The Shine and Dine event brings together some of Chicago's finest restaurants to celebrate a group of extraordinary girls and the women who work to make sure they have the best opportunities in life. Step Up Women's Network gives young girls a network of mentors and resources to help them plan for the future and achieve their true potential. Every year, the Shine and Dine event helps raise money for these programs by delivering amazing food, pop up experiences, and even some of the girls themselves, who mingle among the guests in order to really put a face to what the night is all about.
Bunny, anxious to get started, jumped right into the food. Meats and toasts seemed to be a theme of the evening with several restaurants serving up carnivorous and carb loaded bites. The Radler brought forth a sweet and savory Summer Sausage with one having plum mustard, endive, candied pecans, and black lemon, while Troquet offered two different "tartines" with white peach, heirloom tomato, chili, and prosciutto, which made for a fresh, summery bite, while the other one featured smoked salmon, cucumber, asparagus, cream cheese, and pickled radish, which reminded Bunny of a tea sandwich. Eden had a different version of a smoked salmon toast, this one with pickled beet, radish, corn, red oinon, and Fresno chili and Eno presented a Country Ham on grilled caraway bread with pickled peaches and micro greens. Breaking the mold a little with their offerings were Micheal Jordon's Steakhouse with a grilled Mesquite New York Strip and lobster creamed corn as well as Honey Butter Fried Chicken putting up a scrumptious Fried Chicken Nacho plate with pimento cheese, lime crema, and roasted corn pico de gallo,
There were also lots of treats for sweet toothed individuals at this year's dinner. Bang Bang Pie offered up a Peach Berry Crisp, which was perfect on the late summer evening, while Nico Osteria had a delightful Peach Financier with mascarpone cream. Found had an unbelievably rich Chocolate Stout cake with honeyed peaches and mint that Bunny could have eaten several of if there hadn't been people watching. Bunny's favorite bite of the evening came from Acanto, which was a Foie Gras Terrine on a pistachio biscotti with currant pate de fruit, making for a perfectly balanced sweet and savory experience.
Now full and with cocktail in hand, Bunny explored the rest of the room, stopping off to take a flirty red carpet portrait, then a silly pic at the Luna Bar station, checking out all the extraordinary lots available at the silent auction, watching with delight as participants won amazing mystery prizes from the Step Up and Pull game, and finally getting a lip makeover from the Ulta Pout Bar. Of course, she also sought out some of the orange clad young girls to hear their inspiring tales of just how important the Step Up program has been for them.
After a few inspiring speeches from Step UP CEO Jenni Luke and special honorees Jodi Caro (Ulta Beauty) and Aminata Bah (Step Up class of 2014), the food slowly disappeared from the tables, the auctions came to a close, and the crowd began to head out of the beautiful Bridgeport Skyline Loft. "I just adore the Shine and Dine event more and more every year," Bunny sighed, "There's very few food events quite like this one where so much good is being done while having such an enjoyable time. I certainly cannot wait to see what they have in store for next year!"
The writers of this blog were invited to attend this event free of charge in order to fascilitate the writing of this post.