Benefits Tonight For Montana HIV Agencies

Through a calendar snafu, there are two- count ’em, TWO- benefits for HIV organizations in  the State of Montana tonight.

I’ll be in Billings tonight, speaking at the Yellowstone AIDS Project’s evening called Simply Elegant: Thirty Years of Fighting and Thriving.
From their website:

On December 3rd, 2011, the Yellowstone AIDS Project will host the 16th Annual World AIDS Day Benefit to be held at the Big Horn Resort (1801 Majestic Lane,  Billings) at 6 pm. This year’s event is titled Simply Elegant: Thiry Years of Fighting & Thriving.

The evening will include tapas catered by Beyond Basil, a wine tasting, silent and live auction items, a moving speech by HIV positive Montanan, D Gregory Smith and Venture Theatre will be performing excerpts from the Broadway Musical, “Rent”.

If you are in the Billings area, please come and say “Hi”- I’d love to see you – and these folks do good work.

And in Bozeman, we have The Red Ribbon Ball, AIDS Outreach’s 1st annual classy soiree to benefit client services at AIDS Outreach:

Please support these very worthwhile causes….


Calgary Food Tour

Spending time with Nicole in Calgary means fantastic food. Not a bad meal in the bunch. So if you go to Calgary and want some recommendations, here are a few highlights:

The first night out, we went to The Living Room and sat on the patio to catch up. JJ was our server, and he helped us through a fantastic menu, which included one dozen assorted fresh oysters (gorgeous), Duck Confit & Foie Gras Spring Rolls (off the hook), and then I had the duck breast (tender and flavorful) with an assortment of white wines which was beautiful (Nicole and I always order different ones and then taste). A great  meal.

Lunch the next day was at The Cassis Bistro, where our server was JJ from the night before! Besides the amazing Kismet, the food was fresh, French and delicious. We shared the Nicoise Salad and the Croque-Madame- a perfect cap to the morning.

We also enjoyed The Home Tasting Room. The experience began with a glass of champagne, freshly smoked oysters and continued with ricotta gnocchi, foie gras, mussels, chorizo octopus and ended with a gorgeously prepared rhubarb berry tart. It was simply fantastic!

We also went to Blink one night. Words fail, but I’ll try.

This was without question the best food I’ve had in years. From the reception, the starters, the wine and the service- the experience was perfect. The food was perfectly prepared, presented and paired. I couldn’t have asked the Make-a-Wish Foundation for a better experience.

We tasted albacore tartare- delicate and fresh; heirloom tomato torte- sweet and fresh; zucchini blossoms-light and tasty. Dungeness crab souffle which was light , sweet and perfect. And the beef tenderloin! Fantastic! It was so hard to choose form a scintillating menu, but we did our best. Chef Andrew Richardson prepared everything with elegance and verve- leaving nothing out. Everything was beautifully seasoned and the temperature of each plate was perfect. The staff made it especially worthwhile and fun- even a thunderstorm and a move indoors from the elements were handled with grace and charm. The knowledge of the menu, the wines, and the atmosphere makes Blink one of my all time favorites. Top Three. Easily.

I’ll be back. And God help you if you go to Calgary looking for a fine dining experience and miss Blink. That would be a sin.