Friday, June 12, 2015

Taste of Morgantown 2015

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
White plates filled with salmon crudo, delicately crafted cupcakes with candy pearls and tea drinks spiked with booze filled the Erickson Alumni Center on June 10 for the seventh annual Taste of Morgantown.

The event, which is a fundraiser benefitting the American Red Cross Northeast Chapter, hosted nearly 20 restaurants, specialty food vendors, breweries and top wine distributors Wednesday night, with each delivering delicious, innovative dishes and drinks in hopes of winning a judge's or people's choice award.

Atomic Grill, Bartini, Blue Ridge Beverage, Coach’s Crab Shack, Erickson Alumni Center, Iron Horse Tavern, Jo's Globe, Morgan’s High Street Diner, Lakeview Resort & Spa, Morgantown Brewing Company, Mountain State Brewing Company, Table 9, Terre Café, The Cupcakerie, The Preston County Inn, The Tea Shoppe, The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley, Tin 202, and Tutto Gelato Café participated in this year's event.

This year's featured a carnival theme, as well as a heavy emphasis on local foods. My friend Kayla and I sampled as much of the fare as we could before having to be rolled out of the event.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
The Tea Shoppe
Tea Sandwiches - cucumber dill, white pimento cheese, or tarragon chicken salad sandwich
Sweets - caramel pecan bar, fresh strawberry mousse, or raspberry white chocolate scone
Drinks - Earl Gray Mar-TEA-ni, Pina Colada, Wild Strawberry

I tried the tarragon chicken salad sandwich, the caramel pecan bar and the wild strawberry drink. My favorite of the bunch was definitely the caramel pecan bar (surprise), but it was this nice, crumbly sweet bite. The chicken salad sandwich was average, I think. The croissant a bit too soft. And the drink was fine, too. I heard the white pimento cheese sandwich was very good.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Mountain State Brewing Company
Pulled Pork BBQ - with choice of chipotle BBQ, Carolina Q or Apple Butter BBQ
Garlic Hummus with pita chips

These two items are mainstays on MSBC's regular menu - and I often order both of them. In fact, I say their hummus is some of my very favorite in town. If you love garlic, get their hummus STAT. The pulled pork is also very good - but I like it with the chipotle BBQ. The Apple Butter BBQ is too sweet for me. And this little tiny bun was sweeter, so all together, the meal was very tasty.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Tin 202
Lion Tamer - barrel-aged gin, small-batch tonic, rhubarb bitters, soda, lemon oil
Trout Two Ways - cucumber, corn, herbs, rye crumble
Rhubarb Fool - rhubarb, sweet lemon creme, chocolate mint

While I didn't get to try their drink, I actually really liked the other two: the trout and the rbubarb. The trout had a crazy cool presentation with some very smart flavors. The rhubarb bite was so very different from what I was expecting (I also didn't realize it was rhubarb). It was very tart but refreshing.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Terra Cafe - "Crudo & Futo: Italian/Japanese Fusion"
Terrine of Local Bounty - seven spice beef, fresh mozzarella, swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes, ginger and sesame topped with crudo and wasabi candy garnish.
Tiramisushi - espresso and sugar sticky rice, fresh raspberries, lady finger and chocolate with mascarpone sauce and sake-chocolate truffles. Locally sourced ingredients from Possum Tail Farm, High Country Creamery and Round Right Farm

This was by far the most creative dish of the night. It was a fusion of two cuisines, with interesting forms. The terrine was delicious with fresh layers. The sushi was moderately sweet with a unique flavor. This was amazing in presentation and creative with flavors. Huge fan.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa
Preston County buckwheat pancakes, topped with apple braised pork, finished with an apple butter barbecue sauce.

Props to Lakeview for having super tender pork - though the buckwheat cake and sauce didn't leave me fully satisfied. Maybe one more component could have set this dish off.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Atomic Grill
Smoked pulled pork, cilantro grits, chimichurri slaw, charred green tomato and goat cheese

The slaw packs some heat! I also liked the cilantro grits - good texture, good flavor. The pork could've had some more of the signature flavor I have come to expect from Atomic. Good flavors overall. 

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Morgantown Brewing Company
Appalachian Surf N' Turf Bruschetta - mesquite smoked brown trout, salt n' pepper cured pork jowl, rhubarb, green garlic, and kale chow-chow, with strawberry horseradish cocktail sauce, on a house-baked pretzel roll
Pepperoni Roll Bites - beer soft pretzel dough stuffed with pepperoni, capicola, and salami, served with a house-made queso blanco

Kudos to Brew Pub for consistently thinking outside of the box and delivering food you don't expect. The Appalachia bruschetta was good, but it ate a bit on the sour side. Not a bad combo with the sweeter strawberry horseradish cocktail sauce though. The pepperoni roll was tasty.

Taste of Morgantown

Tutto Gelato Cafe
Gelato - caramel popcorn, white chocolate caramel pretzel or caramel apple

Favorite dessert of the night. One of the best gelato flavors I've had from Tutto. I love the garnish, as well as the bits of caramel popcorn throughout. So delicious.

Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Erickson Alumni Center
Cheddar jalapeno pork sliders with Carolina slaw
Rum glazed barbecue shrimp with roasted corn risotto
Boneless short ribs with loaded mashed potatoes

The alumni center always put on a crazy awesome presentation - probably because they're housed right at the event center. This one was toward the end, and I was filling up pretty quickly. I was a fan of the sweet corn risotto and the shrimp, though!
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley
Crab stuffed mushroom
Prosciutto caramel brownie
Classico bruschetta
Sangria or caramel alcoholic beverage

The Wine Bar was, I think, my overall favorite. From the tasty first bite of classic bruschetta to an overflowing mushroom cap full of crab (one of my favorite combos ever), finished off with the most delicious salty brownie and a side of the most delicious combination of a drink -- Whatever Shane put into this concoction was incredible. I know I'm not doing it justice - I don't remember half of what was in it - just know I want it again and again.
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Iron Horse Tavern
Chicken and Waffles - buckwheat pizzelle cone (from Lazy J's Farm in Buckhannon, WV), Mountain State Brewing Company stout brine chicken breast (hormone-free with Mountain State Brewing Company Miner's Daughter), mulberry maple syrup (locally picked mulberries and pure maple syrup), smoke peanut butter mousse and toasted pretzel crumble
Cotton Candy Creme Brulee - farm fresh local eggs (from Fairmont, WV)

So, Iron Horse has a clever idea here, but the execution didn't quite do it for me. The cone was not strong enough and the chicken was just OK. I liked that there was a sort of syrup and mousse underneath, but it would've been nice between the waffle and chicken. The creme brulee was good - not much of a caramelized crust. But I do like the cotton candy touch to coincide with the carnival theme.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Coach's Crab Shack
Lobster meatball, crabby jambalaya & Bloody Mary

Very, very good. I loved the jambalaya packed with andouille sausage and shrimp, plus a delicious, flavorful lobster meatball on top. The Bloody Mary was rimmed with old bay and garnished with an olive and shrimp. So good. It definitely packs some heat, but the flavors were on point.

Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Morgan's High St. Diner
Chili with cheese
Pepperoni roll

I've had some good meals from Morgan's High St. Diner, so I was a bit disappointed with a little thing of mediocre chili and a piece of a pepperoni roll. I did like the pepperoni roll, though, as it was nice and warm and had some tasty filling. But overall - fairly average.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
The Cupcakerie
Cupcakes - fluffer nutter, red carpet red velvet, p'nutty for chocolate, caramel apple, or banana split

The Cupcakerie has a handful of cupcakes that I tend to see at these events. Most have been made with some kind of liquor. I went for the caramel apple one - not sure if I've had it before. And it was pretty good. A nice little bite.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Taste of Morgantown

Preston County Inn
Pulled Pork Sandwich - pork (raised in Preston County and processed at Preston High School in Kingwood), pretzel roll (wheat was grown and milled in Terra Alta and baked in house), ramp slaw (homemade with Kingwood ramps), BBQ sauce (homemade and won Best of Show at the 2013 Buckwheat Festival)
BBQ chips - potatoes (Kennebecks and were grown in Aurora by David Martin), spice rub (homemade)
Cinnamon-Maple Bread Pudding - (recipe courtesy of Sandra Marrara of Kingwood), homemade Alpine Wheat bread (from Terra Alta wheat), eggs (from Stemple Farms of Terra Alta), maple syrup (produced by Forman Farms of Aurora).

The Preston County Inn routinely takes home the prize for being most devoted to local ingredients. And they didn't disappoint this year. They showcased a number of locally grown or produced products in their meal. As far as flavor, though, it wasn't quite there for me.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Table 9
Korean BBQ pork bell with cilantro, leeks, thai basil and cucumber
Blueberry lavender cobbler cocktail with sherry, pinot noir, blueberry lavender simple syrup, orange, lemon and plum bitters

Table 9 is always so creative with their dishes. A very tasty little bite - if maybe a little rubbery. But good flavors and variety of textures.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown
Photo by Sher Yip
Bartini
Beignet with m&ms

This was probably my least favorite of the night. A well-done beignet is one story, but turning it into a drunk college kid snack with m&ms inside just ruins any integrity of this dish. Meh.

Jo's Globe & Blue Ridge Beverage were also in attendance, but I didn't really get the chance to get many drinks since so many of the restaurants had drinks along with their meals! 

AWARDS

Living Local: Preston County Inn
Originality: Terra Cafe
Presentation: Atomic Grill
Sweet: Tutto Gelato
Savory: Erickson Alumni Center
Best Bite: Tin 202
Best Beverage: The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley
Team that should've won but they didn't have a category already created for them so they made this one up: Morgantown Brewing Company

People's Choice - beer: The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley
People's Choice - food: The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley and Coach's Crab Shack

Taste of Morgantown: The Tea Shoppe