July 10, 2011

Yelp Eats Iron Chef Cook-off

I attended my first Yelp Eats event last Thursday.  Yelp organized a local iron chef cook-off at Eat Well, a local catering company on Monmouth Street in Newport.  The event started at 7 and the place was packed by the time I arrived.  I managed to maneuver my way through the crowd and check out the offerings. 

My first stop was the Iron Horse table which included a chilled creamed corn soup and a couple varieties of hummus with pita chips.
I tried several tasty dishes and took a lot of (blurry!) pics.  If I had another arm I would have snapped a picture of everything I tried, but I was afraid of dropping my food and making a scene in an already chaotic environment.  In addition to Iron Horse I also tried a delicious vegetarian lasagna from Bella Luna, fettuccine alfredo from Blinker's tavern (nice but could have used a dash of salt), and a couple bites of buffalo chicken mac'n cheese from Keystone.  I was a little carbed-out by that point but later in the evening someone brought out a tray of goetta-dogs, yum!  Oh, FYI, there is more than one way to make a smoothie...

Around 7:30 it was time for the cook-off to start and the DJ announced that the secret ingredient would be goetta, yay!  The chefs included: Chef Matt from Virgil's, Chef Josh from Mayberry / The Skinny Pig, Chef Steven Shockley from Date, Chef Mark of Parker's Blue Ash Tavern and Chef Bella Dolce from Roxy's.  I was standing in front of chef Stephen during the prep time so I didn't get to see what all the cooks were up to, but the aromas that filled the room were amazing!

Chef Stephen prepared goetta meatballs, dredged in egg wash then bread crumbs and fried.  The goetta balls were served over what appeared to be a beet and cabbage Greek yogurt slaw and topped each with a poached egg. 

I visited the judge's table while they tasted a couple of the dishes.  At this point the room had become quite smoky from the open flames and I decided to make my exit.  Thanks to a Facebook status update by 365 Cincinnati (one of the judges!) I learned that chef Josh won the competition. 

I can't wait until my next Yelp Eats event.  July 11-17 is Yelp's "tasting week" in Cincinnati.  Several local restaurants will be offering a 1/2 price menu on selected appetizers, entrees and desserts.  Check it out!

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