Olive Tapanade in cucumber boat from Savories Catering.
I once read a snarky piece of online material calling for an end to the term "foodie." The writer reasonsed that everyone has to eat, and most people enjoy it. She doesn’t go around calling herself a "breathie" just because she breathes and enjoys doing it. [I’m wickedly paraphrasing. I’m not completely sure she said any of this. This may have been a dream.]
I don’t mind the term foodie. If someone wanted to call me that, I’d probably feel a little bit of pride in the title. "Foodie" suggests an artistic appreciation for the concept of food, the various tastes and smells and textures, and what it takes to create it. Perhaps even a bit of snobbery. The word that probably defines me better suggests a uncontrolled, indiscriminate face-first foray. Seeing food and eating food, without pausing to consider anything more complicated than whether or not the item will fit in my throat and if I can get it with extra cheeses.
I did that on Friday night during Taste at Fitger’s, the fundraiser for the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank at the Fitger’s Complex that featured food and drinks from more than 40 local restaurants and vendors.
At first I tried to write down everything I ate. Then it became hard to balance a reporter’s notebook, a pencil and a plate. Especially when sprinting from table to table. In the end, I found just Famous Dave’s BBQ fingerprints and the word "ribs" scrawled on the page where I planned to make my list.
This is the spot where, after accidentally self-administering way, way, way too much wasabi to my veggie roll from Zen House, I had to lean over with my hands on my knees and take deep breaths. Thus, spilling the soy sauce from my plate.
Everything was kind of a haze after that. I ate things I knew I already liked: falafel from Lake Avenue Cafe; a mini burrito from Burrito Union; pancetta pasta from Bellisio’s; roast beef from Whole Foods Co-op; an ice cream sundae from Bridgeman’s.
The blurriness of this photo speaks to how little patience I had toward taking a photo of my sundae before eating it.
From the pleasantly surprised files: Beef brisket from Teja’s and a mini sandwich with ham and goat cheese from Dubh Linn Irish Pub, which also had artichoke dip that falls into my list of regret-I-didn’t-tries. [This list also includes red fennel hash from Duluth Grill.]
I was keeping an eye open for a scene I might want to recreate in my own kitchen. The thing that really picqued my interest came from Savories Catering. A 2-inch slice of cucumber that had been hollowed out to make a bite-sized tapanade boat that looked a little bit like sushi. This is the exact food I will make if I’m ever invited to a party requiring finger food and a tennis racket. It was a good mix of salty-plus-cooling agent.
Dessert-wise, Lotta’s Lakeside Cafe had something called a mandarin orange custard in puff pastry with cashews and coconut that was a total flavor explosing on impact with my teeth.
Hmmm … custard explosion.