Today I attended the Food & Wine Experience at Target Field. I had a wonderful time sampling wine, beer, and delicious foods. It was put on by Minnesota Monthly magazine and supports MPR.
Here are some of my hits:
I hope that Top Chef comes to Minnesota for a season because it would be awesome to the see the chefs go head to head at this event. There were some definite hits in the food department from the Chow Girls, Seven, Faribault Cheese, Splendid Spreads, Just Truffles, Drooling Moose, and BelGioioso Cheese.
Firstly, everything at the Chow Girls table was delicious including the nuts. Let’s just say I would love to see them make a restaurant with these great appetizers. Seven was also a hit. I even saw a line form there for part of the day. Rightfully so because the sushi was great and so was the beef skewer. The surprises in the food department for me was from the Cheese companies. A local cheese hit was the Faribault cheese caves. I couldn’t tell you what one was my favorite but I saw many of the men try a few of the chipotle garlic cheese curds. Also the BelGioioso spread was outstanding, it was easily missed because of the positioning of it but they had some wonderful examples of how to use their product. I got a recipe that I am going to try from Splendid Spreads. They had this 7 layer dip in a greek style that was yummy. I hope they didn’t mind that I took two. The two hits for desserts for me were the Just Truffles and Droolin Moose.
Now lets get to the wine. I tried all the fancy expensive wines that you go to the event to try and found that I clearly have no wine experience and couldn’t tell the difference between them and cheaper wines other than some of these expensive wines were a little too aggressive and peppery for me.
But, the point of the event was to try something new, it was fun to try wines that I might not buy from the store. Here are a few that I enjoyed that might be different than what the judges picked. From Z wines the Landskroon Dry Chenin Blanc, I am not a huge white wine drinker but this one was good. The Monogamy Cab from the Wine Sisterhood. It was unexpected and good. Plus, these wines have fun names and would be fun to give as a gift and in a reasonable price range.
The beer. Wow, it was great to see the beer at this event, I had the most fun at Bells Brewery an employee showed me the Darth Vader a mixture of two of their beers. I loved it! You will have to ask them what it is because I think they keep it a bit of a secret. Plus, they had all their seasonal beers. I also enjoyed Surley as I always do but, I wish they would have brought all of their beers to try. They may have gotten a new lover of that beer. Shells Firebrick was an unexpected hit for me as well. My only note about the beer is that I did not want to put the beer in my wine glass. I hope that next year they all bring their own small cups to try with.
The best hidden gem of the whole experience was the Dakota Jazz room corner who had Jazz music playing, food, a wonderful drink, and sitting room! It was nice to relax there an actually be able to enjoy the food and drinks from them.
The not so hits:
It would have been nice to have more sitting areas. I noticed many older people complaining about their feet hurting myself included and having no where to sit. Also, more live music would enhance the event. I have to say that it was pretty awkward trying to carry everything, drink, and eat at the same time. They should also add an area with cigars. It would fit in perfectly with this event.
One of the most hilarious comments I heard during the day was, “holy crap there is more to this thing, we now have to go this way, this is soooooooooo great!”
It would have been nice to know that there were two ways to go when we got there. We were lucky we stopped a volunteer who told us to go a certain way go all the way back and travel down. Otherwise, I think it might have been a difference experience for me.
Spilling food all over myself over and over again was not so much fun. I was going to wear a white shirt. I am so glad that I didn’t. Most of the food places did not make items that were easy to eat. I should say easy to eat while holding a wine glass and a bag. They needed to channel top chef and the amuse bouche challenges. Where all you have is one bite to get all the flavors in. Although, I think the sitting areas would make this easier and people wouldn’t look as stupid wearing wine glasses around their necks.
Overall, I loved this and will come back next year with more people. I also would recommend this to my friends as a great Valentines Day present. There is nothing like being at Target Field on a sunny day drinking and eating. It was a beautiful setting for an event like this. Until then I can fill my free wine glass with my favorite wines from this year.
If you don’t have anything to do this weekend yet and if you are not burnt out by Restaurant week join me at the Food and Wine weekend put on my Minnesota Monthly @mnmomag. You cannot go wrong with good wine, good food, and it benefits Minnesota Public Radio!
This will be my first time at this event and I am not exactly sure what I should expect. The website in not very descriptive but I watch Top Chef religiously and I think I will be able to pick it up. I will not be wearing a crazy Padma outfit though. I would love a suggestion for an outfit from someone who has been before. @mplsgossipgirl
You can buy your tickets online and make sure to note where you have to park to get into the event.
Can’t wait to see you there!