I had such a good time at last year’s Hills Oscar Dinner that as soon as the 2010 dinner was announced I knew I wanted to attend. Jill (Marketing Director and Event Planner Extraordinaire) and Constance (Wine Director) are so creative with their wine and food pairings and it is fun to interact with the other diners. I also enjoy hearing what the critics have to say about movies that made and didn’t make the oscar short list. I always come away with a list of recommendations. As last year we were joined by WCBE 90.5 FM’s John DeSando, co-host for “It’s Movie Time” and “Cinema Classics”, Johnny DiLoretto, co-host for “Cinema Classics” and entertainment reporter at Fox 28 TV and Kristin Dreyer Kramer, co-host for “It’s Movie Time” and editor-in-chief of NightsAndWeekends.com.
This year to make Jill and Contance’s challenge even harder the Oscar short list for best picture has increased from 5 to 10 movies. Undaunted, or at least determined, they managed to incorporate a reference to each of the ten movies either in the choice of wine or food. We were greeted with a sparkling blue cocktail inspired by the movie Avatar and a colorful table decorated with balloons and chocolate. The balloons on the table are a hommage to the movie Up but luckily the table stayed firmly on the ground.
Not having seen all ten of the contenders I had to rely on my fellow diners to explain some of the references and some of the more ‘creative’ ones Jill had to explain. The first course, a cream of cauliflower soup was inspired by the opening scene of A Serious Man, one of the movies I had not seen.
Prawns Peri Peri was inspired by District 9. Doubly clever: not only are prawns the name used for the aliens in the movie, but peri peri is a popular seasoning in South Africa. The accompanying wine was also South African: Goats do Roam from Fairview in Paarl which I particularly enjoyed it because I have visited that winery. It is a very drinkable and refreshing white – I need to remember it for the summer. The prawn was served with a banana chip, a reference to An Education which needed explanation for anyone who had not seen the movie, as well as some who had. At one point in the movie Jenny declares that she is not going to lose her virginity to a piece of fruit – a banana. I highly recommend An Education if you haven’t seen it.
The $18 Middle Eastern salad was inspired both by The Blind Side (which contains a reference to an $18 salad) and The Hurt Locker (set in the Middle East): Pitta triangles, a mixed marinated vegetable salad and a yoghurt dressing – it was really good. It was served with the wine Boarding Pass Shiraz from South Australia, the name and label being a perfect fit for the George Clooney movie Up in the Air.
I loved the detail on the back of the bottle.
The main course was crunchy buttermilk fried chicken with greens and mac and cheese inspired by the Movie Precious.
The wine was a second reference to An Education, a Californian blended red wine called ‘The Other’ .
Despite the fact that I couldn’t finish my fried chicken, I miraculously found room to polish off a very generous portion of Inglorious apple strudel topped with glorious Snowville whipped cream. The dessert (perhaps you have guessed) was inspired by Inglorious Basterds.
I take my hat off to Jill for her creativity and another delicious dinner. Who knew that you could have so much fun in a grocery store!
Hills Market website has details of upcoming events and you can sign up for their mailing list. This saturday March 13th is Market Day with lots of Ohio producers offering samples of their wares.
March 9, 2010
mmmmm. . . the event looks fun and delicious, too.
March 9, 2010
I’m glad that Goats Do Roam is available in Columbus. As you know, they make goats cheese in Paarl and have suggested wines for each flavor of cheese.
March 10, 2010
Glad you came and had fun. This is probably one of my favorite events to plan. I love it when “work” means watching ten films in the span of one week. I’m already excited about next year’s dinner. (Let’s hope they keep it at 10 nominees; I don’t think Constance and I could pull off 15 references in one dinner.)
March 10, 2010
Sounds like you had a lot of fun!
March 11, 2010
Jill and the team at Hills Market work so hard to make their events memorable, and they are gracious hosts as well. The Oscar dinner was amazing, even though I only saw a few of the movies that were referenced during the entrees. I look forward to enjoying The Other blended red bottled by Peirano Estate that I bought that night.