Friday, October 10, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round Three

Ack! I better get to last weekend's visit before this weekend's arrives!

First stop...


Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree.

In previous years, this kiosk used to be Argentina. Apparently, this year, they decided to include the region instead of a single country, so that both Argentina and Chile could get some representation. This beef skewer is practically a Festival staple at this point. And I don't care that I get it every single year. The beef was there and tender and all that, but let's be honest. It's really just a vehicle for that chimichurri so I don't have to embarrass myself by licking my little paper dish. And any that is left over gets scooped up with boniato. I don't even know how many years they've offered this menu selection now (I could look, but I'm feeling lazy), but the boniato always amazes me. It's like potato and yet...not...but not in any way I could actually explain to you.

Sticking close by (in Fest terms, not actual geography) is...


Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle, and Rapini.

This is a dish that is better when each mouthful contains each piece of the whole and not as individual components. The rapini (which I am guessing, based on appearance, is in the broccoli family, of which I am an overall fan) is on the bitter side, for me, when it stands alone. But tempered with the tomato or some garlicky shrimp scales back its bitterness. The garlic on this one is dialed way up. Now, I like garlic, don't get me wrong, but I kind of wish it hadn't been so hot and humid, because I would have liked a glass of riesling with this, but I was going heavy on the water to keep myself hydrated instead. Blah. Water didn't add the extra flavor I think would have made this whole thing truly pop.

Sticking with the seafood note...


Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon.

It is not your imagination. Three rounds made at Food and Wine Fest, three visits to the Scotland kiosk. What can I say? They knocked it out. of. the park, this year. And this? OMG. I would fight you for that spinach. The scallop was ok (it's tricky to keep a scallop the right temperature and consistency in this type of high quantity environment and have it be excellent, so I keep my expectations realistic), but that cheesy spinach and that crispy bacon was to die for. Honestly. It's been almost a week and I am *still* thinking about that spinach.

At this point, it was time for some dessert, don't you think?


Creme Brulee Caramel Fluer de Sel.

For those of you who didn't take or retain enough high school French to figure out exactly what that says, this is a sea salt caramel creme brulee. Let's just take a moment to admire that caramelized sugar crust on top. I am convinced part of the fun of eating creme brulee is the little tap-tap-tap you have to do to break up that layer of sugar.

But let's talk about the what lies beneath now, yes? For ages, the creme brulee at this kiosk has been milk chocolate, which is good, of course, but I was ready for something new here. And this? This delivered. Look at that color. Perfectly caramel! Now, here's the thing about salted caramel. I like there to be just enough saltiness that I know it's there, but not so much I can actually pick out the saltiness. They nailed it with this. I think what surprised me most, though, was how light this dish was. It was creamy but not heavy, at all.

Which for one more!


Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins and Cream Cheese Icing.

Just look how pretty that is!

I should preface by saying that I don't generally consider something dessert if it contains veggies. Things like zucchini bread and carrot cake qualify as good snacks or (ahem) breakfast, but I eat all my veggies to *get* dessert. I don't want them *in* my dessert. However, a) I had already had my "real" dessert and b) did you see that icing?

The cake was very tasty. Not dry. Lots of spiciness. Good tang from the craisins. Which it needed, because I do like me some cream cheese icing, but I was starting to get concerned that it was going to send me into sugar shock. And there was a ton of it. I actually...left some on my plate. ::gasp:: I know. I know! My sole complaint: they did not mention the nuts. (Walnuts, maybe?) Now, I am not allergic and I don't know that it would have deterred me from adding it to my list, but I'm not a fan of nuts in my baked goods. (I like them in my trail mix or by the handful or in savory dishes, but my preference is that they not be in my brownies or cookies or cakes.) I guess I just would have liked to know.

And with that, I was stuffed, it was beyond disgustingly sticky, and the crowds were growing like crazy, since there was a race taking place, so it was time for me to scram.

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