For many, Halloween is regarded as one of the most festive times of the year. An opportunity to dress up in costumes, decorate our homes, hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and indulge in a few spooky themed treats ourselves. But this Halloween feels a little different. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us are able to work, gather, and even celebrate our holidays, Halloween included. Perhaps no industry has felt the impact quite like the restaurant and hospitality industry. And so, the Restaurant and Allied Partnership of Central Florida (RAPCF) has orchestrated the Monster Mash: A Mask-for-Aid Ball, geared towards providing assistance to participating local restaurants toward their recovery. Restaurants from across central Florida have gathered to celebrate this Halloween-themed gala, and we were lucky enough to join in.
Hosted at the beautiful Dr. Phillips House at Lake Lucerne, The Monster Mash Ball held over 30 local venders of food, beer, and wine. Patrons purchased tickets in advance online, and had the option of choosing between general admission and VIP, which included early entry, premium “swag” from participating sponsors and restaurants, and table seats in a VIP only room. In addition, VIP members received access to areas including a private “Up in Smoke Cigar and Whiskey Experience” on the rooftop patio where patrons could enjoy hand rolled cigars and sample bourbons and scotch, as well as to an “Elevate Below Premium Wine Experience”, a private wine tasting in the wine cellar of the Dr. Phillips House.
Once inside, event goers could enjoy live music, live painting, and sample delicious bites from restaurants across the city. Below are a few of our favorites.
Bites & Bubbles: Stuffed Mini-Pumpkin, filled with root vegetables, cranberry relish, duck confit, and duck fat gravy.
Outpost Kitchen: Roasted Garlic and Red Curry Anson Mills Grits with blistered tomatoes, spicy smoked gator, Cajun butter gravy, and shishito pepper Relish
Millennia Event Catering: Brûlée Pork Belly with Cheddar grits, and micro greens.
Broken Spoon: Chicken Lollipop served with papaya salad and peanut sauce.
The gala also featured several decadent dessert options for patrons to sample, including a cake-laden dessert table, and festively decorated macaroons.
The Monster Mash was put on by Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri, presidents of the Restaurant and Allied Partnership of Central Florida. They started the RACPF in response to the COVID-19 crisis in order to help restaurants in the central Florida region navigate the new business environment. For more information on the RACPF, check out their website at www.racpf.org