Browsing articles tagged with " food festivals"
Jul 28, 2014
Tina George

‘Eating America with Anthony Anderson’ premieres on the Food Network

Anthony Anderson, star of ABC’s new sitcom “Black-ish,” has another new show coming to the airwaves. This new unscripted series is titled
“Eating America with Anthony Anderson” and will take viewers to every corner of the country to explore culinary delights.

Anderson’s speciality is hitting up food festivals that are associated with particular regions of the country. In addition to sampling the local cuisine, Anderson will interview the people behind such festivals as the Long Grove Strawberry Festival in Illinois, a steak festival in Arkansas, Ribfest in Chicago, the South Carolina Poultry Festival and the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival in Delaware.

“Eating America with Anthony Anderson” premieres Monday, July 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Food Network.

Recommended Reading

Jul 27, 2014
Tina George

Food lovers await their Big Day Out

Dominic White and
Jemima Whyte

Rock star chefs could end up commanding the same sort of performance fees as big-name music acts and undermine the success of food festivals, according to Big Day Out co-founder and restaurant owner Ken West.

“Any time anything is successful, there is a desperate need for people to get in on the action, to duplicate it, but they are not understanding, that there is limited talent,” he told Channel Nine’s Financial Review Sunday program. “Sure, you can say that there’s res­taurants everywhere, but in actual fact, there’s key players in this thing.

“If there are 20 food festivals around Australia, then people say I can only do this one, over that one. Someone offers money to do one over another.”

Mr West co-founded the pioneering Big Day Out music festival, which ­earlier this month cancelled next year’s event. Big Day Out was the ­country’s most successful one-day music festival, spawning many imi­tators, but spiralled out of control as ­artists commanded higher and higher performance fees. Industry revenue for music festivals peaked in 2010 at more than $100 million.

Fascination with food here to stay

Chef and restaurant owner Matt Moran hit back at the allegation, saying people were more interested in food than the celebrity. “Food festivals have been around for a while, but most people are more interested in food, and not so much in the celebrity,” the owner of Sydney’s Aria and Chiswick restaurants told the program.

“More and more people are interested in what they are eating, where it comes from and who’s producing it.”

He said fascination with food was here to stay.

“The bubble is never going to burst; not with food, not nowadays. People say with food it’s a fad; it’s not: it’s reality.”

Traditional media companies – including Fairfax Media, publisher of The Australian Financial Review, Nine Entertainment and News Corp – are increasingly focusing on events, although so far they only contribute a small portion of earnings.

Brisbane’s Night Noodle Market, which is run by Fairfax, was held at the weekend and was expected to attract about 200,000 people.

Festival scene evolving

“Chefs are the new rock stars,” said Fairfax’s managing director of marketing services, Andrew McEvoy.

Mr McEvoy is also a former ­Tourism Australia chief. He said all ­festivals had limited lifespans, and that the festival scene was evolving.

“Like all things, festivals have a life cycle and things like Homebake and Big Day Out are maybe coming to an end, but others are growing and they are becoming more specific. And they’re really targeting an audience that loves what they have to offer.”

Mr McEvoy was recently tasked with having to triple the size of Fairfax Media’s events business to $100 million in about four years.

Fairfax generates multiple revenue streams from the City2Surf. This is a model that Mr McEvoy is keen on. His ­strategy is not just to sponsor events but to own and run them. He is keen on events where Fairfax makes money through sponsorship deals, partici­pation revenue and a clip of the ticket on merchandise and digital revenues.

Fairfax is not the only media company expanding into the $2 billion events sector: Nine Entertainment Co and Seven West Media are also among those looking to offset trad­itional revenues.

But critics say events can be a low-margin and high-risk business: a rainy day may wipe out your profit margin on some outdoor events.

Recommended Reading

Jul 27, 2014
Tina George

Food lovers’ next big day out

Deborah Knight, Financial Review Sunday: Well it has been a big weekend for festivals with music lovers camping out for local and foreign acts at Splendour in the Grass and foodies and families flocking to the Night Noodle Markets in Brisbane. The festival scene, though, has changed quite a lot over the years and as The Australian Financial Review’s media editor Dominic White reports, it is providing new opportunities for traditional companies.

Dominic White, Financial Review reporter: For almost two decades, it was one of the most successful music festivals in the world.

Newsclip recording: More than 80 performers, 60 bands and eight stages featuring a non-stop 12-hour shift of live entertainment.

White: Then the Big Day Out descended into uncontrolled chaos – headline acts not turning up, angry sponsors and in-fighting. Ticket sales flagged, and a few weeks ago next year’s event was cancelled.

Ken West, founder, Big Day Out: The Big Day Out produced a myriad of events based on its success. A lot failed, some worked, [and] eventually the Big Day Out got chipped away at from below.

White: Industry revenues peaked in 2010 at more than $100 million. But with more festivals competing for limited talent, the price of big-name acts soared.

Now the festivals doing well are those like Splendour in the Grass, which focus on one genre of music. This year, the three-day indie music event sold out in under two hours.

Andrew McEvoy, in marketing at Fairfax Media and a former managing director of Tourism Australia: Like all things, festivals have a life-cycle and things like Homebake [and] Big Day Out are maybe coming towards the end of theirs. But others are growing, and I think they are becoming more specific and they’re really targeting an audience that loves what they have to offer.

White: That’s where food festivals come in.

McEvoy: People have always loved eating and drinking; food festivals are the counter-intuitive [reaction] to technology. People want to gather; they want to eat well and drink well and be amongst friends.

Matt Moran, chef: More and more people are interested in what they are eating, where it comes from and who’s producing it.

White: In its first week 100,000 people turned up here at the Brisbane Night Noodle Markets. They are here for a fun night out, but the big drawcard is the food. The critics say the fad won’t last, but foodies say it’s here to stay.

West: Any time anything is successful, there is a desperate need for people to get in on the action, to duplicate it. But they are not understanding that there is limited talent. Sure, you can say that there are restaurants everywhere, but in actual fact there are key players in this thing.

Moran: Nah, the bubble’s never going to burst – not with food, not nowadays. People say the whole cooking phenomenal is a fad; it’s not. It’s reality.

White: Food festivals are hard work for restaurateurs, but the crowds can make it worthwhile. By the time the Fairfax Media Night Noodle Markets packs up tonight in Brisbane, 200,000 people will have visited.

McEvoy: That’s great turnover for these smaller businesses and much better turnover than they would otherwise do in a month like July.

White: Then there’s the publicity.

Moran: It makes the restaurant busy, there is no question whatsoever.

White: But organisers of food events shouldn’t get complacent. Pop culture festivals are now on the rise.

McEvoy: Just recently there was a Game of Thrones free exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Sydney and the numbers were enormous.

White: Listed media companies are cashing in on events to take pressure off print and TV revenues. Right now, food festivals are in the sweet spot.

McEvoy: Chefs are the new rock stars and, you know, if there is a comparison they are probably what music’s always had.

Knight: That’s making me hungry and Geoff’s daughter, Amelia, is at Splendour in the Grass this weekend. You are watching that with great interest?

Geoff Wilson, Wilson Asset Management: Great interest – I was trying to see if I could pick her out there.

Knight: She’ll be fine.

Recommended Reading

Jul 26, 2014
Tina George

Chefs celebrate summer’s bounty of tomatoes in dishes with a difference

Three chefs and a bartender walk into a restaurant to talk about tomatoes.

No. The punch line isn’t ketchup. But as it turns out, if pressed, the chefs say they can get a little tired of the bounty of the summer garden. And even for the most creative among them, it’s sometimes difficult to think up new tomato recipes

In Atlanta, it’s a bigger challenge come Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival time. In its sixth year, the annual benefit for Georgia Organics features some 30 farmers, 50 chefs and 20 mixologists, who come together to show off their tomato growing, cooking and mixing skills for a good cause.

This year, chef Joe Schafer of King + Duke is offering up smoked tomato consommé with poached oysters, bacon, cucumbers and tomatoes

“We wanted to go pretty light,” Schafer says. “There will be a lot of people at this event showcasing their stuff, so this should be something a little different, with a little higher degree of difficulty and a couple of different tomato preparations.

“But I’m always impressed by what I try. To take something basic like a tomato, and have all these different chefs try to do something different, is really interesting. It’s something I definitely pay attention to.”

Chef Matt Basford of Canoe is making avocado butter lettuce “soup” with spiced heirloom tomato sorbet and crisped smoked bacon.

“I like summer and like using tomatoes in all sorts of ways,” Basford says. “The sorbet has some heat from Tabasco sauce. The ‘soup,’ which is an avocado and butter lettuce emulsion gives it a nice smooth, cool effect, while the bacon adds a smoky crunch.”

Chef Derek Dollar of Milton’s Cuisine Cocktails put together a cornbread tomato salad that reflects the simple goodness of the crops that are grown at his restaurant’s small farm, dubbed Milton’s Acre.

“Our farm produces a lot of tomatoes,” Dollar says. “We’ll probably do about 3,000 pounds of 15-20 different organic heirloom varieties this season, so we do just about everything we can with them. But they’re so fresh and good, we like to use them raw. This cornbread tomato salad kind of has that farmhouse feel, I think.”

Bartender Mercedes O’Brien of Gunshow found inspiration for a tomato cocktail from one of her favorite summer snacks, the spicy Limonatta fruit cup at Lottafrutta Gourmet Fruit House in Atlanta.

“That fruit cup is the best because of the Tajin chile seasoning,” O’Brien says. “You can find it in Latin markets and it’s so good sprinkled on fresh fruit.

“There are three different kinds of tomato flavors in the cocktail — yellow for brightness and cherry for pop and sweetness, then there’s tomato water in the ice cube, which gives you even more flavor as it melts.”


These Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival chef’s recipes showcase dishes and drinks from summer’s bounty.

Farmhouse Cornbread Tomato Salad

By Chef Derek Dollar, Milton’s Cuisine Cocktails

Hands on: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Serves: 2-4

This simple summer tomato salad gets a savory kick from cornbread and a tangy edge from white balsamic vinegar. Toasting the cornbread cubes keeps them crispy.

2 cups cornbread, diced into 1-inch cubes

½ cup red cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup Sungold cherry tomatoes halved

½ cup cucumber, 1-inch dice

¼ cup chopped purple basil

¼ cup sliced red onion

¼ cup corn, grilled and taken off the cob

¼ cup rendered bacon, crumbled

white balsamic vinaigrette to taste, see recipe

Preheat oven to 350. Toast the cornbread cubes until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, cucumber, purple basil, sliced red onion, and the cooled cornbread. Add the white balsamic vinaigrette, season with salt pepper, and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Plate the salad and scatter the grilled corn and bacon over the top.

Per serving, with one cup vinaigrette: 616 calories (percent of calories from fat, 53), 11 grams protein, 62 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 37 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 47 milligrams cholesterol, 1,006 milligrams sodium.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Hands on: 15 minutes Total time: 15 minutes

Makes: 2 cups

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 ½ teaspoons chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped basil

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

1 ½ tablespoons dry oregano

1 cup olive oil

salt and white pepper to taste

In a blender, combine all ingredients, except the olive oil. While the blender is running, slowly add the oil and emulsify, and season with salt and white pepper.

Per 2-tablespoon serving: 112 calories (percent of calories from fat, 94), trace protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 18 milligrams sodium.

Smoked Tomato Consommé With Poached Oysters, Bacon, Cucumbers and Tomatoes

By Chef Joe Schafer, King + Duke

Hands on: 45 minutes Total time: 4 hours, includes 1 hour for smoking the tomatoes and 2 hours for steeping.

Serves: 4

Smoking tomatoes gives them a rich, concentrated quality. Oysters and bacon add more layers of flavor to this light and elegant sip of summer.

For the tomato water:

18 large red tomatoes, cored and cut in half

1 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh mint

2 tablespoons salt

Smoke the tomatoes in a covered grill or smoker at 90-100 degrees for about an hour. Transfer the tomatoes to a large mixing bowl with a few pinches of salt, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Fill a sauce pot, slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl, half way with water. Place on medium heat and set the bowl on top of the pot, double boiler style.

Steep the tomatoes for about 2 hours to allow them to release their liquid.

Remove the bowl and strain the tomato juice through several layers of cheesecloth to remove the solids and to produce a clear tomato water.

While still warm, pour the tomato water over the basil and mint, cover and allow to steep until room temp.

Strain out the herbs, season the water with salt and set aside.

Poached oysters

8 fresh, small or medium size oysters, Beausoleil, James River or Rappahannock are good choices

2 cups tomato water, see recipe

Shuck the oysters and place them in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan, bring the tomato water up to a simmer and pour over the oysters, allow to steep until room temp, approximately 15 minutes. Place the oysters, in the tomato water, in the fridge to cool. You may store them in this manner until ready to serve, up to 2 days.


4 slices of bacon, cooked crispy

2 organic/heirloom cucumbers, peeled, small dice

1 ½ pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, some sliced, some diced, some whole if small

olive oil

¼ cup Thai basil, picked

¼ cup mint, picked

sea salt to taste

To Serve:

Strain off the poaching liquid from the oysters. Place 2 oysters in each bowl.

Spoon a mixture of the tomatoes and cucumbers in the bowl with the oysters. Place a bit of each herb in the bowl. Pour in the consommé just to cover the garnish. Season with sea salt. Rest a slice of the crisp bacon on the rim of the bowl

Per serving: 166 calories (percent of calories from fat, 41), 7 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 14 milligrams cholesterol, 968 milligrams sodium.

Avocado Butter Lettuce Soup With Spiced Heirloom Tomato Sorbet and Crisped Smoked Bacon

By Chef Matt Basford, Canoe

Hands on: 40 minutes Total time: 4 hours, including freezing time for the sorbet Serves: 8

This dish makes a great start to a summer party or you may add some chopped shrimp or lobster to make a delicious addition to your summer dinner.

For the avocado butter lettuce soup

1-2 cups water, as needed

2 ripe avocados peeled, pitted and diced

4 heads butter lettuce washed and torn

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon mustard powder mixed with 1 teaspoon water

2 lemons, juiced

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound crispy apple wood smoked bacon for garnish

In a blender, add 1 cup water, torn lettuce leaves, honey and re-hydrated mustard powder and start to blend on low, then slowly turn blender to full speed.

Once you have a constant mix, slowly add the olive oil and lemon juice. Add more water as needed

Once mixture is smooth and silky, add avocado. This will cause the mix to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Cool immediately.

For the tomato sorbet

4 pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped

1 ½ cups water

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

¼ cup tequila

1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot over medium heat, combine water, sugar, tequila, vinegar until sugar dissolves. In a large bowl, pour warm sugar mixture over chopped tomatoes and let cool.

In a food processor pulse mixture 2-3 times then pass through a strainer to remove skin and tomato seeds. Or use a food mill, which is ideal.

Add 1 teaspoon hot sauce. Season with salt and cracked black pepper

Spin in an ice cream maker per manufacturer’s directions until frozen, smooth and sorbet-like.

To serve:

Ladle 4 ounces of the lettuce soup into bowls, place a scoop of sorbet into the bowl and top with crisped bacon.

Per serving: 635 calories (percent of calories from fat, 68), 21 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 64 grams fat (15 grams saturated), 98 milligrams cholesterol, 950 milligrams sodium.

Dulcamara Limonatta

By Bartender Mercedes O’Brien, Gunshow

Hands on: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Makes: one cocktail

This tomato cocktail was inspired by one of O’Brien’s favorite summer snacks, the Limonatta fruit cup at Lottafrutta Gourmet Fruit House in Atlanta. It features a tomato water ice cube recipe from chef Kevin Gillespie.

¼ yellow tomato

1 cherry tomato

1 basil leaf

1 honeydew melon ball

1 slice cucumber

1 dash of Tajin chile seasoning, available in Latin markets

1/4 ounce Petite Canne sugar cane syrup

1 ½ ounces Farmer’s Botanical Small Batch Organic Gin

½ ounce Dolin Genepy liqueur

1/2 lemon

ice for shaking

large ice cube for serving

Muddle tomatoes, basil, melon, cucumber, Tajin and sugar cane syrup together in a cocktail shaker. Add gin, liqueur and lemon. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain into heavy bottomed rocks glass. Add tomato water ice cube (see recipe) or plain ice cube and top with additional Tajin seasoning.

Tomato Water Ice Cubes

Makes 12 ice cubes

Hands on time: 15 minutes Total time: 24 hours including time for marinating and freezing

Makes: 12 ice cubes

Kevin Gillespie’s Tomato Water

4 large yellow tomatoes

1 cup basil leaves

1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon salt

In a medium mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and hand crush as finely as possible. Let sit for 1 hour. Pour contents into cheese cloth lined colander over a measuring cup. Cover everything and place in refrigerator overnight. Take the drained liquid and put into 1.5 inch ice cube molds and freeze for 8 hours.

Per cocktail: 173 calories (percent of calories from fat, 6), 1 gram protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 8 milligrams sodium.

Recommended Reading

Jul 25, 2014
Tina George

Six foodie treats across Wales this weekend

1. Get your weekend off to an early start with the Showboat lunch on Friday at the Wales Millennium Centre.

Today at
12.15pm, there’s a chance for you to enjoy an insight into Cape Town Opera’s amazing history over an informal lunch with boss Michael Williams, as well as performances from the cast of Show Boat.

Michael Williams is credited with establishing Cape Town Opera as a major player in the world of opera and with transforming the company into a national beacon of excellence. In his spare time he is an acclaimed writer of plays, musicals, operas and novels.

In this informal and entertaining lunch, he talks about the challenges of running an international company at the tip of Africa and introduces excerpts from musical theatre and opera, performed by members of the Cape Town Opera company.

The two course lunch costs

£25. More details from the WMC

Review: Show Boat at Wales Millennium Centre

2. This weekend sees the launch in Cardiff’s Westgate Street  of Brewdog

The Scottish craft brewery’s first bar in Wales, located by the iconic Millennium Stadium, is the 21st BrewDog bar to open, following the most recent launch of DogTap at their Ellon brewery base in Scotland.

Check in for some beers to quench your thirst in this roasting hot weather!

More on Brewdog from their website

BrewDog: What Cardiff can expect when the cult brewer comes to town

3. Speaking of beer, there’s more of that on offer in Canton, Cardiff tomorrow, at a Microbeer Festival in The Printhaus on Llandaff Road.

The popular craft brewery Pipes is teaming up with Hangfire Smokehouse for an event which promises cold pints, hot food and cool tunes. You can’t say fairer than that!

Admission by ticket, more details from Pipes

Restaurant review: Hang Fire Smokehouse at The Lansdowne, Cardiff

4. If you’re further afield, check out the The Big Cheese Festival in Caerphilly until Sunday.

Set in the shadows of one of Europe’s largest castles, it’s an extravaganza of street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, troubadours and much more.

Food producers from around Wales gather at the event to display their mouth-watering delights. From Welsh cheese, liqueurs, cider, wine, bread, cakes, chutneys and lots more.

More from The Big Cheese here

The Big Cheese 2014: Travel information, parking advice, and what to expect when you get there

5. Up North, there’s a Beer and Sausage Festival at Theatr Stiwt, Wrexham that’s bound to be tremendous.

Pop along to this one on Saturday from 2pm for all sorts of family fun including live music, a funfair and of course, plenty of grub. Entry is £15 for a family, £5 standard and £3.50 for children.

More information from their website

Beer tasting in Wales

6. And of course, there’s a new face on the restaurant scene with the opening of Miller and Carter.

Situated on the Hayes in the building formerly home to Habitat, the chain prides itself on serving on the finest quality 28-day aged British beef cooked to perfection by expert chefs.

There are eight expertly selected cuts of meat from Rump to Chateaubriand to choose from. Plus, you’ll also find some fantastic New Butcher’s Specialist Cuts, offering innovative steak cuts each week including the sensational new 24oz Tomahawk Sharer and 24oz Rump on the Bone Sharer.

If that’s got your mouth watering, see their website for more details

Steaks are high for new Cardiff eatery Miller and Carter           


Recommended Reading

Jul 22, 2014
Tina George

Food Network Premieres New Anthony Anderson Series FOOD FEST NATION …

Food Network Premieres New Anthony Anderson Series FOOD FEST NATION Tonight

Anthony Anderson is on a mission to discover the most flavorful food festivals in the country on the new Primetime series, Food Fest Nation, premiering tonight, July 21st at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network. Tasting everything from classic interpretations of regional fare to surprising twists of favorite foods, Anthony uncovers what is truly at the heart of America – one delicious food festival at a time.

“Viewers got a taste of Anthony Anderson’s true passion for food during his appearances as a judge on Iron Chef America and Chopped,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network. “Anthony’s love of food, quick humor, and engaging way with people make him the perfect guide through the quirky and wonderful world of food festivals.”

Over the course of eight half-hour episodes, Anthony visits the most unique food fairs in the nation, sampling local specialties and meeting the characters devoted to the regional cuisine. Along the way, Anthony visits the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach, Fla. and highlights delicious classics such as shrimp tacos, shrimp boil and shrimp jambalaya, as well as innovative shrimp ice cream. In one episode, he attends the Magnolia Blossom Festival World Championship Steak Cook-Off in Magnolia, Ark., where over 4,000 different kinds of mouthwatering ribeye steaks compete to be the best of the best and for a $10,000 prize. Anthony also visits the Long Grove Strawberry Festival, where over 20,000 attendees flock to Long Grove, Ill. for three “berry” special days of enjoying all things strawberry, including Strawberry Ricotta Ravioli and Strawberry Balsamic Chicken. In another episode, he stops by Ribfest Chicago for a world-class rib-eating showdown that draws top competitive eaters from around the globe. Throughout the season, Anthony also gets a taste of the South Carolina Poultry Festival in Batesberg, S.C., the Jambalaya Festival in Gonzalez, La., the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival in Tyron, N.C., as well as the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival in Wilmington, Del.

Recommended Reading

Jul 17, 2014
Tina George

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don’t-miss events — food festivals …

On tap this week is a frisky fruit festival, a Budapest-style anniversary dinner with Yankee flair, a celebration of cruelty-free living, a hilarious play that takes on a serious subject and films with powerful music screened alongside the city’s premier classical ensemble.

25th Annual Hempstead Watermelon Festival

Here’s something you didn’t know about watermelon: Eat a bunch and you get the same effect as taking everyone’s favorite perky blue pill. Makes me wonder if that’s why Hempstead adopted the fruit, the city christening itself as the Watermelon Capital of Texas.

From downtown Houston, the drive to Hempstead isn’t terribly long — about one hour away straight on U.S. Route 290.

Along the charming parks and main streets during the festival you’ll find happy activities such as a barbecue cook-off, pet parade, carnival, wine tastings, street dance parties, live melon auctions, watermelon eating and seed spitting contests and on and on. Check out a complete schedule here.

The skinny: Friday and Saturday; Hempstead Gazebo Park and surrounding areas; free event.

Mimi and Ziggy’s First Wedding Anniversary Dinner

Rule No. 1 about eating at Kenny and Ziggy’s: Always wear your eating pants. Because restaurateur Ziggy Gruber doesn’t shy away from the kind of satisfying portions that make you say, “oy vavoy” (loosely translated as “Holy mother of Moses”).

This one-night-only multi-course feast — special dinners aren’t offered often at this New York-style deli — recreates the meal that this mensch and his wife, Mimi McCaughey, enjoyed at their lavish wedding in Budapest. On the menu are goose soup with Hungarian ginger matzo balls, whole panko-crusted fried egg, filet mignon of Hungarian grey cattle and, for dessert, a Gundel pancake tower with chocolate rum sauce.

The skinny: Friday, 7 p.m.; Kenny and Ziggy’s Deli; $75 per person plus tax and gratuity.

VegFest Houston 2014 Vegan Community Festival

Whether you go all the way or prefer to be a part-time veg lover, there’s much to learn at this fourth annual event that displays how easy it is to find alternatives for animal-derived foods and products. The indoor gathering brings together a myriad speakers and chefs for educational sessions and cooking demonstrations, alongside a market that includes food vendors, animal welfare organizations and home and body product specialists.

Music, arts and crafts, yoga, fitness and film screenings round out this event that’s organized by the Vegan Society of Peace.

The skinny: Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Pershing Middle School; free event.

Horse Head Theatre Company presents Spaghetti Code by Abby Koenig

I balled when I heard, “I just totally fucked this guy in my office,” “It’s not like you can white out jizz stains” and “I would trust him with my penis, in the most un-homosexual way ever.” In tackling her second play, written for Horse Head Theatre Company, wordsmith Abby Koenig abandons finesse for commonplace language to examine a serious topic, infertility, through the lens of hilarity and realism.

How far would you go to get what you want? One woman thought it would be OK to ask her hubby to copulate with her best friend to conceive a child. The ramifications are amusing and catastrophic (watch preview video here) — a tad like life itself.

The skinny: Runs through July 28; PJ’s Sports Bar; $20 general admission, $10 students. 

Houston Symphony presents “Films with Live Orchestra: Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness are among films that depend on a musical score for much of their excitement. Take away the music and there goes the magic of the final frontier. So consider this: What would happen if instead you beefed up the music’s emotional prowess?

You can find out on Friday and Saturday when the Houston Symphony and chorus perform the score of these two films, one per night, while the movies are projected on a giant screen above the 100-plus musicians. 

The skinny: Friday and Saturday; Jones Hall; tickets start at $29.

Recommended Reading

Jul 13, 2014
Tina George

Region has big appetite for food-specific weeks

Here’s a call for someone to organize Sacramento Master Cleanse Week.

Just about every month on Sacramento’s calendar features some kind of gut-busting food week, starting in January with the annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week. Then we get hit in following months with multiday celebrations of bacon (late January), beer (Feburary), and now Negroni Week in June.

Sacramento’s certainly flush with these sorts of food weeks, but does the city have enough collective appetite to support all of them?

The list of local food weeks continues to unfurl. Sacramento BLT Week kicked off July 8 and ends today, and before you get much chance to rest that belly, the debut of Sacratomato Week runs from July 21 to July 27 with an onslaught of tomato dishes at local restaurants.

August has two more food-themed weeks on tap: Davis Beer Week, Aug. 11- 17, and another event that’ll put local livers to the test, the mighty Midtown Cocktail Week, which runs Aug. 19- 24.

A new event was recently announced for October that’ll provide a mighty caffeine fix for the city. Specialty Coffee Week is set for Oct. 13-19 at a variety of cafes around town.

And let’s not forget the second installment of Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Week from Sept. 13-28, which is closer to two weeks in length, or the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, which showcases vegan eats at local restaurants for two weeks each October.

All said, that’s 11 food weeks we’re talking here. And that’s not including the Sacramento Food Film Festival, which runs for 10 days in March. … Or EatSMART, a September-long benefit at local restaurants where proceeds go toward the fight against childhood obesity. … Or, “Summer of Riesling Sacramento,” which celebrates the beloved white wine at various local restaurants through September.

Andrew Calisterio, the Sacramento bartender featured recently in Nosh Pit after finding a worm in his cod, has noticed the glut of Sacramento food celebrations. Said Calisterio on his Facebook page: “I’m going to start a local festival festival where I set up booths representing a small piece of all of the festivals in Sacramento. #festfest2014

Now the question becomes if Sacramento has hit its saturation point for food weeks and festivals, or might be headed that way. Perhaps Sacramento is becoming more like, say, Portland. The Northwest city that’s a favorite of Sacramento food adventurists boasts myriad festivals, including Feast Portland, the Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland Dining Month, Portland Beer Week and the Portland Fermentation Festival.

Emily Baime, executive director of the Midtown Business Association, says we’re not even close to food week oversaturation in Sacramento. Just mentioning the notion made her sound slightly miffed.

“I think we’re reaching a grown-up cityhood of having an eclectic dining scene with different parts and pieces,” said Baime. “I’m not here to divide the pie. I’m here to expand it, and our job is to bring more business.”

The truth is many of these multiday food festivals continue to provide significant business spikes to participating restaurants. “Kevin Bacon Tribute Night” at Old Ironsides during 2013’s Bacon Fest Sacramento resulted in the nightclub’s highest paid attendance ever. That same Bacon Fest year, Shady Lady Saloon logged its busiest-ever brunch, and Pangaea set a single-day business record.

Some of the crowds are growing. Capitol Beer Fest, a signature event of Sacramento Beer Week with more than 100 craft breweries pouring their suds, was attended by 4,000 in March. That’s compared to 3,000 beer lovers who attended the event in 2013.

Dan Scott, executive director of Sacramento Beer Week, doesn’t worry about the influx of festivals cutting into attendance.

“I think the more the merrier,” said Scott. “They’re excuses for people to get out and celebrate. If we do get oversaturated, that’ll be evidenced in the events themselves.”

Until then, bring on the week of tomatoes.

Call The Bee’s Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. On Twitter @chris_macias.

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