Roasted squab at L’Amour du Vin. I just couldn’t do it. A squab is a young pigeon that cannot yet fly — usually younger than four weeks old.
I might not be the most adventurous eater you’ve ever met, but I do try to sample new things from time to time. Thanks to the wonderful Trust Fall dinners (click here and here and here and here), I have forced myself to try such exotic delicacies as lamb sweetbreads, duck tongues, beef heart tartare, sea urchin, beef tongue and buffaloed rabbit wings. (Rabbit wings?)
But last Saturday, I was introduced to a plate I just could not force myself to approach. It was roasted squab with liver mousse, carrots and puff pastry, the third course at the otherwise elegant and fun L’Amour du Vin, a major fundraiser for the Knoxville Museum of Art. That’s it at the beginning of this post. Alan Carmichael, my husband, called it “the Harry Potter course” because it reminded him of something that might appear in those stories. My friend Jerry Kruse, whose company, The Pour Guys, was helping with service Saturday night, offered to remove the head from my plate for me. But there still was that claw. I just decided to pass entirely and rely on the wine for sustenance.
My normally sweet husband teasing me with the squab claw. Two of our tablemates, Christopher and Fran Leonard, also seem a little intrigued about what’s on their plates.
Haha. Very funny. From left, Shawn White, R.J. Hinde and John Winemiller having fun at my expense.
On to more glamorous sights. This new Lexus made quite an impression on Mark and Cathy Hill. Lexus of Knoxville was the title sponsor of L’Amour du Vin.
Everyone gathered in the Ann and Steve Bailey Great Hall for hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Three bars also provided wine samples from local distributors.
Hummus made from Sea Island red peas on homemade potato chips.
Alan with our friend Abby Ham during the reception. Abby, an anchor at WBIR-TV, Channel 10, was the emcee for the evening.
Brisket bites. Yum.
The crowd was really getting packed in as it drew time to enter the dinner tent.
We were welcomed with champagne.
David Butler, the executive director of the Knoxville Museum of Art, shared a sip with Alan.
The decor inside of the tent was simple and elegant. But when I saw the lighting, I knew the photos would not be the best.
From left, Suzanne Pride Bryan, Wesley Steffens, Tisha Weber Ford and Beth Novak Milliken.
Vintner Suzanne Pride Bryan owns Pride Mountain Vineyards. Vintner Wesley Steffens is general manager of Vineyard 7 & 8. And Vintner Beth Novak Milliken is president and CEO of Spottswoode, a family wine estate. The three vintners, all of whom have had wine featured at previous L’Amour du Vins, combined their talents to create a special blend of cabernet sauvignon exclusively available to patrons of this year’s L’Amour du Vin. It was made in honor of the late Sam Beall, proprietor of Blackberry Farm.
From left, R.J. Hinde, Carole Martin and John Winemiller.
The salad course featured black truffles, radicchio leaves, frisee, mushrooms and black truffle vinaigrette. It was delicious. (How could it not be with all those truffles?)
It was paired with Spottswoode’s 2015 sauvignon blanc.
This was my favorite course: fresh garganelli pasta with Bolognese sauce, pancetta, mortadella and quail egg.
It was paired with a 2014 estate chardonnay from Vineyard 7 & 8.
Our tablemate Shawn White, who plays trumpet in the Knoxville Symphony, enjoys the vino. Congrats to Shawn, who just got promoted to vice president of global rights management at Scripps Networks Interactive.
The freaky squab course came next. Since I didn’t eat it, it was lucky for me that they served three different wines with it: a 2013 estate cabernet sauvignon from each featured vineyard, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Vineyard 7 & 8 and Spottswoode.
Christopher and Fran Leonard. He’s with Merchant & Gould, which shared a table with Moxley Carmichael.
Laura and Shawn White.
I decided it was time to table hop.
Doug White of Lexus of Knoxville with Ann Bailey.
Brenda and Robert Madigan.
From left, Don Lesher, M.D.; Sally Lesher, former mayor of Rutherfordton, NC; Rosemary Gilliam and Nancy Hays.
Kimbro Maguire and Penny Lynch.
Standing, Holly Watkins, left, and Lisa Knott. Seated, Deborah Petrolina, left, and Christi Branscom.
Christopher and Fran Leonard, left, with Allison Burchett and Mike Strickland.
Whitfield Bailey, left, with Jim Clayton and Michell Witt.
Beth and Bill Neilson, left, with Dottie and Glenn Irwin.
Cindy and John Compton.
Carol and Don Heiser, left, with Myron and Jayne Ely.
From left, standing, Raquel Bickford Oranges, Joey Creswell, Mary Ellen Brewington, Travis May and Abby Ham. Seated, Janet Testerman and Craig Shelton.
Barbara Apking, center, with Susan and Lee Hyde. Susan just retired from her post as director of development for the Knoxville Museum of Art. She did an amazing job.
Back at my table, Boston Cream Pie was being served for dessert. Each one had the name of one of the seven restaurants and one bar in the Boston area owned and operated by guest chef, Barbara Lynch. Sportello is her take on a modern diner.
R.J. Hinde, left, and John Winemiller.
Marga and Jay McBride.
Soon, Abby Ham took the stage to introduce the guests of honor.
Chef Barbara Lynch really gave us something to talk about with that squab course!
The three vintners made remarks. From left, Beth Novak Milliken, Wesley Steffens and Suzanne Pride Bryan.
Auctioneer Bear Stephenson did his usual excellent job of coaxing our dollars out of us.
Melissa and Randy Burleson were chairs of this year’s L’Amour du Vin. That’s Morton Massey acting as a spotter for Bear.
Connor Coffee and Allison Page.
We ran into Charleene Edwards, left, and Cathy Briscoe in the check-out area.
We said goodbye to Kent and Susan Farris outside after a very interesting evening.