The Buds were on hand for Oglebay Institute's 4th annual Farm to Table Culinary Tasting Event which was held last Sunday afternoon at OI's Stifel Fine Arts Center. The popular event brings together local farmers, chefs and food enthusiasts for a casual, open-air dining experience that showcases the ever-growing selection of local delicacies.
The delicious event featured savory dishes of seasonally fresh meat and produce prepared onsite by local chefs, farmers' market vendors, organic wine pairings and live music. This year's vendors were Avenue Eats, Ye Old Alpha, The Vagabond Kitchen, Oglebay Resort and Conference Center, West Virginia Northern Community College Culinary Arts Department, Wheeling Country Day School and Stratford Springs.
Really, the Buds couldn't think of a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon! So, to the tune of an acoustic guitar, the Buds moved about the lawn from booth to booth eager to sample each vendor's fare. This week we give you part 1 of 2:
Ye Olde Alpha/Cilantro Latin Grill
WCDS and Avenue Eats
The first stop was Ye Olde Alpha/Cilantro Latin Grill, where Charlie Schlegel and company were serving a variety of chicken dishes - roasted, pulled and chorizo - kale salad, sauteed zucchini and summer squash, roasted tomatoes, beets, blue potato chips and cucumber martinis. *Sigh* we just love whatever these guys bring to the table! The pulled and chicken chorizo were seasoned perfectly and both Buds loved the squash and zucchini which were dressed simply with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a touch of basil. The homemade blue potato chips were a colorful and tasty treat on the side and both gals thoroughly enjoyed the tender and earthy flavor of the roasted beets.
Next up was Stratford Springs serving rotisserie chicken, sliced round steak with root vegetables, rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes and a roasted jalapeno cole slaw. The tender chicken was a big hit with Bud Em as were the potatoes. The garlic and rosemary combined for a hearty and delicious flavor. Bud Shaunna decided to kick it up a notch and sample the jalapeno cole slaw. This creamy, crunchy concoction had a nice little kick thanks to the roasted jalapenos - a nice variation from the standard slaw. The gals regretted not sampling the round steak with root veggies but they needed to at least attempt to save room for the other five vendors!
Next, the Buds headed over to see what Ami Dodd and Julie Cartright of Wheeling Country Day School were cooking up. Their display featured food from the school's lunch program, which emphasizes fresh, local, healthy, diversified and homemade foods. This year they prepared garlic and red wine chicken sausage, fresh pasta salad, Asian quinoa salad, sourdough bread, and Greek yogurt avocado ranch dip with fresh veggies. They sure didn't make lunches like that when we were in school!
Being big fans of chicken sausage, the Buds were delighted with the garlic and red wine variety - just the right amount of spice. Both Buds are also frequent quinoa eaters but neither had had an Asian flavored quinoa before. The dish had a teriyaki-esque flavor and featured shredded carrots, red cabbage, peppers and edamame. Delish! Followed by a slice of hearty sourdough bread and fresh veggies with ranch dip, the Buds had to give WCDS an A+.
Local favorite Avenue Eats, recently named among the most unique eats in Appalachia by Food Traveler magazine, was on hand serving up heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho, jerk pork and tofu lettuce wraps with pineapple red pepper salsa, goat cheese crostini with strawberry jalapeno jam, cucumber melon water and vanilla lavender cupcakes with blueberry drizzle.
The tender and spicy pork wowed both Buds with the sweet and tangy pineapple red pepper salsa. What an amazing flavor combination! Not fans of the goat cheese, both Buds passed on the crostini - which to them justified taking two mini cupcakes. If you've never had an AE cupcake, you are missing out. The moist vanilla cake, delicately flavored with lavender, was topped with a dollop of rich buttercream and a drizzle of blueberry sauce. They were out of this world!
Be sure to tune in next week as we report on the second half of Farm to Table vendors.
The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleader online.com