Last night, nearly 500 foodophiles packed the ballroom at Congregation Emanuel to lend their support for the fifth annual Women Cook!, Dining for a Difference, the largest silent auction and fundraiser of the year for Work Options for Women, a non-profit that offers a sixteen-week restaurant training and workplace program for women coming off welfare.
The super-cool event, which always spotlights a WOW graduate (in this case, Eunice Navarro), brings together some of Denver's top female chefs, all of whom turn out small plates of grab-worthy food that fuel spirited discussions about whose line is worth going through again...and again...and again.
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That debate raged on for a good portion of the night, but I've got to give props to Rioja and Bistro Vendome's Jennifer Jasinski, whose spring pea risotto made me want to lick the pan clean, a non-apologetic sentiment shared by those around me, including the sheepish guy who admitted he'd made a pass through Jasinski's line a half dozen times -- and wasn't done yet.
But everything was delicious, from Gateaux's raspberry cheesecake brownie pops and Elway's Cherry Creek chile-marinated beef tenderloin to the pan-seared halibut from Randolph's and the lamb polpetti with mint pesto and whipped goat cheese from Panzano.
If you missed the powwow last night, you can still show your support for WOW by stopping in at Cafe Options, the fast-casual breakfast and lunch spot at 1650 Curtis Street that WOW opened last month in the U.S. Bank Tower building.