After a few hours of working on bakery stuff indoors during what felt like a hurricane, Matt and I finally decided to borrow umbrellas from the concierge and walk downtown. The wind was so bad (I hear 40+ mph!) that my umbrella flipped inside out! We eventually did something hilarious together: we got manicures! My nails were in horrible shape and Matt decided to go for a hand massage himself.
On our walk home, we stumbled upon an old timey candy store!! The kind of bins and bins of candy selections – a Willy Wonka dream.
Seeing as I am reminiscing all-things-childhood these days, I had to stop in and bought a few nibbles of my favorite childhood candies: sour patch kids, gummi bears, toasted marshmallow Jelly Belly and raspberries! The Reese’s was Matt’s! It has been years since I’ve had a fun mixed bag of candy like this – and it tasted even better than I remember! My palate is so weird these days!
We dressed up for dinner and went to the hotel bar to enjoy a cocktail before the evening:
Manhattan for Matt, Grey Goose for Karen and a Lemon Drop for me!
Lemon Drop meaning a lemonade mixture (lemon juice and simple syrup) in a martini glass. Tastes just as good as the alcoholic version!
Dinner and the awards ceremony tonight was held in the famous Crown Ballroom – check out the crown lights!
We had a seated dinner of salads
Table poured wine (I had a few sips, but I had to tell the server to stop filling the glass at my seat or Matt would end up too tipsy!)
I often request the vegetarian dish at big catered events like this for meat quality purposes and because there are often more veggies involved in the veg dish (often, not always!) Tonight’s was roasted cauliflower over mashed potatoes. Is “Protein-free” a new diet!? I kid. But some beans would have been nice.
It tasted great, but Matt’s beef was actually really good, so we traded 1/3 for 1/3.
Dessert was FAB!! A rich chocolate column with raspberry and whipped cream!
And I’m 3 for 3 on decaf coffee with meals today! Fancy.
The evening concluded with the exciting awards event. Stores across the country are recognized for sales volume, sales growth and the coveted Phenomenal Bread Awards. And one special store wins the honor of Strong & Exciting Bakery of the year.
First year stores send in a loaf each month that gets blindly taste-tested with all the others among the GH staff (who are about as sophisticated in bread quality tasting as it gets!)
Since we decided to open a bakery 3 years ago and signed our franchise agreement, Matt told a few of the staff that he was shooting high for the Phenomenal Bread Award his first year, which has never been done.
But Matt has a very special talent for baking, and we became the first first-year store to ever win the Young Bakery Phenomenal Bread Award!!
It was his dream come true ; )
But like the sign says, the crew deserves most of the credit! A huge congrats to Sponge + Dough guys Nathan and Alex, Baker John and the outstanding Kneading Crew for their great work making these phenomenal loaves!!!