We were invited to a presentation last night at the NJ Governor's Mansion (the mansion's name is Drumthwacket - gotta love it!), to bring together different interest groups in the area of spinal cord research - clinicians, researchers, educators, pharmaceutical companies, and government. Group of about 200 of the highest movers and shakers in the state in these fields. The party planning and catering sucked. period. The event was held under a tent at 7 p.m.; last night, at 7 p.m., it was 80 degrees outside, no fans in the tent, and no vents. Inside, in the drawing room of the house (which is fantastic, so revolutionary era and so much history there!), there was a table set up with dessert munchies and coffe/tea urns. Critique - The desserts were all 'packaged', except for one - chocolate covered strawberries, bananas, and pineapple, which, yep, you guessed it - was melted all over the place. The rest of the stuff - cookies, mini-fruit tarts, brownies, petit-fours, all looked like stuff I could pick up at the grocery store. And there were only the hot drinks available; I asked the caterers twice for a glass of water for my son, and even suggested once that they bring out some pitchers of water, as I heard other folks questioning why there was nothing cold to drink, but no response. The gig was catered by a name I recognized as one of the bigger outfits in Princeton. Just don't understand it. I'm sure they (ultimately we the taxpayers!!) were charged top dollar, and was infuriated at the junk that was served!!! The servers weren't the sharpest nails in the toolbox either - I saw more of them catching smokes in the back than were circulating in the crowd. Another event we attended where I was grossly disappointed was a fundraiser for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, hosted by the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC; a full dress formal affair for about 2000 people, Paul Newman and other big celebs there. Full dinner, Russian table service (that was the only impressive thing about the dinner - those 60 year old guys with the white gloves sure could teach a thing or two - they were artists!). The food - well, the appetizer was some kind of stacked tortilla thingy - I've been trying to figure out for two years what the filling was, and have never been able to. Dinner was filet - cold; garlic/mushroom demi - waaaay too garlicky (and I'm a garlic hound), and lukewarm; asparagus - must have been blanched for about 10 seconds, still raw; roasted baby potatoes - underdone, and cold. Dessert was vanilla ice cream and pkg. cookies. I hope the Waldorf donated the food - sure hope the Foundation didn't have to pay too much for that!!!! Maybe my expectations were too high, but I really expected something better.