This year, 2014, was my very first time attending the Food and Wine festival, and I was so excited! I didn’t get to try as much as I would have liked, but hopefully there will be future trips. Due to being sick for half a day that I was planning for F&W, I also lost a little time. But I still wanted to share with you all the things that I did try and what I thought of them.
Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies – $6.25
Yum! Everything about this dish was delicious. The lamb was cooked well, and I loved the mint pesto (that might have been the best part). The potato crunchies also added the perfect level of crunch and texture. Definitely one of my top dishes from the festival!
Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – $3.50
This was the perfect dessert treat. The waffle was very warm and right out of the waffle maker. I loved the berries and whipped cream too. Relatively simple, but very good!
Moqueca de Pescado – Regal Springs Fresh Tilapia featuring Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice – (gluten free) $4.50
While this was nice, it wasn’t anything super special. A light, pleasant taste, but the flavors (especially the coconut lime sauce) weren’t as strong as I was hoping. Still, if you enjoy fish, it’s pretty good.
Pao de Queijo – Brazilian cheese bread – $3.25
Another very good one. I thought the portion size of two nice sized cheese breads was pretty generous, and good for sharing. They were rather filling though, with the bread and the cheese – can’t really go wrong with that combo!
Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichaun Noodles – $5.50
The shrimp were kind of small, but I really enjoyed the taste of everything in this dish. The only thing I wasn’t sure of, though, was if it was supposed to be served cold or if I just happened to get a cold one? Because it wasn’t chilled, but it certainly wasn’t hot. I think I would’ve preferred it warm.
Desserts & Champagne
Dessert Trio: Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, blueberry lime cheesecake roll, and chocolate espresso opera cake – $4.00
Definitely a contender for the title of “best thing I ate at the festival.” All three of these little desserts were delicious. The chocolate espresso cake was probably my least favorite, as I’m not a huge fan of espresso. But the flavors were not too overpowering. The blueberry lime cheesecake was bursting with fruity flavor, and the passion fruit creamsicle had pretty much all of my favorite things. Soo good!
- Florida Orange Groves, Key Limen, Key Lime Wine – $2.75
Easily the worst thing that I had at the festival. I love sweet wines, but this was way too sickly sweet for me. It just tasted like syrup. I basically forced it down so I didn’t feel like I was throwing my money away. Everyone says to try the hash here, so maybe in the future!
Tartelette aux escargots: Escargot tart with garlic, spinach, bacon and parmesan – $5.35
Lots of yummy stuff going on here. Escargots aren’t my favorite, but I was willing to give it a chance. The taste of them is pretty much overpowered by everything else, which is very good. Not my favorite but I’m glad I tried it.
La Passion Martini Slush: vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice – $9.95
I love the France slushies, so I had to try this new passion fruit one. It was pretty good, but very sweet – luckily I like sweet! Though I will say that I do think I prefer the orange Grand Marnier one that is there year round.
Altenmünster Oktoberfest – $3.25
I’ve only recently gotten into beers, but this was a good one. I like Oktoberfests, and this one was light and pleasant.
Kālua Pork Slider with sweet and sour Dole® Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise – $3.75
This was a real pleasant surprise for me, as I’m not a huge pork fan and I don’t like mayo very much, so I wasn’t sure what I would think. It was very good though! I loved the pineapple, it added so much flavor. The bun was really good too.
Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine – $3.50
Unlike the key wine lime, this one was sweet without being overly so. I loved the pineapple flavor – it was my favorite wine that I tried.
Hops and Barley
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat® – $3.50
I was disappointed by this. I love fruit wheat beers – some of my favorites that I’ve had are a raspberry wheat beer and a tangerine wheat beer. This one tasted okay, but the aftertaste was rather unpleasant. I heard someone else describe it as tasting like cherry cough syrup and I could definitely get that.
Baked lobster alfredo – $6.25
No picture because I didn’t order this, just had a bite of a friend’s – but I wanted to mention it because it was really good! It tasted like a lobster mac and cheese, the flavors were very rich. Because of that I think it might be difficult to eat for the Food and Wine festival – especially when you’re out in the hot sun and want to try a lot of things. Very rich and filling, but wonderful flavor.
Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie – $6.25
Another great one. The mashed potatoes were nice, and the inside of the pie was filled with lobster and shrimp – they definitely didn’t skimp. And the sauce they were in was very tasty, though this was a heavier dish for the festival.
Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce – $4.95
Another one that’s in my top 5 for certain. I love sushi, and this one a nice size with great flavor. It had the perfect amount of spiciness for me.
Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri (gluten free) – $4.75
The salmon that I got was cooked very nicely, and the quinoa was good too. I liked the chimichurri but I was expecting a little more from it after what I’d heard. Certainly not a bad dish, but not one of my absolute favorites either.
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé – $2.50
This is what it is – basically a cheap rose, nothing terribly special. Reminded me a lot of a white zinfandel.
Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon (gluten free) – $4.50
The scallop was cooked well (which can be tricky with scallops) but the gratin really elevated this dish to another level taste-wise. Spinach, cheddar, and bacon combined with a scallop – can’t go wrong with that! I only wish there were more of it.
Innis & Gunn® Original – $3.50
My favorite drink at the festival and a contender for best beer I’ve ever had, period. The flavor was different than anything else I’d had before. It was sweet but not too much so, and not too bitter.
Lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice (gluten free) – $3.75
This was a little disappointing for me. The flavor was okay, but more subtle than I was expecting for a curry. Plus, I think I just got an unfortunate portion size – I got a very small amount and almost no chicken, all rice.
Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw – $3.75
I really appreciated the fact that this was nice and light. With so many heavy options at the festival, it was refreshing to have something like a lettuce wrap. The pork was really, really juicy, and I enjoyed the slaw too. A solid choice.
Bokbunjajoo: Bohae black raspberry wine – $4.25
Also a good flavor to this wine. It was very dark but it wasn’t dry at all – and despite being black raspberry it wasn’t particularly sweet either. Very smooth.
Fresh Watermelon Juice – $2.75
This is really simple, but so good. It was hot when I was there, and the watermelon juice was so refreshing. It tastes very pure – if you like watermelon you’ll love it!
What do you love from the Food and Wine Festival? Or if you haven’t been, what sounds the best?