The Buds were lucky enough to be invited to attend Oglebay Institute's Farm to Table Culinary Tasting Event held this past Sunday on the lawn of the beautiful Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling.
Yay us!! (Being Taste Buds is AWESOME!)
The event featured savory dishes of seasonally fresh meat and produce prepared onsite by local chefs, farmers' market vendors, organic wine pairings and live music. Really, the Buds couldn't think of a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon! So, as Roger Hoard's acoustic guitar played soft melodies, the Buds moved about the lawn from booth to booth eager to sample each vendor's fare.
A yummy taco and creamy risotto from Ye Olde Alpha.
Kiss My Sass, left, and red velvet cupcakes created by the Cooky Jar.
Avenue Eats whipped up fresh beef sliders, black bean cakes and green tea infused vanilla cupcakes.
The first stop was Ye Olde Alpha, where Charlie Schlegel and his crew were serving up fresh tacos in the form of a build-it-yourself taco bar which featured items such as lamb, chicken, chicken chipotle sausage, chorizo sausage, tomatoes and bacon, grilled peppers, pico de gallo, various cheeses and more. They also had a delicious creamy risotto and mini samples of bourbon and bloody marys.
The Buds tried the tomatoes and bacon, the chorizo sausage and the grilled chicken on warm tortillas. All were fabulous! And if there's one thing we love, it's fresh pico de gallo. Foodie heaven! It's always a pleasure to eat what these guys bring to the table!
Next, the Buds decided to switch things up and go for dessert, to the Cooky Jar they went. But what they found was much more than sweet treats! Aside from their fabulous fancy cupcakes and dessert shooters, they also had pulled pork with plum sauce sandwiches, tomato and garlic bruschetta dip, ladybug bites (a cracker with cream cheese, a grape tomato and a black olive, all arranged to look like a ladybug) and black raspberry and peach jam samplers.
The bruschetta dip was awesome - cream cheese topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic - and the plum sauce added a pleasant sweetness to the pulled pork pockets. Well done Cooky Jar! But we can't lie. Our favorite part was the dessert!
Oh my! The Buds tried the red velvet and "Kiss My Sass" cupcakes. Both fantastic! But we highly recommend the Kiss My Sass: caramel flavored cake filled and topped with sassafrass icing .... it tastes just like a root beer float. Let's just say it's a darn good thing there was a one-per-person dessert policy in effect or the Cooky Jar would have been out of goodies pretty early in the game!
Up next was Avenue Eats. This neighborhood eatery, which opened in the spring, has been making some pretty big waves in the area. Having earned a reputation for their fresh-ground burgers, the Buds were sure they wouldn't disappoint!
And naturally we were right - they didn't. In fact they pretty much nailed it!
Avenue Eats served fresh grilled beef sliders topped with sharp Irish cheddar and arugula; goat cheese crostini which featured spicy balsamic tomato jelly; black bean cakes with chipotle aioli and fresh cilantro; and finally a green tea infused vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting and mixed berry drizzle.
Folks, the burgers. You MUST try their burgers - they are juicy and delicious! Of course the Buds have had them before but only a fool would turn down an AE burger. The black bean cakes, served in the restaurant in the form of sliders, were yummy too! Made with beans and corn and perfectly seasoned, they are a great meat-free meal option. The only thing we can say about the cupcakes is WOW! Even better than we had anticipated. Bravo, Avenue Eats. *slow claps*
Make sure you tune in next week as we dish on the remaining vendors!
The Buds may be reached at tastebuds @timesleaderonline.com.