Edibles Between The Stacks A Grand Success

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Chef Karl Schaller busily tops meringue cookies with vanilla sauce and toasted coconut.

Saturday evening, people were lined up from the parking lot to the doors of the Payson Public Library.

They waited patiently to turn in their tickets for a tray and wine glass at A Taste of Rim Country.

Inside, friends bumped into friends, as people wound their way between the stacks to sample mouthwatering morsels cooked up by Rim Country chefs.

Chef Karl Schaller, of Majestic Rim Senior Apartments won the Best of the Best trophy, as voted on by patrons at the event.

He made two appetizers, a Southwest shrimp cocktail and, a grilled shrimp wrapped in Black Forest ham on a stuffed mushroom.

Schaller's complex dessert was a coconut meringue cookie, topped with a mixture of raspberries, strawberries and, blackberries soaked in Kahlua, topped with another meringue cookie, dipped in chocolate and topped with vanilla sauce and toasted coconut.

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Ed Blair checks out the silent auction with Library Friends member Karen Bruns. Pictured below: Robert Foter and Talia Schaal share a smile from behind dessert laden tables at Longhorn Culinary's Blue Moo Café.

Chef Kevin DeWitt of the Zane Grey Steakhouse and Saloon came in a close second for his pot stickers and double chocolate mousse.

The library sold 310 $30 tickets. The 50-50 drawing earned the winner and the library each $270. The silent action brought in an additional $1,000.

After minimal expenses, the event raised about $10,000 for the expansion project, reference librarian Bessie Tucker said.

Rick DePhillipis, executive chef and manager of Cedar Ridge Restaurant at the Mazatzal Casino, made enough Devil Crab Stuffed Mushrooms for everyone to sample two. His trays were empty 55 minutes into the event.

People tucked in line near the library director's office to sample the Southwestern Eggrolls Kenny Tassell and Maria Osorio of Chili's Bar and Restaurant offered.

"My favorite was the Italian Wedding soup," Dean Gooding said.

Chef Tim Young made Italian Wedding, Chicken Tortilla and Cream of Mushroom Soups.

Members of the Payson Learning Institute brought tasty bars and Chef Randy Ortega of the Rim Golf Club made Chocolate Vodka, Strawberry Daiquiri and Bailey's Irish Cream Mousse Tarts.

Gerardo Moceri of Gerardo's Italian Bistro teamed up with Payson High School teacher Devon Wells' culinary arts students to bring a variety of scrumptious desserts to the "Blue Moo Café." Patrons selected from Berries and Cream Cake, Bavarian Torte, Monkey Bread, Dirt Cake and Tres Leche Cake.

The line was long for chef and owner of the Red Elephant Bakery, Leonie Dobbins' Vegetable Cheesecake with Nut Crust and Almond Chocolate Truffle Bars.

Down the hall in the meeting room, Library Friend Karen Bruns watched over silent auction items.

"I'm smelling the good food, but I haven't been out of this room yet," Bruns said.

"We had really good responses from everyone," Terry Morris, library director said.

"The people that commented to me said the atmosphere was so nice and, that they enjoyed being here. A lot of them had never been to the library before, so that was an experience in itself," Morris added.

With the success of 2008, Morris expects to hold the 2009 event at the library.

"We thank the chefs, the people who donated to the silent auction, Fred Carpenter for DJ-ing the music and the people that bought tickets and came," Morris said.

Library Friends of Payson had $224,462.34 of the $1,300,000 needed for library expansion in the building fund prior to Saturday, Feb. 23.

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