Sunday, October 21, 2012

Food and Wine Fest 2012: Round Three

Round Three was a bit more comfortable on the weather front, but with better weather come throngs of locals. I was glad to have my list pre-planned so I could hit my targets and get back out again. It was challenging to find a good place to sit and eat and get some photos. I hit the ground running and went straight to...


Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie.

For as long as I have been attending Food and Wine Fest, Ireland's menu has not changed. Of course, when you have food that tastes this good, I guess the fallout and riots from changing might outweigh the benefits of offering new dishes? The Fisherman's Pie is delicious. Creamy mashed potatoes over veggies and seafood swimming in lobster bisque. It's satisfying but not heavy. And since I was starving when I arrived, it was fortuitous that this is where I was slated to start the day.

The edge taken off my hunger, I made my way to...


Creme Brulee au Chocolat au Lait (chocolate milk creme brulee topped with caramelized sugar).

Creme brulee is creme brulee, for the most part, other than whatever flavor it happens to be. In this case, the chocolate is subtle and the texture was a bit lighter than the typical custard-y gelatinousness (yep, it's now a word). There's nothing quite like tapping the glass-like layer of caramelized sugar to get into the cremy goodness below. I've had this very creme brulee in the past, for other Food and Wine Fests, but I skipped it last year, so I was ready to revisit this old friend.

Since I was already "eating out of order" (a meal-type dish, followed by a dessert, on my first two stops of the day), I kept with the trend in...


Sukiyaki Beef Pan (marinated thinly sliced rib eye with sauteed onions and teriyaki sauce served in a bun).

A new dish for the Fest, I had been looking forward to this one. The beef had a nice flavor from the onions and teriyaki, and the bun was nice and fresh. However, I kind of ruined this one for myself. The sauce and juices from the meat make for a soggy bun when you spend five minutes searching for a spot to sit and another five minutes taking photos, looking for the right one. I ended up eating the parts of the bun you can see in the photo and the meat with a fork.

I tossed the soggy mess remaining and set out for...


White Corn Arepa with Pork Rillette and Sweet Corn Salad. Florida Orange Groves Key Limen.

Since this booth is a newcomer to Food and Wine Fest, all its offerings were new as well! I had tried the ceviche here in Round One, which had me mildly concerned going into this one. I didn't need to be worried though! The arepa was a crispy-on-the-outside, light-on-the-inside corn cake with shredded pork filling. I took a tentative nibble...and then you would have had to move quickly to snag a bite! I loved the way the flavors and textures paired. And the sweet corn salad? Excellent! This whole dish tasted just like summer. But even after all that... It was the wine that blew my mind! I had *no* idea what to expect. There was a heavy crowd at the Florida Local booth, so I didn't have the opportunity to read the big sign explaining more about the local wine selections (at least not without being inconsiderate and in the way). One sip made me do a double take. I've never tasted anything like it. It was like key lime pie in a glass! Slightly-sweet-but-more-tart lime was the clear flavor. And I have been thinking about ever since!

Just next door waited my next tasty treat at...


Linda Bean's Maine Home Style Clam Chowder.

First of all, whatever this "Manhattan clam chowder" nonsense is I hear of? I won't even acknowledge it. New England clam chowder is the one and only way to go. This one was nice, if a little more salty than T makes ours, and the potatoes were perfect creamy perfection. Did I mention the potatoes were perfect? Because the melted right there in your mouth. The one thing this chowdah was lacking, at least in my little bowl, was a reasonable amount of clams. It is, after all, starring right there in the name of the dish. There should be more than the two little pieces you see there on my spoon.

I was starting to get full but I powered on. Next up...


Schinken Nudel (pasta gratin with ham and cheese). JH Selbach Riesling Classic.

I was excited to try another new dish. Sadly, this one was kind of a bust. It tasted all right, like macaroni and cheese with bits of ham, but the consistency was all wrong for me. The noodles were exactly as my beloved Gram would have made (one of the few dishes she served that I didn't care for was macaroni and cheese, for this same reason): overcooked and mooshy. I don't like nearly-crunchy pasta, but I do like it to have a little firmness to it when I take a bite. This had none. I washed down about two-thirds of it with my wine, a surprisingly dry(ish) (for a Riesling) Riesling. It was crisp and almost had a little "bite" to it. Citrus-y perhaps? It was nice, just not the sweetness I was expecting to roll over my tongue.

Due to my partially uneaten last course from Germany, I had a little bit of room left and I wanted something sweet from...



I really enjoyed this last year and this was just the way to end this round. A nice moist yellow cake with a rich fudgy chocolate frosting and a generous coating of shredded coconut. Delicious! Coconut is, in my experience, a love it or hate it food. I happen to fall into the former camp. You really can't taste the coconut with all that chocolate frosting, but it creates a little textural interest to each bite.

Ending this round with a known "thumbs up" dessert was the way to go. Especially since it will be two weeks til I get back for the next spin around the world.

1 with their own thoughts:

*krystyn* Friday, November 02, 2012 8:36:00 AM  

Oh man, I have this love/hate thing with reading these W&F Fest's like torturing myself I suppose. It looks fabulous & so very of these days I'll get there for it. I hope.

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