Thursday evening local food bloggers and media descended on Caribe with cameras and Twitter accounts at the ready to take part in a Dole-sponsored banana dinner, known as #BigBananaNight. Despite the risque hashtag, the evening was not as bawdy as it could have been.
Caribe owners Heidi and Tony Panelli hosted alongside Food for My Family blogger Shaina Olmanson and a Dole representative.
Olmanson explained how the event came about:
[jump] "I've worked with Dole in the past. Since they already had an established relationship with me, they approached me to host an event with 10 bloggers. I told them we could do better and went about identifying restaurants that had bananas on their menus outside of the traditional breakfast fare. Caribe seemed like a natural fit because Tony's outside-the-box banana usage was on par with what they were looking for, but it's also a small, family-run place that I felt good about supporting."
Olemanson's husband, Ole, doled out grilled bananas dipped in salted caramel and melted chocolate on thin ginger crackers as an appetizer, while guests sipped banana-spiked white wine sangria before gathering for dinner. Highlights were the beautifully tender lamb chops, blushing on the inside with a charred, crispy exterior and served with jasmine rice topped with a spicy mango chutney. The luscious banana crème brûlée was also a delight, delicately balanced between sweet and buttery.