Posted by lemonjelly on:
I'd heard a rumor that Monday night's after-party at the Lobero was the one to be at. I didn't quite know why beforehand, but I wasn't one to question. Upon entering the grand canopy in the back patio of the Theater I saw it was a party for the filmmakers from Quebec and that's when it became apparent: Quebecers have tasteful standards for their food and drink.
Note: this bartender I photographed was super smiley and friendly, he didn't crack under the pressure of non-stop beverage demands!
Tonight's event was wholly catered by the Secret Ingredient, which some might not immediately recognize off the bat, but you may recognize the Museum Cafe? Chef Brenda Simon is the proprietress of the Cafe located within the Museum of Art, and the Secret Ingredient is her catering business. If you've attended Museum Nights or Atelier you have sampled her delicious bites. She specializes in world cuisine (I personally loved the Museum Cafe's tapas specials back when the Museum was running a Spanish art exhibit) and tonight was some of the prettiest and tastiest morsels I've spied at the SBIFF.
And lucky for the film goers, she had been busy, catering five events just on this day alone. At the time of publication, I have not received her menu list, but as soon as I get it, I'll post those details. Meanwhile, feast your eyes on the beautiful nibbles she provided to the party.
Roast vegetable platter with hummus dip.
Phyllo pastry empanadas
Crab pate on baguette
Caprese bites drizzled with rich balsamic vinegar - personal favorite!
A bountiful bread basket.
An enormous platter of cheese and dried fruit, garnished with pansy flowers.
Smoked salmon, crème fraiche and dill on pumpernickel rye
Brenda's dishes stood out because they had the visual impact of opulent abundance. The platters were piled with dainty small bites, they were really impressive. For the first time since the film festival started, people were actually hesitant to dive into the food, because it looked *too nice.* But once people started, the nibbles vanished quickly. The patio was also so packed with people it was near impossible to keep the farther table supplied and the caters resorted to serving the goodies on the large table closest to their food prep area.
Beverages were provided by the ubiquitous Chopin Vodka, Stella Artois, and wine came from the Santa Barbara Collection. This was the first time sampling the wine and I particularly enjoyed the pinot noir. Smooth, richly flavorful, a bit smokey but not distractingly so, and enjoyable now but probably even more so after a year or so in the cellar. The white was a chardonnay, which I have an unfortunately longstanding bias against. The taste people describe as buttery has never cut it for me, and this chardonnay was particularly sweet and strong. Actually, I liked it better than most chardonnays and keep in mind that I happen to like sweeter wines. But I'd stick with the pinot if you're not scared of spilling a red on your clothing.
Some feedback I heard from the crowd was confirmation that was food was delicious, but folks didn't have the freshest of breath afterwards. Whoooops! Where are those SBIFF mint freebies when you need them??
The party was bumping, it was packed with people having a great time. DJ KATarina was spinning the tunes and mashups with custom bedazzled headphones.
There was a step and repeat at one end where the Quebec filmmakers were interviewed and photographed. I didn't have my eye out for any celebrities, but I did notice what was possibly the tallest man at the Film Festival. Can you spot him in this shot below? Hint: he's standing next to the shortest man at the party.
I heard the party wrapped up around 4 am, long past my bedtime. What I can provide for you is a symbolic illustration of the night's progressive revelry.
Drinking. Drunk. DER-ANK.
33 East Canon Perdido Street
Santa Barbara CA 93101
The Secret Ingredient
Chef Brenda Simon
PO Box 30708
Santa Barbara CA 93130