Friday, April 29, 2011

Yesterday was Dining Out for Life Day. Did YOU Participate?

Dining Out For Life is an annual event that raises money for AIDS service foundations throughout the country. Local businesses join the effort to support or to host the fundraiser during which a portion of the proceeds at the participating restaurant are donated to the Dining Out For Life organization. It helps the restaurants by getting their names out to potential customers and helps raise money for service organizations helping those with AIDS. 

It had been a few years since we participated, although we tend to go out to eat fairly often, but yesterday he wanted to go during the lunch hour. Fewer restaurants participate at lunch than at dinner, but we found one nearby and got there just before a thunderous storm let loose in our area.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Tortilla Press on Haddon Ave. in Collingswood, NJ. They donated 33% of their proceeds from yesterday's sales to the DOFL cause. That's proceeds, not profits. The Tortilla Press has another location in Pennsauken and both were participants. In fact, there were a half dozen restaurants in Collingswood that participated, one of which was The Pop Shop, a small retro shop that harkens back to the 50s whose specialty is grilled cheese sandwiches. They were featured a couple years ago on Bobby Flay's Throwdown.

We had originally wanted to go to IndeBlue, another Collingswood participant, but they were only participating during dinner hours and we wanted go to for lunch. The Pop Shop was our fall-back plan if The Tortilla Press was crowded. There were no crowds there, but they did a surprisingly brisk lunch pickup business, many from nearby residents.

Tom and I ordered Chicken Tortilla Soup. He had the beef fajitas for his main course and I opted for the Sonoran Chicken Burrito. I also got a small order of loaded Nachos - loaded with cheddar-jack & chihuahua cheeses, pickled jalapenos (I opted out of these), lettuce, black olives & guacamole with pico de gallo & mexican crème with my choice of taco beef, chicken or chorizo (I chose chicken) and a bottle of Sangria Mexican soda. 

The food was quickly cooked and brought to our table and beyond plentiful! I had barely gotten halfway through my loaded nachos when our meals arrived. I don't think I've ever seen a burrito so large and jam-packed full of rice, beans, chicken, grilled peppers and onions. It took two hands to handle this whopper of a burrito (to borrow an overused phrase from a fairly well-known fast food establishment), which was wrapped in foil. A side of sour cream and pico de gallo were also made available. 

Tom's meal consisted of strips of beef, green and red pepper strips and onion strips all grilled and mixed in a sauce very reminiscent of BBQ sauce (on the sweet side) with a side of rice and beans and several flour tortillas. Although it was very good, the sweetness wasn't something he had expected, so he was somewhat disappointed by that. 

I brought home half of both my burrito and my nachos and I plan to enjoy them again, probably later today. 

But, we not only were able to try a restaurant we'd never tried before, but one-third of our bill went to a good cause. I hope you will be a willing participant in next year's event. After all, you'll only have to do what you would already be doing - eating!

Video of the Restaurant - when this opens, the table immediately behind the chef is the table we sat at last night.


  1. What a great idea! I'd never heard about Dining Out for Life before. I'll be sure to look for a participating restaurant next time around.

    I’m A-Z Blogging and my “Y” post is right here.

  2. No, I did not participate because I didn't know about it. Excellent idea, I'll certainly take part next year. Thanks for the info.

    I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

  3. Great review of the food and restaurant and a wonderful cause.

  4. I read about it but did not participate. I think it is a great cause though. Nice review!

  5. Aw- no pickled jalapenos? ;) I wasn't aware of this special day, so thanks for teaching me something today.

  6. @KBalbify – It is a wonderful cause. And, if you’re in the habit of eating out anyway, all you have to do is arrange to go that one night during the year to one of the participating restaurants. Around here, they range from extremely high end to fitting anyone’s budget.
    @Amy – Thanks! It is a great cause.
    @Langley – It really is a great idea, isn’t it? I hope you do participate next year.
    @WordNerd – I’ve loved it since the first time I heard of it. Unfortunately, it’s been several years since we attended, but I hope that will change after this year.

  7. @PK - no pickled peppers for me. Not on my Chicken Habanero sandwich from Dominos, either. I like spicy, but I am not a fan of fiery. I like to taste my food before the heat kicks in! LOL

  8. I love Mexican food, especially Tortilla Soup. I had some in Mexico City that was to die for. Mexican restaurants in the UK are far and few between, and not very authentic either.

    I think the idea of dining out for charity is really good. Haven't heard of this before, but it does give you the excuse to dine out somewhere different as well.