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Alpha Omega hosts inaugural Military Masquerade for veterans

Commercial Appeal - 3/17/2017

March 17--Alpha Omega Veterans Services, a nonprofit charitable organization that helps hopeless and disabled military, hosted its first Military Masquerade on Feb. 25 at the Annesdale Mansion. More than $40,000 was raised at the event, which drew 200 people, said Stephanie Beliles, fundraising chairwoman on the organization's board.

Chef Kelly English served Creole cuisine, including jambalaya, cheese grits and chicken po' boys.

A dinner prepared by Kelly for nine people went for $11,000 in the live auction, Stephanie said.

The event also included a silent auction, complimentary cigars and a bead throw. Music was provided by Sensations and Memphis Second Line Jazz Band.

'Rock the River'

About 400 people helped "Rock the River" -- the theme of the Hands of Hope Auction Party, held Feb. 25 at the Halloran Center. A total of $167,000 was raised at the Exchange Club Family Center fundraiser.

The event included a live auction with auctioneer Jeff Morris and a silent auction. Music was provided by the Earnestine & Hazel's Band and Otis Faithful.

Simply Delicious catered the event. Cooper Mountain Vineyards provided the wine, and Memphis Made Brewing Co. brought the beer.

Sasha and John Ennis Jr. and Pamela Hauber and Steve West were event co-chairs.

Mix-Odyssey

More than 200 people attended the fourth annual Mix-Odyssey, a Volunteer Odyssey fundraiser, held March 4 at BRIDGES.

Seven stations featured mixologists who served craft cocktails, which were paired with appetizers from Gourmade food truck.

"War of the Worlds," a drink crafted by Colby Jones of Catherine and Mary's, came in first place. The drink was made with 1 1/2 ounces of mint-infused Bacardi rum, five-tenths of an ounce of mezcal and one ounce of lime cordial. The drink also included smoked pineapple ice cubes and citric acid.

Aaron Hanna of Hog & Hominy came in second place with his "Byter Layter" cocktail (named after the Nick Drake album). "It's essentially a daiquiri," Aaron said. It's made of rum, mezcal, lime juice, a bit of cumin and a syrup Aaron made from bell pepper, celery and lemon peel. He garnished the drink with a cocktail onion.

"Eden," crafted by Cady Smith of Cafe Pontotoc, was the people's choice award winner.

Memphis Grizzlies DJ Justin Baker provided the music.

Oyster bar opens

Sweet Grass chef/owner Ryan Trimm held a soft opening for his new oyster bar Feb. 21 in Cooper-Young.

"We're nothing more than a neighborhood bistro and local watering hole," Ryan said. "So we wanted people to be able to come hang out."

He got the idea during a Sunday brunch. He realized the restaurant had been open seven years and the place just needed a "facelift," he said. "Just a little love."

He'd always wanted to do an oyster bar, so he decided the time was right if they were ever going to add one. They extended the bar nine feet to "make it more casual.

"I love oysters. We're not trying to do anything more complicated than oysters on the half shell. And then we're doing char grilled and Oysters Sweet Grass as well."

Reach Donahue at michael.donahue@commercialappeal.com.

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(c)2017 The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)

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