It was a night full of 50's flair: saddle shoes and poodle skirts, greasers and Pink Ladies, diner counters and soda jerks, but most of all - fabulous food!
The Buds were privileged to attend the 21st annual Wheeling Health Right Chefs' Auction held on May 2 at the WesBanco Arena. The fund-raiser featured seventeen area food vendors, silent and live auctions and live entertainment by Silver Sky.
The event, themed Rock Around the Clock, had the WesBanco Arena overflowing with tasty dishes from some of the best restaurants in the Ohio Valley. Taking the theme to heart, most eateries featured a fun 50's decor and mid-century inspired menus. The Buds couldn't wait to get "rockin' around the Arena" to sample something from each vendor! This week we will dish on half of the vendors we visited at the culinary spectacular.
Honey mustard meatloaf sliders prepared by Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack.
TV Dinners prepared by Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack.
Ye Olde Alpha
The Buds were happy to see one of their all time favorites in attendance at the Chef's Auction. The Alpha brought along prime rib sliders (sliders were quite the popular theme for the evening!), pot pie with saffron, lobster mac and cheese, tater tots and bite sized reubens made with mahi fish. On top of all this food, they were also serving gin rickeys. So many choices! The Buds sampled some of the tots and the lobster mac and, predictably, enjoyed both. Bud Shaunna also sampled the prime rib, noting how tender it was.
Wheeling Park Commission
The Wheeling Park Commission was on hand serving up some very 50's-style hot dogs, a variety of cheeses and rootbeer floats. Did someone say rootbeer float? Yes please! These were fantastic, and the Buds could have easily gone back for seconds, thirds and fourths. But we must pace ourselves - the downside to any food-filled event.
Ohio Valley Sno
Jeffrey Schuetz, owner of Ohio Valley Sno, was back for his second consecutive Chef's Auction. This year he had in tow freshly made kettle corn and cotton candy, which he was busy spinning and making fresh right before our eyes. The Buds each grabbed a bag of popcorn to munch on as we walked, and it was perfectly salty and sweet. Bud Shaunna also took home a bag of cotton candy for her sweet tooth hubby at home - and of course, he had no complaints!
When it came to selection, Valley Cheese wanted to make sure Chef's Auction guests got the full feel of some of their offerings, so they brought along a ton of different flavors suited to just about everyone. Cheese is their name and cheese is their game - in fact, they offered green onion, salsa, fontinella, buffalo, colby and.... wait for it.... chocolate(!) cheeses. Bud Shaunna couldn't resist the chocolate cheese, and it tasted nothing like you would think. It was creamy and sweet and practically melted in your mouth. Um, more please! If the cheese didn't get you, then perhaps you could sample one of their spreadables, like frog jam, traffic jam and hot pepper butter. The frog jam was fruity and sweet on a cracker. Bud Em sampled some of the Wisconsin cheese soup, which rounded out Valley Cheese's smorgasbord. What a coup!
Centre Market Bakery
The Buds are big fans of pretty much anything Centre Market, so seeing Centre Market Bakery made us happy. Their table was filled with a variety of cookies, brownies, mini cupcakes and thumbprints. Bud Em snagged a chocolate brownie, while Bud Shaunna grabbed two of the thumbprints. The brownie was rich and soft, and the buttery thumbprints are the best thumbprints around - hands down! Or would that be thumbs up?
Kirke's Ice Cream
Leave it to Kirke's to sweeten the deal! This year, they brought along a variety of their most popular flavors as well as a few tasty surprises. When faced with options such as Salty Caramel, Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake, Butter Pecan, Brownie Caramel Crunch, Margarita and Frac H20, how's a girl to choose?! The Buds decided that a little dose of frac water might just do some them some good....and how right they were! The citrusy concoction was just the refresher they were looking for.
This St. Clairsville favorite always shows up with an overwhelming selection of their delicious homecooking and this year was no exception as the tasty spread included their famous prime rib, barbecue beef brisket, almond crusted salmon, broccoli casserole (LOVE), red skin potatoes and fresh carrots. And they didn't stop there - they also served up full sized slices of dutch apple and strawberry pie as well as lemon and raspberry shortcake.
The Buds thoroughly enjoyed every morsel of the home cookin' from Mehlman's. It is little wonder why the eatery is so popular!
Wheeling Coffee and Spice
After the overload of desserts consumed from the previous three eateries, a cup of coffee was much needed. Thank goodness Wheeling Coffee was there to deliver samples of their special gourmet blend coffee and a variety of flavored creamers. The Buds were happy to take a little coffee break.
Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack
Perhaps one of the Buds' best picks of the evening, Wheeling Island prepared an impressive spread that included Tang martinis, "TV dinner's" (featuring steak and mushrooms, mashed potatoes in a hash brown shell and chocolate pudding), and honey mustard meatloaf sliders on pretzel buns.
Everything. Was. Delicious.
If all TV dinners were this good, we'd be eating them everyday! The salisbury steak was tender and flavorful and the potatoes were crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. Bud Em was completely taken by the sliders. Yes, they had her at "pretzel bun", but she had no idea how fantastic the complete product would be. The combination of perfect seasonings and honey mustard with a sprig of greens (we don't know what they were but they worked!!) made one heck of an entree.
Be sure to tune in next week as we dish on the second batch of eateries at this rockin' event!