VOICES tells a beautiful dinnertime story

The VOICES event thrown by Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington was memorable for many reasons. Partly it was the Jewish/Deaf/Woman power, which I did write about. Partly it was the wonder at so many people shelling out $218 for a dinner party, albeit for a good cause. But oh so much it was the food!

We arrived to wine and hors d’oeurves–elevated every day eats like teensily-crafted tortilla chips individually topped with dollops of south-of-the-border-inspired concoctions, mini veggie eggrolls, something with thin strips of roast beef. Then when the dining room opened to accept the seething crowd of almost 900 decked-out Jewish women into the dining room, we met with a truly delightful sight.

A salad of mixed baby greens at each place was actually inspired, with a motherly sliver of cucumber gathering in the baby greens, twisted flaky bread sticks with black sesame seeds, and grilled pear. The centerpieces were tastefully simple sprigs of orchid that were also low enough to be deaf friendly (as you can see, you could actually carry on a conversation with someone across the flowers).

The fish dinner was presumably Kosher, and either parve or dairy. When I asked for a vegetarian option (as is my wont, I had not thought to check in about this beforehand), the server didn’t bat an eye. Soon she came back carrying a delightful filo-wrapped melange of tender-crisp stir fried vegetables and tofu. And the tofu was actually cooked by someone who knew what she was doing! The whole thing had an appropriate Asian-inspired flavoring–ginger, soy sauce, garlic. It had incongruous French- or Italian-style tomato-cream sauce and string beans with it because that’s what came with the entree everyone else was having, but you can’t demand perfection. I enjoyed the unintentional fusion meal.

At that point, I once and for all dismissed any thoughts that Kosher food was limiting. It was akin to the first time an omnivore has a truly succulent and satisfying vegetarian meal.

But that wasn’t all. There was still dessert! Let’s not bother with words on this one. Roll the tape (er, photo)!

And now, an obligatory picture of Marlee Matlin, to prove that I was actually that close to an Oscar winner and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant:

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