Jimmy Durante used to say “Everybody gets into the act” when he was on a roll with comedy during one of appearances. I thought of this, while I was writing about the Culinary Extravaganza 2013, as most of the restaurants that I discussed were independent entities. There were also some chain restaurants that were represented as well. Normally in our travels, if there is a chain in another city, we try to avoid them, if there is one around home, as we really try to savor a community’s style, though this is getting harder and harder to do, as the chains seem to have discovered so many areas.
One of the restaurants that had a huge presence at the event was Mitchell’s Fish Market which originated in Ohio. They had three tables in a “U” shape at the beginning of one of the aisles of tables. My Bride was very happy as they not only offered a raw fish bar, one side table had samples of a sushi dish and the other side table had assorted mini-desserts.
We then tried some white wines from one of the neighboring tables. First we tried a Fess Parker Riesling 2011 from the Santa Barbara region of California, as I thought that it might be a nice choice after my Bride had tried some of the sushi and from the raw bar. I thought that the slightly sweeter taste of the Riesling would pair with her plates of food. At the same time I tried a Sauvion Vouvray 2012, which is a type of white wine that I occasionally order, as I find the Chenin Blanc varietal a change from the whites that I normally order, and it is not as often listed on menus.
We also stopped off at Bahama Breeze, which is a fun chain, and every location that I have ever seen has the same design of a resort inspired beach house or a very large cabana. They were offering samples of their Jerk Chicken Pasta, which one of the servers told me, was the biggest single entrée that they serve. The jerk chicken with the spices that accompanied the dish gave the flavor of a Caribbean eatery.
Off we went to try some more wine from another distributor’s table. We started off with Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 which hails from South Africa, but I found this wine to be light in taste and body with a very short aftertaste, which I was surprised at, as this is a Cabernet Sauvignon, so I had to surmise that it was made for immediate consumption, as I felt that storing it, would not enhance the wine. We tried a Madonna di Como Dolcetto D’Alba 2010 which had more of a presence. The Dolcetto varietal has really found a home in the Tuscan region and Alba is one of its more popular communes that are known for this wine. We finished off at this table with a TreRose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2009 which is the tricky wine, only because one expects it to be the Montepulciano varietal and it is actually a Sangiovese varietal. Since none of the wines offered were real expensive, I figured that this may have been a find, as this type of wine is usually priced higher then a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which some people confuse it with.
While we were enjoying our glasses of the TreRose wine came upon another chain restaurant Claddagh Irish Pubs, which on first thought should have have had a beer table next to it. They were offering samples of their beef stew, which I have to admit, was one of the best beef stews that I had encountered commercially as the meat was so tender and the gravy was rich and flavorful. It also held its own against the Sangiovese wine that we had in our glasses.