebrate the work of Manna at the Shore.
A dessert buffet with fresh baked goods, fruit and other treats caps off the affair.
“It’s simply a wonderful night,” Simon says. “And everyone donates their time — from the chefs to the musicians to the servers to the coat check people.”
That spirit of generosity is consistent with Manna’s work. Once a month volunteers from all walks of life prepare and deliver nearly 2,200 meals for patients who can’t cook for themselves.
The benefit celebrates the people they serve and the work that’s being done in their honor.
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Participating restaurants include:
A Touch of Italy
Caffe Luciano Lamberti
Cousin’s Ocean City
Dock’s Oyster House
Knife & Fork Inn
Harry’s Oyster Bar
Romanelli’s Garden Café
Romanelli’s on the Greene
Sage & Lisa’s
Steve and Cookie’s by the Bay
Stir It Up Catering
The Historic Smithville Inn
The Inn at Sugar Hill
The Mad Batter
The Washington Inn
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