Nosh Fest

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Last week I went to a local food festival held in a beautiful park on the banks of the river, called Taste of Saskatchewan. It was the 20th anniversary of the event and was better than ever.  There were 31 restaurants each showcasing three of their best dishes.  This year they had Chefs competing every night at their own local version of Chopped, and you could buy the dishes created after with a donation to the food bank.  I went during the day though, so I didn’t get a chance to see any of the competitions.  This year I went with two of my Aunts and my Mom.  Once again the food was so delicious and we had pretty nice weather too.

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The first dish we tried was the Crawfish Boil.  It had crawfish, baby potatoes, corn on the cob and shrimp flavoured with a spicy Cajun seasoning.  My favorite part of this dish was a tie between the shrimp and corn on the cob.  The corn was very sweet, but soaked up a lot of the great Cajun seasoning giving it a spicy hit too.  The shrimp was very tender and fresh tasting which complimented the Cajun spices. The crawfish weren’t great, but that is due to operator/taster error.  I didn’t know how to eat them correctly.  I probably should have Googled it before we ordered so I could enjoy them to their fullest which was my own fault and therefore meant I missed most of the meat.

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These are the Chicken Thai Bites.  One of my Aunts got this dish.  They were pretty good.  Imagine nuggets of chicken breast lightly battered and fried, then coated in a sweet and spicy sauce.  The meat was tender and the batter was still slightly crispy which was a nice foil to the sticky sauce that slathered them.

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Here is the savory crepe which was one of my highlights of the day.  This crepe was filled with a gooey gruyere sauce that was studded with bacon, balsamic caramelized onions and topped with fresh arugula.  The gruyere cheese was a nice choice and it didn’t over take the dish and went well with the other ingredients.  The bacon added a nice smoky taste without being too strong and the arugula and onions added some brightness to the dish.  This dish would make a great brunch with a spinach salad.  This restaurant also had a sweet crepe, but nine times out of ten I will go for a savory version of something over a sweet.

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This year I tried African food for the first time and really enjoyed it.  The dish was Alcha and Alcha Birsen served with Injera.  Alcha is a traditional vegetable stew that includes potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage and celery that is spiced with cumin, turmeric and some other spices I couldn’t identify.  It is very mild tasting and a nice introduction to the cuisine.  The Alcha Birsen is a split pea stew that is mildly spiced.  This dish was so satisfying and tasty, I think I will definatly try to make it at home some time as I really loved the flavors and textures of it.  The last part of this plate was the Injera which is a flatbread bread made with teff flour that had been fermented which gave it the spongy texture.  This bread has a slight sour taste to it like a sourdough bread thanks to the fermentation which takes place before cooking.  It worked great to sop up all of the lovely flavours from the two stews.  All in all a great introduction to African food.

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This is the Greek plate which included Chicken Souvlaki, Tzatziki, Pita Bread and Greek Salad.  I did not try any of this as it was someone else’s dish, but it looked really tasty.

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Here is a cold and icy drink we got called the “Meloncholy”.  It was very refreshing and made with watermelon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice and mint.  I couldn’t really taste the lime or grapefruit, mostly just the watermelon and the mint which really made this drink.  I love mint it is such a fresh and invigorating herb. Every summer we always have a big pot of mint growing on our deck that I always break off a piece of it to smell or use in drinks.  My Aunt also gave me a simple recipe for a mint drink which is great after supper.  In the evening you fill a pitcher with water, half of a cut up cucumber, a whole lemon chopped, along with a big handful of mint and chill in the fridge.  Let it sit overnight and remove the mint, lemon and cucumber in the morning.  Yumm!

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These are the Stuffed Mushrooms.  I tried these last year and they were ok, but this year they were way better.  Last year they were called Cajun Stuffed Mushrooms, but had no Cajun flavour at all.  This year the Cajun label missing from the name, but they had a slight spice to the cream cheese filling which was a nice surprise and improvement from last year.  As you can tell by the time I took the picture two mushrooms went missing ??

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Here is a dish of strawberries with cream, sprinkled with cinnamon.  This was not my dish but my Aunts.  She really enjoyed it and said it was a nice dessert without being too heavy.

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These are the French Macaroons.  I had some for the first time last year and loved them, so when I saw they were back this year I knew I had to get them again.  This year the flavours were Vanilla, Salted Toffee and Pistachio.  They were all so rich and tasty with a buttery filling and a crisp and light cookie on the outside.  You could tell that this restaurant really cares about their products as these were so delicate and beautiful, like a little piece of edible art.

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This is an Iced Coffee I bought to help cool me off and give me a little boost of energy during the afternoon.  It was just what I needed, not too sweet with a nice jolt of caffeine.

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Lastly here is the Fried Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.  These three components make such a tasty and simple dessert.  I had it last year and had to get it again this year.  The Fried Bananas are rolled in some type of dough to give them a crispy crust on the outside which pairs nicely with the cool Vanilla Ice Cream and the sweet and rich Chocolate Sauce drizzled over it.  What a wonderful dish to finish off a great afternoon of noshing by the river bank.  I will definitely be back next year!

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3 responses »

  1. I became very hungry as I read your message. Saskatoon has a very diverse food culture!! Thanks for the great blog!

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