"Taste of Newport" a Banquet of Gastronomical Delights

Fun, eclectic decor is Salvation Cafe's trademark

Child & Family's annual "Taste of Newport" is easily one of the most popular and anticipated of Newport's annual off-season events, and we ask, how could it not be? "Taste of Newport" boasts appetizer and entree stations from so many of Newport County's fine eateries and successful catering companies that they are almost too many to count - and who would waste time counting when you could be sampling ahi tuna, fois gras, crab cakes, spring rolls, and lobster mac and cheese instead? Not to mention that fabulous Caipirinhas being offered at the Soul Cachaca table (the Caipirinha being, of course, the national drink of Brazil)! And we must mention Castle Hill's fascinating Foie Gras Parfait - yes, it's a dessert! And here we thought such things only existed on the Food Network...

We made sure to catch up with Event Chair Mary Johnstone, who was like the gracious and composed proverbial storm's eye in the flurry of activity at the Hyatt Regency Newport - this is always a very well-attended party! Year after year, it still amazes us that such an event can be pulled off so smoothly from a logistical perspective, once one factors in the volume of attendees along with the number of restaurateurs, chefs, and assistants - it is no small feat!

Event Chair Mary Johnstone, David & Dale Rheault,

Jeff Johnstone

Goodie bags were available for $50 in the main lobby, containing samples from local boutiques as well as a gift certificate from a local business. Following the appetizers, cocktails, and silent auction (134 items up for bidding! Wow!), guests were summoned to tables in the vast ballroom, where the speaking portion of the night commenced, refocusing everyone's attention from the gastronomical delights back to the real reason for the night, which was to raise donations for Child & Family. Vice President of Institutional Advancement Keith Tavares took the stage to thank all guests and those who contributed to this "huge undertaking" and to welcome Ms. Johnstone to the stage. She commended the chefs (46 total, she said!) for the "fabulous feast" they had created "with such grace and joy," and also thanked the local community for "lending a helping hand to those in need."

William Rose & Jessica Moreland of the Clarke Cooke House

Child & Family Director of Community-based Services Mona Mello then stepped up to the podium to paint a picture of the real work that the organization performs within the community and the differences it continually makes in lives of so many disadvantaged families and children, in particular. The raffle prize was then awarded: a tasting for ten, with wine, at the Hyatt - and ABC 6's Steve Cascione led the live auction, peppering it with some of his now event-trademarked "bad jokes."

After guests finished bidding on private dinner parties, Tuscan villa rentals, a week-long trip to the Azores, and fine antiques and jewelry, the partitions opened to reveal the 14 entree stations. Although everything looked divine, our stomachs would not permit us to try more than a handful of options - but we would be in awe of anyone who tried them all!


The Safari Room at Oceancliff

We also knew to save room for the desserts offered in the lobby afterwards - and were very glad we did!

Child & Family's mission is: "To strengthen families, their members, and the communities in which they live." According to its website, Child & Family (C&F) has been a center of community involvement since it was founded in 1866 as “The Home for Friendless Children.” The agency's

"family-focused, multi-service agency is the most comprehensive social service provider in Newport County and one of the largest in Rhode Island." To learn more, visit www.childandfamilyri.com


                                                           -- Amanda M. Grosvenor



Colleen McGrath, Jack & Mary Ambrogi


Participating restaurants, bakeries, and caterers included: 15 Point Road Restaurant, 22 Bowen's, Billy Goode's, Blackstone Caterers, Brick Alley Pub, Cafe Zelda, Caste Hill Inn, Christie's, Clarke Cooke House, DeWolf Tavern, Destination Chocolate, Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen, Glorious Affairs Catering, La Forge Casino Restaurant, Lucia Italian Restaurant, McGrath Clambakes, Newport Chocolates, One Bellevue at Hotel Viking, One Eighty, Perro Salado, Pier 49 Seafood & Spirits, Pranzi Catering, Provencal Bakery & Cafe, Rosemary & Thyme, Russell Morin, Salvation Cafe, Sambar, Sardella's, Spark, Sushi Go, Sweet Berry Farm (Cory's Kitchen & Susanna's Ice Cream), Tallulah on Thames, The Black Pearl, The Canfield House, The Cookie Jar, The Mooring, The Pier, The Safari Room at Oceancliff, The Sunnyside, The Village Hearth Bakery, The White Horse Tavern, Windward Restaurant, as well as Custom House Coffee, Crystal Spring Water, Rhody Fresh Milk, and Soul Brazilian Premium Cachaca.



Enticing poster

The popular Sould Caipirinha station

Robin Carreiro & Michael Semenza

Steve & Chris Rooks

Ken Orabone, Tom Freeman, Heather Bennett

Karen Tungett, Danielle Costa & Shannon Driscoll

Silent auction items

Always a very well-attended event!

Castle Hill's infamous fois gras parfait!

Dick Ernst & Helen Harris

Lea & Derek Savas

Laura Da Lomba, Sean De Lomba & Christyna Bousquet

Scott & Deborah Bartlett

Ralph & Elisa Conte, Michelle da Toli, Daniel Scott

Cynthia Chick & Jenni Thompson

Michelle Kirby & Betsy Walker

Being seated for dinner

Keith Tavares speaks

Mary Johnstone speaks

Mona Mello shares about Child & Family's work

The organization has an inspiring impact on the community

Steve Cascione starts the live auction

Goodie bags for sale

Ally Coulter & Sharon Rust-Buttone

Leith Adams & Ruth Orthwein

Lovely desserts from Rosemary & Thyme

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