Graduations mean . . . cake?

April showers bring muddy May graduations. I shouldn't be so ungrateful - after four days of rain we were blessed with muggy heat and sun for the day's celebrations at Howard University. There were tents everywhere in the event a wayward shower came our way.

The College of Medicine had quite a crowd and spread under their canopy. The caterer served up more dishes than I could count (I was too busy schmoozing anyway). There were mini Jamaican beef patties and several other meat dishes which I missed. The salads included mozzerella and grape tomato along with a really good cucumber/cilantro combination. It was so good, it inspired me to duplicate it (more on that next week). This reception served as my initial grazing ground for the day. Later on there was my niece Leandra's luncheon at Utopia on U St.

The art-filled Utopia was a great choice because of its proximity to Howard after she received her Masters in Social Work. We enjoyed Blackened U-Street Shrimp (eh, so-so), Mozzarella de Pomodoro (my second of the day),Mussels marinated tomato white wine sauce (not bad) and mussels in a lemon caper cream sauce (fantastic! I wanted to sop the sauce with everyone elses' bread) and a boring hard Herbed Bruschetta.

I ordered the Spinach & Mozzarella sandwich which turned out to be dull and uneventful. Luckily we spent a lot of time toasting Leandra's achievement with Dom Perignon 2000 - not the best year but smooth enough for the non-drinkers in the party - to ignore the barely seasoned sandwich. My husband had a philly cheese steak that was long on roll and light on the steak. Other diners were pleased with their entrees blackened catfish and jambalaya.

The high point of the meal was the Strawberry Kiwi cake created by Desserts by Gerard. The whipped cream frosting with embedded strawberries surrounded a cake with a wonderful texture - not too fine and not too large and crumbly. The sweet and fresh creation was the perfect ending to five glasses of champagne (Well, I wasn't driving!).

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