The American Cancer Society doesn’t like tobacco, that’s for sure,” said Sally Cooper, the regional vice president of the American Cancer Society, but that didn’t stop her group from throwing an over-the-top event at DUMBO’s Tobacco Warehouse on Tuesday.
Now in its second year, “Eat, Drink & Be Hopeful,” as the benefit is known, was a gut-busting evening of some of the borough’s best food, drinks and fundraising. Under a big, white tent, VIPs started strolling in at 6 pm and were greeted by live music from the First Street Quartet; guests milled about, tasting treats from over 20 restaurants and enjoying a wide selection of beer, wine and cocktails.
Of all the wine purveyors, though, Red, White and Bubbly’s Darrin Siegfried was the most excited. As one of the evening’s celebrity hosts, Siegfried ran a special tasting of his own Park Slope-based brand, Brooklyn Wine Company, as well as helping to run the raffles — there were three and an auction! — and glad-handing with every guest who stopped him.
GO Brooklyn caught up with Siegfried over a glass of Brooklyn Wine Company’s “Grand Army Meritage” — a red Bordeaux blend — and found out what makes an event like this so special to the grape Goliath.
“The work that the American Cancer Society is doing hits close to home for me,” said Siegfried, who has lost a number of family members to the disease. “Not only are they involved with research, but with family counseling as well. There are so many worthy causes out there, but this is mine.” Indeed, the May 20 soiree raised funds for the American Cancer Society’s national research program as well as Brooklyn-based patient programs.
And, with the title of the event in mind, Siegfried shared some things that he was hopeful for.
“I’m hopeful that we can get a lot of people involved in helping the American Cancer Society,” he said. “And I’m heartened to know that red wine could help prevent some forms of cancer. If you can drink well and stay healthy, that’s a great thing.”
GO Brooklyn raised a glass to that and decided it might be time to have a taste of some of the snacks that were lining the room. We started with the artichoke hearts with sheep’s milk ricotta, kohlrabi greens and chestnut honey, made by chef Daniel Eardley from Carroll Gardens restaurant Chestnut.
“It’s my birthday,” Eardley told us. “But who wants to get older? Why not donate it to charity?”
So, in honor of the birthday boy, we moved on to taste sweets from DUMBO’s Almondine, where endearingly grumpy Frenchman Herve Poussot was serving madeleines, chocolate macaroons and a variety of other sinfully delicious sweets.
“It’s always good to be at an event like this,” Poussot said, referring to charity fundraisers. GO Brooklyn nodded enthusiastically, referring to its sponsorship of parties with large tables of complementary chocolates.
Rounding the corner towards the mini martini glasses full of red velvet trifle, courtesy of Fort Greene’s Cake Bliss, GO Brooklyn spotted the evening’s guest of honor: Daisy Martinez, a Prospect Park South resident and host of the PBS show “Daisy Cooks.”
Even out of the kitchen, Martinez looked hot — a friend of GO Brooklyn’s couldn’t resist hugging her and revealing that he had used her recipe for “tostones,” fried plantain slices, just the night before — and the cookbook author and chef was more than happy to chat.
“What’s great about an event like this is that cancer, which is associated with death, is the antithesis of food and wine, which are what life is all about. My life has been impacted by cancer,” she said, “so I feel not only honored but obligated to contribute. We stand in defiance of cancer by eating, drinking and being merry.”
Eyeing the food herself, Daisy told GO Brooklyn that the tastiest way to celebrate the work of the American Cancer Society had to be the barbecued barracuda skewers from Park Slope restaurant Palo Santo.
“Palo Santo is my absolute favorite,” Martinez said. “[Chef] Jacques Gautier has magic hands. Go there and tell him Daisy sent you!”
And that’s exactly what we did.
For more information about the American Cancer Society and to make a contribution, call (718) 237-7851 or visit www.cancer.org.
Almondine Bakery (85 Water St. at Main Street in DUMBO) accepts cash only. The bakery is open from 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays. For more information, call (718) 797-5026 or visit www.almondinebakery.com.
Chestnut (271 Smith St. at Degraw Street in Carroll Gardens) accepts MasterCard and Visa. Dinner is served daily. Brunch is served on Sundays. For information, call (718) 243-0049 or visit www.chestnutonsmith.com.
Palo Santo (652 Union St. at Fourth Avenue in Park Slope) accepts cash only. Dinner is served daily. For information, call (718) 636-6311 or visit the Web site, www.palosanto.us.
Red, White and Bubbly (211-213 Fifth Ave. at Union Street in Park Slope) accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. The store is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 am to 10 pm, and Sundays, from noon to 8 pm. For information, call (718) 636-9463 or visit www.redwhiteandbubbly.com.