Friday, June 10, 2016

Taste of Morgantown 2016

Sher Yip - Taste of MorgantownMorgantown turned into a tropical paradise Wednesday night, with lush pineapple, mango and jerk seasoning sprinkled across tasty bites cooked up by area restaurants in this year's Taste of Morgantown.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

The event, which is a fundraiser benefitting the American Red Cross West Virginia Region, hosted nearly 20 restaurants at the Erickson Alumni Center, with each delivering delicious, innovative dishes and drinks in hopes of winning a judge's or people's choice award.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

In total, about 300 tickets were sold, raising $35,000 that will go toward relief efforts like providing shelter after a house fire or heating shelters for those who lose power in the winter.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

I had the honor of judging the three-hour event alongside two culinary legends in West Virginia: Ann Hart of Provence Market Cafe in Bridgeport (who was doing farm-to-table before it was a thing) and Jay Mahoney of Pierpont Culinary Academy (who has cooked all over the country and has served as a judge for The Cast Iron Cook-Off in Charleston for many years). Both are very involved in the state's culinary scene, mentoring up-and-coming chefs and participating in these dining events to show off the best of the state.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Judges were only able to sample two dishes from each restaurant, so I didn't have everything available, which is a good thing. Otherwise, I would have been even more stuffed. There was also some issue with the beverage competition portion, and it seems only the two breweries who brew on-site were allowed to offer beverages. Still, more than enough for this belly.

Let me touch on some highlights:

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Atomic Grill
- Scalloped papaya ceviche
- Smoked Jamaican jerk hog
- Triple citrus cheesecake

The ceviche wasn't my cup of tea; wish I had a chance to try the cheesecake. The pork definitely packed a punch.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Flying Fish & Co.
- Baja-style fished tacos - seared mahi mahi with honey-lime glaze layered over sweet & spicy Carolina cole slaw and topped with chipotle pico de gallo, smoked gouda, and avocado and roasted garlic creme fraiche

Liked this one a good bit! Great flavors, though I do wish there had been just a bit more crunch in there somewhere.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Heston Farm Winery
- Conch fritters with pineapple chutney
- Jamaican jerk chicken with mango salsa
- Key lime pie

The jerk chicken had some heat, but I liked it with the salsa. The sliver of pie was simple, but nice.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Hill & Hollow
"Tropical Appalachia - Traditional North Philippine cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients in an Appalachian Ilocano fusion style."
- Roasted lechon - Preston County pork from Working H Farm
- Dandelion lumpia - foraged dandelions, Round Right Farm tat soy
- Trout & ramp pancit - Mountain State trout, foraged ramps, Round Right Farm chard, fresh eggs from the farm and house fermented fish sauce
- Paw-Paw bibingka - foraged paw-paws

One of my favorites! The lumpia was killer, and that bibingka? So. Good.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa
- Grilled Caribbean jerk chicken served with an Asian-fusion slaw

Lots of jerk chicken this time around! Chicken had a bit of kick. The wasabi sauce made a fan of me.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Morgantown Brewing Company
- Pepian de puerco - roasted pork, tomato, hominy, sweet potato, chia and amaranth seeds, coban & sambo chilis
- Coconut tapioca - coconut milk, chocolate cashews, honey lime lychee
- Bergsteiger hefeweizen
- 80-Shilling Scotch
- Cocktail

The cocktail (which I can't remember specifics) was delicious. It was like black rum, lychee, guava, lemon-ginger, I think. And lots of other things that had me sipping on it absolutely all night. The stew they served was different - in a good way. I also like their tapioca (I love tapioca in general), and it wasn't too sweet. Just enough.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Mountain State Brewing Company
-Wood-fired pork tacos topped with apple slaw, pineapple and spicy citrus BBQ
- Lime-jalapeno margarita

My most favorite pairing of the night. The taco was so good, and the margarita along with it was just perfect. Little heat, little sweet, savory and delicious.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

The Preston County Inn
- Creamed rabbit over whole wheat biscuits
- Buckwheat cream puffs with maple whipping cream

The list of local ingredients is mind-blowing! And, the flavors were great. A wheat biscuit is definitely different from a flour biscuit, but under a tasty gravy, it all tastes the same. The cream puff was a lovely little addition.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sargasso
- Ahi tuna with a rice cake, guava tapioca, mango pepper sauce
- Papaya chocolate puree, passionfruit cookies

Sargasso had a beautiful presentation; I wish they would have plated separate dishes for each of the chefs. I liked the mango pepper sauce.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Table 9
- Curry braised pork, papaya & peach salsa, pomegranate jam

Pork Belly. Perfectly done with the sweet, the salty, the smooth, the crisp. Just delicious. And beautiful.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Taste of Morgantown

Tailpipes
- Caribbean pisce ground pork belly, plantain flat bread with shaved pickled jalapeno, red slaw with mango and lime vinaigrette, pirates passion fruit BBQ (with Captain Morgan spice rum), cannonball candied bacon
- Rum Cake

I appreciated the thought here in the burger, though I think it was a bit dark for my taste. The rum cake blew me away, though.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Tin 202
- Salmon rillette with local bibb lettuce
- Spiced figs, whipped local goat cheese, bourbon caramel

I didn't know what the hell a rillette is, but the chefs schooled me real quick. I thought it was tasty, though a cracker or something crisp would've help. And I was a fan of the fig, too! Love the cheese + caramel combo.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Tutto Gelato Cafe
- Key lime gelato pie shooter with graham cracker and whipped cream

Who doesn't love frozen treats? This one was refreshing.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Waterfront Place Hotel
- Bourbon Prime Burger - 25% Morel and wild mushroom duxelle, 75% local ground beef, housemade smoked ricotta, pickled onions and ramps, watercress, cured farm egg yolk and sweet heirloom tomato jam
- Tiella sushi - zucchini, heirloom tomato, squash, potatoes, spinach, basil and soy balsamic

This burger is tasty! I loved the pickles and I wish I could've tasted more of that tomato jam to help balance it. The sushi was well-rolled and smart.

Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Wine Bar at Vintner Valley
- Mofongo filled with braised pulled pork and a red pepper, pineapple and red onion relish with a Caribbean marinade "Sofrito," finished with a pineapple-glaze rum. 
- Caribbean coconut cake with fresh nutmeg, rum reduced pineapple and coconut milk frost

I'm sure the Wine Bar had a killer drink they had wanted to serve, so I'm bummed I didn't get to try that. I liked the idea of a mofongo, because it's different. And the cake wasn't bad, either.

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

Sher Yip - Taste of Morgantown

WVU Alumni Center
- Brisket slider with miso glaze
- Mashed potatoes, mushrooms, quinoa, bacon-wrapped scallop, short rib,

Nice, tasty slider with a tangy glaze. The plate full of food had little bites of comfort food that weren't fancy, but they were familiar. Oh, and a blue & gold strawberry was the perfect final touch.




AWARDS

Living Local: Preston County Inn
Originality: Table 9
Presentation: Hill & Hollow
Best Sweet Dish: Tailpipes
Best Savory: Flying Fish & Co.
Best Bite: WVU Alumni Center
Best Beverage: Morgantown Brewing Company


People's Choice - beer: Mountain State Brewing Company
People's Choice - food: Atomic Grill


Taste of Morgantown: Mountain State Brewing Company


*All (of the nice) photos [with watermark] by Sher Yip.