It could have been just another tweet, one of thousands that spring forth from an iphone. This tweet in particular, however, received an answer from Chef Diana Stavaridis at BLD Restaurant that read “CONGRATULATIONS. YOU HAVE WON THE BLD TWEET A DISH CONTEST. YOUR CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS WILL BE SERVED THURSDAY, APRIL 29.” Another (kind of tacky, gloating) tweet followed immediately: “I WON! I WON! I WON!”
I wouldn’t say that I “coerced” BLD into choosing my Chicken N Dumplins, but that is probably precisely what they would tell you. When my dish was not selected the first week, I began an all-out twitter-assault campaign, begging others to re-tweet my dish on a daily basis. And THEY DID! The days before the dish was actually served, my campaign climaxed to a point of relentless harrassment! Tweet after Tweet after Tweet: “I just ran into Starbucks for a quick pick-me-up and the kid looked at me like I was crazy when I ordered CHICKEN N DUMPLINS!” ….or “I have walked up and down the ailes of Pavillions, and I cannot find where they keep the CHICKEN N DUMPLINS,” ….and even “OMG! CHICKEN N DUMPLINS just topped Justin Beiber on trending tweets!” One friend begged for an end, at which point I chose to use rhyming clues, such as “There is something missing from today’s food section of the LA Times, and it rhymes with PICKEN AND CRUMPIN!” To their great releif, an end was soon in sight.
The winning prize was a three course dinner for two at BLD. Before we arrived, the restaurant manager sent me a text that said “We are about to sell out of chicken and dumplings!” We arrived at BLD to find my name and dish displayed on the menu, as well as several local food bloggers that arrived to taste Diana’s creation. The restaurant did indeed sell out, but thankfully saved an order for me and my guest – a giant bowl full of warm chicken broth, big juicy pieces of dark, rich meat, and those pillowy little dumplins that make this dish a southern tradition, and a personal favorite.
Just before I left for dinner, a friend asked “What are you going to do if it’s not good?” Thankfully, that was never an issue. It was not only delicious, but Chef Diana and her staff were gracious hosts. It was an usually cold and windy night in Los Angeles, perfect for this dish, and likely the reason for it selling out so quickly. Or, as I said to @BLDchefd in a thank you tweet: “New menu item?”
This night was one of the primary yearly fundraisers for Project Angel Food, a group that is dear to our hearts. For many years, I delivered food to PAF’s clients twice a week, good people that were in need of healthy, life saving meals due to debilitating illness. Originally the group served homebound HIV/AIDS patients, but has since spread its wings to include many other neighbors in need. The evening, “Dining Out For Life,” is a annual collection of good hearted restaurants that graciously donate 25% of the evening’s proceeds to the group. Especially during these difficult economic times, this is a very large financial commitment on the part of the participating restuarants, and we were delighted to cast a bit of “PR light” upon this very worthy group.