January 21, 2013

It's January, why am I writing about Oktoberfest Zinzinnati?

If you read my previous post, you know I was on the injured list for a while.  Recovering from knee surgery shouldn't have kept me from blogging, but it did.  Certainly didn't keep me from eating!

The weekend before my surgery was Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and I went on both Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday was super-windy and chilly but I went during the day on Sunday and was able to embark more-fully on food adventure.  One of my friends found out Julie Niesen Gosdin of Wine Me Dine Me was doing food tours at Oktoberfest and it turned out to be an informative little food frenzy. I'd say I got a different taste of Oktoberfest than I have in years past; pun intended.

Since it's been a while, some of the details have slipped my mind but I tried to remember at least the name of the dish and what I liked about it.

First off, can't go to Oktoberfest without a cream puff.  Honestly, I don't really like cream puffs. They're ok, but it's not something I crave or feel like I just have to have.  My sister, on the other hand, can't get enough cream puff.  She insisted this one from Schmidt's of German Village had a slight taste of pickles in the custard. I concurred.
If I'm not mistaken this is a Rivertown Oktoberfest, in the fun and festive Oktoberfest Zinzinnati plastic stein.
And some goetta mac and cheese.  I can't remember which food vendor was selling this item but I think there was only one doing so.  I'd definitely get this again but would probably split it due to its heaviness.
The goetta reuben, or goetta Brawny Lad as I like to call it, was the most unexpected hit of our little food tour.  I wasn't sure it would be that great but this was one flavorful and satisfying sandwich.  I will be getting this next year for sure!
I forgot to snap a picture of my cinnamon sugar pretzel from Heidi's Strudel before I devoured more than half of it. These pretzels were buttery and soft and amazing and I can't believe this was the first time I tried it.  I tried the plain pretzel as well as the cinnamon sugar, both get two thumbs up.
The next two items were both from Hey Hey.  The chicken and noodles didn't meet up to my high expectations.  Perhaps a little too salty and not enough of a natural chicken flavor. 
Hey Hey's potato pancakes more than made up for it, though.  These delicious little nests of shredded potato and spices made my day! 
Served with a side of sour cream and apple sauce...
Just for the record, most of this food was split between three people during our food tour.  I really think that's the best way to go about experiencing the most variety and bang for your buck with food festivals.  You get enough of the food to taste it but you don't end up so stuffed that you can't enjoy it.  I'm happy I got the chance find some new favorites!

January 5, 2013

Newport Kroger Wine Pairing Dinner

When you think of a 5-course meal with wine pairings what restaurants come to mind?  Nicola's? The Palace?  The Orchid at Palm Court?  Yep, that's what comes to my mind.  I've been to a couple of those restaurants and had lovely experiences.  But would you believe that Newport Kroger Marketplace provides the same thing for a fraction of the cost? It's no secret I can't say enough good things about the culinary team at Newport Kroger; quite unexpected from a grocery store chain.  I frequent the Friday evening wine tastings at the Newport Kroger Liquor store but Kroger has recently started offering a full wine pairing dinner once a month. 

The progressive meal is prepared by the chefs and a representative from a wine distributor chooses the wine to be paired with each course.  There is a brief overview of each type of wine and why it pairs nicely with the course. 

Here is the menu from November's wine pairing dinner.  The pictures are in the order each course was served, so fairly self-explanatory.  The cost of the meal and wine pairings is $20 a person or $30 for two people.

I enjoyed each course but the home-made artisan bread was my favorite part of the evening. I'm looking forward to many more wine pairing dinners in the future.  It's always exciting to see what the chefs put together for each month's menu.