Friday, July 24, 2015

That was fun NWA Food Festival, let’s do it again.

Taste of NWA Food Festival - up close roast (c)nwafoodie

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?

Taste of NWA Food Festival - wrist (c)nwafoodie
this wrist band gave me access to food and drink

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Lyndi eating (c)nwafoodie
okay, I will share that delicious pot roast from Apple Blossom Brewing Company with you

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Apple Blossom dude (c)nwafoodie
The Apple Blossom Brewing Company dude who hooked us up (seconds!)

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Chef Carla Hall (c)nwafoodie
Celebrity Chef Carla Hall from The Dish and Master Chef along with Chef Mario Valdovino from Tyson Foods

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Jonathan Stiers (c)nwafoodie
The real celebrity.... Jonathan Stiers from (how did I get him so blurry?!)

Taste of NWA Food Festival - amp (c)nwafoodie
the Walmart amp was the perfect outdoor and indoor venue

Taste of NWA Food Festival - up close polenta dish crabbys (c)nwafoodie
Crabbys delicious polenta creation with micro greens

Taste of NWA Food Festival - crepes paulette (c)nwafoodie
The darling and wonderful Paula from Crepes Paulette

Taste of NWA Food Festival - heirloom cauliflower (c)nwafoodie
Seriously, this little plain Jane was anything but. Heirloom Foods

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Chef McClure (c)nwafoodie
Chef McClure and team had one of the hottest locations

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Shoguns (c)nwafoodie
Seriously, these Shogun guys were having too much fun (the food was crazy yum)

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Bower Hill Bourbon (c)nwafoodie
Yes, that's right. Barrel #1.

Taste of NWA Food Festival - Bouchee Bistro (c)nwafoodie
I don't know the name of the guy on the left, but I think he is my new best friend.

Taste of NWA Food Festival - macaroon (c)nwafoodie
I saved this macaroon from Bouchee for the last treat of the day

Taste of NWA Food Festival - sign on the ground  (c)nwafoodie
Good night, NWA Food Festival. See ya' next time.

Happy NWA exploring.

Eat well, my friend. Eat well.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Parmesan-vinaigrette baked spinach chips.

#denigris1889 Parmesan-vinaigrette baked spinach chips – main ©nwafoodie

Content sponsored by #denigris1889

I tried the kale chip thing. I really tried.

I tried the kale smoothie route. It was good if I used a lot of blueberries. Lots.

I tried kale pesto and I gotta’ admit it was pretty rocking. Then again, I use Tuscan kale when I can find it and add lots of olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan. A trifecta of perfection.

At the end of the day, spinach always comes back to my heart.

One of my favorite things to do is try to be as resourceful as possible. When my pantry, freezer, refrigerator, or cupboards are stuffed to the brim, it makes me anxious. Too much abundance means that I have to make sure things don’t go to waste. When my space is lean it means I get to creative and resourceful. I find it fun to figure things out based on available ingredients. Are you ever like that? Of course, it helps to make sure your pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards are stocked with pantry staples. But that is a story for another time.

Yesterday Dennis and I were working outside and it was time for a lunch break. Since it was in the 90s with a heat-index of one-hundred-and-something, it seemed only right to turn on the oven and bake something. Oh, and of course I decided to make soup. Because hot stove + hot oven + hot outside + hot physical labor = refreshing.


Yet, refreshing it surprisingly was.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet book is a good start for the #gf newbie in your life.

The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet book by April Peveteaux (c)nwafoodie

I’ve been intermittently reading The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet ever since Perigee Books, Penguin Random House sent me a pre-release copy a few weeks ago. This newest book from gluten-free lifestyle blogger, April Peveteaux, hit the stores on Tuesday of this week. While my true intention was to quickly skim-read to get the highlights, I am finding myself taking the time to let it all sink in.

April’s light-hearted yet expert approach is completely engaging. After receiving a celiac diagnosis in 2011, April started her gluten free blog to share her journey, encourage others, and sometimes rant about “the ridiculousness of having a disease that is activated by a sandwich.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with celiac disease?
A gluten sensitivity?
Perhaps you are suspecting a wheat allergy?
Have wanted to invite someone who is gluten-free over for dinner but are not sure what the “do’s and don’ts” are?
Have a co-working or church member that is gluten-free and want ideas?
Practicing a Paleo lifestyle?
Or, maybe you have just discovered that you feel better and have decided to try this gluten-free lifestyle out.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Watch my KFSM 5News July 4th grilling segments from this morning’s program.

KFSM 5NewsThisMorning July 4th grilling with nwafoodie

Ready for this long holiday weekend?

July 4th celebrations have been lighting up around town for days and I expect it to continue throughout the weekend. I hope it does because who doesn’t love dazzling fireworks, the smell of food on the grill, and the anticipation of lazy days hanging out with family and friends?

On Wednesday afternoon, KFSM 5NewsThisMorning anchor Jay Plyburn and cameraman Robby Ferguson stopped by my house to film a morning news segment about July 4th grilling. 

I kept things simple.

Potato salad.

… with a twist. Of course!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Travel snacks.

travel snacks (c) nwafoodie

It’s official.

Summer has cashed in on her save-the-date announcement and she is ready to dance.

For many of us, summer means summer road trips, trips to the lake, the beach, the pond, or simply the backyard.  Lightning bugs are working feverishly and their presence reminds us how special this time of year is. Let’s make sure we take the time to really embrace summer and all that it offers us.

Perhaps you are planning a summer adventure that includes exploring all that Arkansas has to offer from the Northwest, down to the South, and finally over to the East. While friends may battle their budgets to jet off to exotic places, we know that we only have to explore our backyards. Arkansas is a rich and diverse state!

If your exploration includes a road trip, perhaps it is time to upgrade your travel snacks. Quick, what is the first thing you think off when you want to snack while on a road trip? Was your answer healthy, yummy, fresh, refreshing, balanced, and fun foods?  Or, was your first thought fast, greasy, unhealthy, and junk foods? No worries if your answer was the latter, because some of that is what makes a summer road trip so much fun. If your answer was the latter because that is all you usually eat, well, maybe it is time to mix things up a little.

What makes a well-rounded travel snack?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Binge watch the Chef’s Table series on Netflix. It’s awesome.

Screen capture of Francis Mallman, Patagona on Chef's Table

It’s been raining here in Northwest Arkansas. Tons.

Torrential tons.

I love it. It energizes me.

For many, rains that seems to never cease brings a melancholy or, at the very least, the overwhelming desire to curl up with a blanket and read a good book or watch a movie. Are you in that camp? In today’s world we no longer have to wait for our weekly episodes of our favorite television shows or brave the elements to head to the movie theater. Nor do we have to settle for whatever the broadcast stations determine that we want to watch. Yes, nowadays we get to choose. And the choices available to us are torrential.

Do you subscribe to Netflix?

Recently they posted a Netflix Original documentary (kinda) called Chef’s Table. I say “kinda” because this series feels more than a documentary to me. It feels like a masterpiece of beautiful cinematography mixed with interesting characters that opens up the mind to the wonderment of innovators in the world of cuisine.  That last sentence was a mouthful to me. Essentially, I think this series is stunning and blew my mind with the beauty and the stories.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Figuring out your signature sauce means you can make it with your eyes closed.

#denigris1889 balsamic and dijon signature sauce (c)nwafoodie

Content sponsored by #denigris1889

Last week I was interviewed for an upcoming local podcast and the interviewer asked me “what food or dish are your really excited about right now?” I admit I paused a bit longer than I should have. How do you answer when thoughts of everything edible comes piling in all at once, begging to be the one that gets the nod? I danced around the actual question and replied something to the tune of, “actually, it’s more of a sauce that I am currently excited about.”

How does one get excited about a sauce, you say?

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