The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) holds a Dining by Design event every year (see our 2009 coverage here). It is a glorious exhibit of dining tables spanning sleek, fabulous, emotive, stark, schematic, thematic, colorful, monochromatic, and inspirational. To top it off, Table Hop & Taste is a 3-hour special, where restaurants set up in the space and offer samples. The wine sponsor this year seems to be Hob Nob; you’ll see their bottles on many of the tables.

red orchids table white tree table

sparkly purple table
giraffe box setting

Though I’m invited as press to this event, it is truly one of my favorite events to attend. I absolutely love seeing all the tablescapes (not the Sandra Lee kind), possibly even more than the food sampling. (Did I just write that?) There seemed to be less food this year but the quality was good all-around (which is so rare at food events) with Duck Tacos and Venison from Ilili, Tuna Tartare Tartlets from Kittichai, cheeses from Murray’s, Gougere’s and Mushroom Soup from North Square, 5 Spice Cured Salmon Crostinis from Wall & Water, Artichoke Dip from Bella Cucina, gelato from Taste, and Tuna Spring Rolls from Buddakan (Dale Talde from Top Chef is now the Sous Chef there). If you twist my arm for favorites, it would be the last two: amazing strawberry gelato (without food coloring) and I could down a plate full of those raw tuna spring rolls. Hey Dale, want to teach us how to make them?

venison by Ilili Dale Talde and Jessica
5 spice cured salmon by Wall & Water

It’s so fun to look around with hors d’oeuvres available every few feet. Museums should take a lesson.

Now, for some favorite tables. I love branches and vines so I loved this one with purple orchids.

branches and vines table 2
branches and vines table

There was an interesting one made with all recycled or re-purposed materials.

mirror wall at recycle table
recycled and re-purposed table

recycled and re-purposed table setting

There was one with an India theme that even had a live guy sitting in meditation as part of the exhibit.

India table 3India table
India table 2

Benjamin Moore sponsored a table that featured ipods. Notice the candle flames.

Benjamin Moore table Benjamin Moore table 2

Breakfast at Tiffany’s table.

Breakfast at Tiffany's table 2

There’s so many food events these days that it’s hard to pick which ones to go to. This one is definitely one of the top on my list. Don’t miss out next year! (Follow me on twitter for upcoming events!)

posted by jessica at 11:20 AM Filed under Celebrities, Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.