For the third (or so) year in a row, Jean and I attended Foodlink’s Taste Local! Taste Fresh! event. This year, as in all previous, it was a beautiful, sunny day. The venu was new, however; a park in St. Jacob’s instead of at Victoria Park in Kitchener.
I had been emailed several times about this event, so was starting to wonder if ticket sales were slow. Apparently not, though, because there were plenty of people on hand. I later heard it sold out. This despite $65 ticket, which is arguably pretty expensive.
What you got for your money was access to 20 booths where local restaurants combine with local food producers to come up with a tasting dish. This year, in a nice touch, we each got a porcelain dish to get the food on, replacing the previous biodegradable styrofoam. As previous year’s, we left completely full from the experience, despite not having lunch first nor dinner after (though we did eat breakfast).
Best ingredient discovery: Ground emu. Which tastes very much like ground beef, as become clear in the mini emu burgers served by Benjamin’s. But it doesn’t have the health and environmental concerns that beef does. I want to get me more emu!
Most creative dish: Charbries’ tomato lollypop and tomato cotton candy. Delicious and nutritious! But seriously, reminded you that tomatoes are a fruit, yet not being a terribly sweet one, the cotton candy and lollypop weren’t sicky sweet. Very nicely done.
Most popular dish: Ironically, the one we simply did not have room for, as we kept waiting for the line to diminish — and it never did. This was Art Bar’s mini hot dogs, hand made with local organic beef.
Also pretty darn popular, and we did try this: Whole Lotta Gelata’s Fire and Ice, which combined a piece of local beef (again) with savory gelato: garlic, chipotle flavor. Actually, very good.
Clearly, this was a meatatarian crowd.
Most useful information: That Uptown21 has a few special dinners coming up in October, including one on October 29, partnered with WordsWorth, featuring recipes by Lucy Waverman (Globe food writer). You also get a copy of her cookbook.
New restaurant discovery: Duke Street Muse, a vegetarian restaurant and cafe, which made a nice curried veggied dip. Because we sometimes do have to dine with vegetarians.
And actually, the vegetarian contingent acquitted itself nicely. For example, we really enjoyed the veggies and herbed cheese balls from The Children Museum’s Exhibit Cafe, and also the delicious ginger pumpkin cheezecake by Divinely Raw.
Also noteworthy: Uptown21’s smoked lamb fantastico was delicious, if messy; 20 King’s beet cannoli’s were delicious; and it’s hard to go wrong with baked brie from Harmony Organics (by Vidalia’s).
Funniest moment: Talking with the representative from Lyndon fish hatcheries, whom we’d previously sat with at one of those local chef’s gala dinners we go to: “Oh, I remember you. You’re the ones who blogged about us!”