How did I forget to share these photos with you?
Perhaps it was simply because I knew the tickets sold out fast and so many were saddened that you weren’t able to attend. I didn’t want to rub it in. Maybe I decided to save it for now so you could visit one of the restaurants from the event this weekend. Regardless, this is what I am going to do the next time this event is announced… I will get out the bullhorn and proclaim “hurry, hurry, hurry – buy your tickets!”
The inaugural Taste of NWA Food Festival kicked off two days of intense tastings from the top restaurants in Northwest Arkansas (where were you, Chef Miles James?) on Thursday, June 25th and Friday, June 26th at the Walmart amp in Rogers. The first night featured (hearty) samples of menu dishes, beers, wines, appetizers, and desserts of local dining gems. Friday night was completely focused on beer and burgers. Anyone attend that event? I think it would take me exactly two burger samples in to start to get burger-overload.
Our NWA food festival exceeded my expectations. I half expected to quickly run the course and then head home. Instead, everywhere I turned the quality of food presentations were stunning, top chefs were in attendance, and I had to marvel how a $50 entrance fee for two people could cover expenses for the participating restaurants! It was great exposure to new places as well as a reintroduction to those places I haven’t popped in for awhile. Apple Blossom Brewing Company from Fayetteville had me coming back for seconds for their pot roast braised in oatmeal stout with a side (okay, two) of oatmeal stout. Crabbys Seafood Bar & Grill from Rogers had a raw tuna appetizer with fresh mango and scallions that was to-die-for that I wish they would put on the menu. Mod, a new restaurant opening this fall in Bentonville, had a tuna tartar appetizer that was wow. Just wow. Heirloom in downtown Rogers shared a simple fried (was it?) cauliflower with a sauce that stopped me in my shoes. You know this gal loves the simple ingredient dishes when they are done right. And Bouchee Bistro literally had a waiting line for their macaroons. You have got to be impressed with a connoisseur waits until the sun goes down just enough so the integrity of macaroons are not compromised in the heat. Love, love, love that.
Words can only say so much about this event so I will let the photos below do the talking. I truly believe that they could host this Taste of NWA festival for every season of the year. Starting with this fall. C’mon, that’s doable.
What do you say, NWA Food Festival… let’s do it again soon, shall we?
|this wrist band gave me access to food and drink|
|okay, I will share that delicious pot roast from Apple Blossom Brewing Company with you|
|The Apple Blossom Brewing Company dude who hooked us up (seconds!)|
|Celebrity Chef Carla Hall from The Dish and Master Chef along with Chef Mario Valdovino from Tyson Foods|
|The real celebrity…. Jonathan Stiers from http://stiersaesthetic.com (how did I get him so blurry?!)|
|the Walmart amp was the perfect outdoor and indoor venue|
|Crabbys delicious polenta creation with micro greens|
|Seriously, this little plain Jane was anything but. Heirloom Foods|
|Chef McClure and team had one of the hottest locations|
|Seriously, these Shogun guys were having too much fun (the food was crazy yum)|
|Yes, that’s right. Barrel #1.|
|I don’t know the name of the guy on the left, but I think he is my new best friend.|
|I saved this macaroon from Bouchee for the last treat of the day|
|Good night, NWA Food Festival. See ya’ next time.|