The cold weather had me worried and I tried to jam in as much as I could this weekend. (In addition to these four events, I also got in a mini ice cream crawl.)
Bones & Brew
I thought last year was bad. Well, this year was even worse. Just four BBQ vendors, none of which were even remotely good.
My Brothers, which was at the festival last year, made some of the driest brisket you can imagine. Place a 3 inch by 3 inch cube of their brisket in a gallon of water, return in 5 minutes, and the water will have disappeared. Their sausage looked nice, but I didn't taste it. Their chicken was good, however. It was chopped up into bits and was actually tender. You have to not mind biting into the occasional gristle and cartilage, however.
Smoke N Man and Wildcard both had pretty looking ribs, but the texture was like your grandmother's pork chop, still afearful of the worms so she's a burns it in the fryin' pan. Smoke N Man was frying Twinkies and Oreos, better as a novelty than as a snack (and the Oreos were like $3 for two). Wildcard also made some terrible brisket. It was cut with the grain which only emphasized how dry and tough it was. Beans were okay, though.
Sellwood's BBQ (same as Sellwood Public House) had the stringiest brisket. I think they had the same grandma making them potroast as a kid. Ribs were much like Man's and Wildcard's, but without the pleasant bark. Sellwood's "pulled" pork (it was really chopped) was edible. But not much more. I didn't finish my sandwich of it.
Saving grace was two dessert places, Rosie's and Mountain Ice, and Viande. Rosie's was making tasty looking strawberry shortcakes while Mountain Ice was scooping up Italian ice. Viande had sausage sandwiches (like Di Carlo's, but flavorful) and baked beans that my wife insisted on getting seconds of.
I wish Rogue would get their act together.
Hillsdale Farmers Market
I think I like the new spot. It's hidden from the road, but has better parking and more room to expand. Where have all the prepared food vendors gone, though?
I'd be a little more excited about late summer produce if my tomato plants in my back yard weren't producing so well. But anyone who's been waiting to make salsa, this is your time. Tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors, along with just as wide a variety of chiles, are everywhere. I'm sad to see berries disappearing. And apples and pears just aren't an adequate replacement for nectarines, peaches, and plums, imo.
Cucumbers, squash, corn, etc, was all plentiful as well. Nearly everyone, though, was giving out tastes of melons.
Vancouver Sausage Fest
Made my first visit to my suburb's food fest. I was surprised at how big it was. They had carnie rides, a midway, a bunch of vendors, a beer garden with its own stage, plus several food booths around the main stage where kids did the chickendance.
They had crappy looking hamburgers, mediocre spuds piled with fixin's, and bakesale style desserts. But they also had their own sausage boiled in beer and served on a stick or in a bun with sauerkraut. It was pretty good. The casing snapped when you bit into it and it had a nice flavor with a lingering sweetness. You could also buy it in bulk at $18 for 3 lbs. They were making their own softserve and I could see them preparing the base with Alpenrose milk. You could get root beer floats and the like as well.
The largest line was for elephant ears. Each one was made fresh, a rolled out piece of dough, tossed in hot oil until puffy and browned, then coated in cinnamon sugar. Quite tasty.
Belmont Street Fair
Didn't even know this one was happening. Was at Scooter's for the aforementioned ice cream crawl and saw the banners. A little too hippy for me without as much interesting stuff as the Saturday Market. But I think these street fair's are a nice thing for the little neighborhoods and I hope they keep doing them.
Food options were okay. Salvdor Molly's and Hoda's, both from the neighborhood, were there. A couple, Loaves and Fishes and Intercultural Support Center, were selling as fundraisers. I bought, though, from Fat Kitty Falafel, a stand I'd seen many times but never tried. They were pretty darn good. The guy makes his own mix from garbanzos and fries them fresh. They have a nice crunchy shell and soft interior. I think the pita he uses is not bready enough, but it's an enjoyable $4 sandwich, maybe second only to Karam's falafel.
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