I hope ya'll saw my Facebook and Twitter photos from the Better with M, M&M's event in New Orleans on Thursday night that we were VERY blessed to attend!
I had hoped to get this post live on Friday, but Miss Grace was home again with a relapse of sinitus/seasonal allergies/col/we don't know what (per the doctor) and there was NO time for blogging! SIGH.....
Let me start off with one comment, and then I'll tell all:
One of the BEST musical and dining experiences EVER.
Thanks you M&M's!
Now let me tell you about the WHY before I share all the GOOD stuff with ya- and yes, LOT"S of photos about to come!
The event was to support the forth coming Better with M, M&M's campaign, in which M&M's hopes to help improve American by getting over a million hours donated to Habitat for Humanity. Over 3 million recipients have benefited from the program since it was started. The Gulf Coast area alone had over 2,000 families helped by Habitat for Humanity since Hurricane Katrina. So it is an organization very dear to the New Orleans's area! Starting in the Spring you can support Habitat for Humanity by purchasing brand items, like M&M's, that are pledging to support man hours and fund to Habitat for Humanity. YOU can take the pledge at Habitatforhumanity.org/build Not handy with a hammer? You can donate funds as well. Every little bit helps!
The fun of course started enroute- trying to navigate the maze of closed off streets for the Super Bowl, as the event location was The Foundry (just the BEST if you want to host a smaller function or wedding reception downtown, FYI). And laughing hysterically at how the Navigator app pronounced street names like Esplanade, Tchoupitoulas and Carondelet. Apparently it's French is limited! As you can see from above- the fun started at the door, with chalk drawings of M&M's at the entrance way! That would be my aunt, who attended with me, checking out the other arriving guests!
The fun started the minute we walked in with the Grammy-award winning Rebirth Brass Band playing some get down and funky jazz! Check out the super cool display with chocolate M&M brass band that we saw upon entering! The round disc's had our name and corresponded to our table placement. And they had some Saint's (sorta) colored M&M's! And no, Mrs. Osborne did NOT make it!
Then we got treated to a WONDEFUL cocktail hour! We got to slip on some splendid cocktails, made especially for the event- that's the Fleur de Lis Swing sitting pretty on the bottom left! It was the least strong of the three, and not by much! And John Besh outdid himself on the the hors' d'oeuvres! From the smoked oysters to the phyllos ham triangles, to the amazing shrimp and duck bacon wrapped jalepeno poppers (my favorite!), AND the M&M's sweet macaroons (with hazel nut creme!). All of it totally YUMMY! You know we had to try them all- so we could tell you all about them- LOL
And speaking of- John Besh is just as nice in person and promised to send us ALL the recipes, so you KNOW I'll be sharing them with you later!
AND so is Neil Patrick Harris- he mingled with the guest for quite awhile before dinner! It was a lovely cocktail hour before the main event- DINNER (ok, to John it was the main event, but with Vanessa William's in the house performing, dinner is sorta second fiddle!).
All the tables were based on famous streets in New Orleans, and had chocolate M&M statues, corresponding with the theme of the street. We were at Pyratania, so we had a jazz band. We had to laugh at the football table having the Superdome (sorry- the Mercedez Benz dome), and goal posts (and a certain famous quarterback sitting at our end.....) !
But what a spectacular dinner it was ! The menu card seems SO simple, but the tastes were uber-complex, and everyone at our table declared the entire meal heavenly. The take on a Louisiana shrimp and crab boil was really unique and the Meyer lemon just put it over the top! We didn't see any vegetarians around us, which was a good thing, as that was some of the BEST prime rib EVER! I can't wait to get the recipes and remake all the items!
And speaking of my table mates- in the weird 3 degrees (versus 6) only of separation in New Orleans - we discovered that one of the ladies' mother was the high school librarian, when I was in a local NOLA high school, and that her daughters attended the same school- including one of the PR reps running the event. We had a good laugh and declared it the 'Family table'! Only in New Orleans!
I know you are wondering about the dessert! It was hidden under the M&M, which was actually a dark chocolate shell! Many of which made their way home with the diners, as everyone was just too stuffed to eat more than a nibble of them!
I know you're wondering about the main event!
Let me just say ya'll can have Beyonce. Seriously. The girl can sing, but my generation will keep Vanessa Williams! She got past so much (sorry she'll always be Miss America to me, no matter what), made a huge name for herself, got a career that most people would only dream about (including being the voice of le brown M&M), had a wonderful family/kids, and is STILL every bit as amazing as she was 20 years ago! And speaking of the younger generation- that is her daughter singing backup (that's her on the far right)! What a treat to her all grown up, with her Mama's genes!
And speaking of- Vanessa looks astounding- she is much smaller in person than you would think, and her voice is just as powerful as when she was topping the charts! The entire crowd adored her (course it may have been due to most of us being over a certain age and knowing the lyrics to ALL of her songs, LOL) and everyone had a great time! The venue was just flat out astounding to see Vanessa THAT up close and personal singing.
And a little tid-bit learned about Vanessa- she only drinks Cafe Du Monde coffee with chickory. So no surprise that was what was served with desert! We knew she was a Southern girl at heart!
And truly, that is what the evening was about- sharing some Southern hospitality, wonderful food, great music and a joyous amazement at how far a little piece of chocolate has come in seventy two years (!!!), and what a difference they can make in the lives of others. Life truly is "Better with M' !