Event Review – 2014 Philly Farm and Food Fest


 

2014 Philly Farm and Food Fest

This past Sunday, Mrs. G-LO and I dropped the kids off with their grandparents and headed in to Philly for a couple hours of grazing at the Philly Farm & Food Fest (the organizers were kind enough to give us a couple of media passes). For those of you that are not familiar with this annual event, here is a bit more information taken directly from their website:

In 2011 Fair Food Philly and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) teamed up to create a new annual marketplace for farmers and local food producers. Our shared goal was to assist small businesses in growing their bottom line by providing a low-cost venue accessible to a diverse audience of potential customers.

Fest is also a fundraising event for Fair Food and PASA, with proceeds going to support our non-profit educational and technical assistance programs for food producers.

The first Fest was held in 2012 and drew nearly twice as many visitors as expected. Since then Fest had grown exponentially each year. 2014 marks a doubling in size from our first show, and will feature:

      • Over 150 exhibitors
      • Libations Lounge guided tasting of local spirits, beers, wines
      • Shellfish Salon guided tasting of local oysters and clams
      • A distinguished speaker and panelists
      • Cooking demonstrations
      • A Marketplace of select restaurants supporting local farms
      • Health & beauty products, sustainable service providers, and much more

The event was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex on North Broad Street and was spread out across three different areas on the ground floor. It was essentially a huge Farmer’s Market with an incredibly diverse selection of food and drink made in and around the Philadelphia area. Cookies, bread, ice cream, popcorn, popsicles, coffee, tea, soups, pickles, cheese, jerky, jam, candy, and so much more was available to sample. If you’re the type of person that likes to sample a wide variety of food, then this is definitely the event for you.

Going from vendor to vendor and sampling their wares was great fun, but what intrigued me most about the event was the Shellfish Salon and Libations Lounge…

The Shellfish Salon was an opportunity to sample oysters and clams from South Jersey and the Chesapeake Bay via a tasting seminar hosted by Sam Mink of The Oyster House. During the tasting, we were able to try several different oyster and clam varieties while we listened to representatives discuss the many different aspects of oyster and clam farming. Topics ranged from the health benefits of shellfish to the environmental impact of what they do. It was a very well run tasting and as an added bonus, we were able to sample some truly delicious shellfish.

The Libations Lounge took place on the other side of the room and was essentially four different tastings led by representatives from various Philadelphia area based “adult beverage” producers. Our 3PM session featured Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, Frecon Farms Cider, Sly Fox Brewing Company, Stonekeep Meadery, and Weyerbacher Brewing Company. Each representative was given around 10 minutes to talk us through what we were tasting and to tell us a bit about their company.

While the Sly Fox and Weyerbacher beers were tasty, the most interesting parts of the session involved the cider, mead, and rye whiskey, mostly because they all offered something that was very new to both me and my better half. Dad’s Hat brought a barrel aged Manhattan, Frecon brought two different sour ciders, and Stonekeep brought two different types of mead. All were really interesting and we definitely enjoyed the opportunity to expand our “adult beverage” horizons. My only quibble (love this word!) would be with the format of the Libations Lounge. While I truly enjoyed listening to all of the presenters and sampling their products, I thought that it was a bit too formal. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word lounge, I think comfy seating, dim lights, and a big bar, not banquet tables and upright chairs. Here’s hoping that they tweak the format a bit for next year so that fussy, spoiled, and overindulged people such as myself will have one less thing to whine about.

Overall, Mrs. G-LO and I enjoyed our time at the Philly Farm and Food Fest. It definitely gave us a greater appreciation for all of the hard working and imaginative people that are helping to cement Philadelphia’s reputation as a destination for superb food and drink. We are definitely looking forward to attending it again next year!

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 Many thanks to the good people at Fair Food for providing us with media passes. Cheers to all of you!

Boozing and Disney Cruising Part Two


Sunset in Nassau

Sunset in Nassau

If you’re a regular reader, then you are well aware of the G-LO family’s last vacation which was a four night cruise aboard the recently “re-imagineered” Disney Magic. For our second Disney Cruise in under six months (this time around, we went on a three night cruise aboard the Disney Dream), Mrs. G-LO and I decided to leave the kids at home with the grandparents.

Before you start saying things like “You went on a Disney Cruise without your kids? I’ve never heard of such a thing!”, let me begin by telling you that this was a triple celebration, i.e. my better half’s (the legendary Mrs. G-LO!) 10th anniversary of her 30th birthday, my 47th birthday, and our 15th wedding anniversary. Fine dining and drinking were on our agenda, so leaving the kids at home was ABSOLUTELY mandatory!

Your next question is probably, “But can you do any of that on a Disney Cruise? Isn’t it all Mickey Mouse, chicken fingers, and juice boxes?”. And my answer is: Yes, Virginia! You can wine and dine to your heart’s content, and no, it isn’t all Mickey Mouse, chicken fingers, and juice boxes.

Here are just a few of the highlights from our short, but extremely enjoyable vacation delivered to you via a few photos. Since Disney Cruise Line allows you to bring your own alcoholic beverages aboard, I decided to pack a couple whisky samples that I received from Limpd and Aaron. That being said, I will also include some rum and whisky tasting notes.

A Visit to John Watling’s Distillery

John Watling’s Buena Vista Rum

  • Age: 5 years old
  • Barrel: Virgin American Oak
  • Color: Deep amber. I might even call it bronze.
  • Aroma: Caramelized pineapple and banana. Dark brown sugar. Vanilla. Nutmeg.
  • Taste: Very smooth with just enough alcohol burn to remind you that it’s 40% ABV. Silky mouthfeel with a bit of spice mixed with those sweet and fruity notes that I picked up on in the nose. The flavors are consistent from start to finish. Very subtle and easy drinking. I’m far from a rum expert, but I definitely enjoyed my generous pour of John Watling’s Buena Vista Rum. It would be a great after dinner drink to have along with dessert.

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Castaway Cay, Disney’s Private Island in The Bahamas

 

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Whisky Tasting

As you can see in one of the above photos, there wasn’t anything particularly unique or exotic on offer during the 90 minute whisky tasting that I signed up for, but it was still a very relaxing and enjoyable time. The woman that led the tasting did a really nice job of keeping us informed and entertained, and I tried my best to not act like a douchey know it all, i.e. I tried not to comment every time she asked a question.

While the tasting didn’t give me the opportunity to try anything new, packing a few whiskies for sampling in our stateroom more than made up for it. Here are tasting notes for two of the whiskies that I sampled…

Longrow Red Cabernet Cask Peated

  • Appearance: Pale copper color.
  • Aroma: Peaty fruit or fruity peat? I’m not really sure which way to go. Definitely a different whisky. I picked up dried figs, strawberry jam, light brown sugar, vanilla, a hint of pipe tobacco, and licorice.
  • Taste: Light bodied. Starts off with a healthy dose of licorice and peat smoke. At mid palate there’s an odd mix of sweet fruit and light spice. The Cabernet cask influence shows up at the end with a red wine tannin-like astringency. Medium finish with a lingering combination of smoke/licorice/red wine tannins.
  • ABV: 52%

Definitely one of the more unusual whiskies I’ve ever had. I like the potency and how it starts off, but the finish puts me on the fence. Love the smoke and fruit, yet confused by the wineyness. I will say this, I can never call this whisky dull.

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Scapa 16

  • Appearance: Pale amber color.
  • Aroma: Lightly spiced fruit scents. I’m thinking baked apples made with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and vanilla.
  • Taste: Definitely has some weight to it thanks to a lightly oily mouthfeel. Flavors are concentrated on the front 2/3 of my tongue. A bit of brown sugar and honey sweetness at the onset immediately followed with a soothing baking spice type heat. Levels off as you approach the finish. Ends on a lightly spiced and fruity note.
  • ABV: 40%

A smooth and flavorful whisky with a lovely balance of sweet and spicy flavors. As is usually the case, I would love to try this at a higher octane. FYI, this went really well with the smoked gouda that we ordered from room service as a pre-dinner snack.

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A Few More Photos…

While it would have been great to get away for more than just a 4 day weekend, I have absolutely no complaints about our time spent aboard the Disney Dream. Maximum fun with minimum effort. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes


Processed with VSCOcam with se3 presetThis #Beertography post is my answer to the The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Below is a bit more detail about this challenge:

In a nutshell, a three-picture story is a way to help you think about storytelling with images. To create a three-picture story, gather:

  1. An establishing shot: a broad photo of your subject.
  2. A relationship: two elements interacting with one another.
  3. A detail: a close-up of one part of your subject.

You don’t necessarily have to take your photos with this in mind — you can simply use it as a guideline for choosing three photos you’ve already taken, or try cropping photos to focus on the key details.

I like to think that I’ve accomplished this challenge two times. The first time by taking a photo of three beers from the same brewery, and the second time by photographing each of these beers on their own. What say you? Have I successfully completed this week’s challenge? Let me know in the comments below.

Have Yourself a Boozy Little Christmas…


Curious George The Maker's Mark Ambassador

Why is this monkey smiling? Because he has booze in his hands!

By the time you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve already had your Christmas breakfast, and that you’ve opened all your presents. That is most definitely what happened at the G-LO residence, since there’s no such thing as sleeping late when you have little ones about.

While the kids are always in search of toys and electronic gizmos, the only thing that interests Papa G-LO is Booze and Craft Beer. Here’s hoping that all of YOUR Christmas wishes came true!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns


My apologies for straying off topic with today’s post (i.e. no beer or booze), but I’m really enjoying these Weekly Photo Challenges. Here is some information about this week’s challenge:

Today’s challenge is inspired by Evan Zelermyer‘s stunning urban, abstract, and architectural images from his “Shape, Line, Texture, Pattern” post published earlier this week. I’d love to see your interpretations of these elements, so grab your camera, get outside, and snap a great shot of shapes or lines that you stumble upon, or a cool texture or pattern that catches your eye.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside


Lindemans Kriek Lambic

Lindemans Kriek Lambic. That’s what you see inside the glass in the above photo. And that is my answer to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Here is what this week’s challenge was all about:

This week, share what you see on the inside. It could be something literally inside, like these birds in the rebar or the inside of your home or favorite hideaway. If you’d like, go in a personal direction — share a photo of your best friend laughing, showing how she feels on the inside, or an arresting shot of your son’s blue eyes (windows to the soul, dontcha know).

And here is a bit more information about this Belgian beer taken directly from the Lindemans Brewery website:

In origin, this sweet-acid drink was obtained by adding fresh black cherries to a barrel Lambic of 6 months young. The addition of fruits provokes a new fermentation in the oak barrels. After another 8 to 12 months, only peels and stones left and the Kriek-Lambic is ready to be filtered and bottled. The residual sugar can be adjusted with straight-on fruit juice to give a refermentation in the bottle. This traditional type of fruit beer is more acid and less fruity.

Because of the limited availability of the “Schaerbeekse Cherries”, just as to brew a less sour and more fruity Lambic beer, Lindemans farm brewery developed an unique alternative natural method using pure cherry juice from unfrozen cherries. This straight cherry juice is blended with selected Lambic of different ages.

Kriek has a pink-red color and a delicious taste of sparkling cherry champagne.

Summer Vacation 2013: Yet Another Fabulous Week in Coastal Maine!


Young's Lobster Pound - Maine Seafood Feast

Maine Seafood Extravaganza at Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast, ME. All this for $50!

For this summer’s family vacation, we once again returned to the great state of Maine, but instead of staying just south of Portland in the sleepy fishing village of Camp Ellis as we did in 2011 and 2012, we decided to drive further up the coast. This time around, we stayed in Northport which is 15 minutes south of Belfast and 20 minutes north of Camden. To be more specific, we rented a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom cottage in a small Victorian village that dates back to the 1850s which is located in the heart of Northport.

What’s the name of this Victorian village? I’m not telling you, but I think I’ve given enough clues so that you can figure it out on your own. And why am I not going to tell you the exact name of this charming little place? Because I want this to be my own little secret for as long as possible!

Over the course of our seven day stay, we drove as far south as Owls Head and as far north as Mt. Desert Island (the home of Acadia National Park). Our activities during the week included a few short hikes, relaxing on the beach, crabbing, an afternoon sail, exploring a fort that dates back to the mid 1800s, visiting a small winery/distillery as well as one of my favorite breweries, and of course, eating a plethora of fantastic food!

As I have done in years past, rather than put you through the drudgery of reading a long winded vacation recap, I will instead let you see for yourself how beautiful Maine can be in the summer time. And please be sure to click the included links if you want additional information about all the places we visited. Cheers!

A Charming Victorian Village in the Heart of Northport, ME

Oodles of Food and Drink

Here are links to all of the eating and drinking establishments we visited:

Some Fabulous Sights!

And here are links to all of the places we visited:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus


Maine Beer Co LunchThis bit of Beertography kills two birds with one stone…

  1. It allows me take this week’s “Weekly Photo Challenge“.
  2. It allows me to give a shout out to one of the funniest and most accurate Craft Beer reviews I’ve ever read.

If you want to know a bit more about this superb India Pale Ale by one of my all time favorite breweries, visit The Dogs of Beer blog to read our friend Ed’s HILARIOUS review.

Cheers!

2013 Philadelphia Vendy Award Winners. And a Few Photos Too…


This past Saturday, Mrs. G-LO, our two boys, and I headed into Philly for the 2013 Vendy Awards. The event, which was held at Penn Treaty Park, featured some of Philadelphia’s best “Sweet” and “Savory” street vendors competing for the following four awards: the Vendy Cup, the People’s Taste Award, Tide Stain Eraser’s “Messy Yet Tasty” Award, and Best Dessert.

Below are the vendors that competed in the Savory category:

And here are the vendors that competed in the Sweet category:

With fifteen different vendors on hand serving a variety of dishes to everyone that attended this year’s event, it was difficult to sample everything that was on offer. Thankfully, I learned from my mistakes at the Brewer’s Plate and Opening Tap (i.e. I took it very easy on the beer consumption since it has a tendency to fill me up very quickly), so while I didn’t try EVERYTHING, I did try most things.

While I genuinely enjoyed every dish that I sampled, there were a couple of dishes that really stood out. My favorite items from the “Savory” category were the fried cheese curds from The Cow and the Curd, the Korean noodles from Kami, and the Couscous from Chez Yasmine. My favorite items from the “Sweet category” were the popsicles from Lil’ Pop Shop and the Boulevardier Macaron from Sugar Philly (all of the cupcakes were delicious too, but to be perfectly honest, I’m a little tired of cupcakes).

Overall, the G-LO family had a fantastic time at the 2013 Philadelphia Vendy Awards. As has been the case at all of the events that I’ve attended in 2013 (it’s been a busy first half of the year!), this event was filled with great food, great drink, a fantastic DJ that was spinning some fantastic music, and a plethora of truly kind and enthusiastic people.

Many thanks to the good people at Food Shelter for providing us with media passes to this outstanding event. We’re already looking forward to the 2014 Vendy Awards!

One last thing…

I almost forgot to tell you who won! Below are the official 2013 Vendy Award winners:

  • Vendy Cup: The King of Falafel
  • People’s Taste Award: The Cow and the Curd
  • Tide Stain Eraser’s “Messy Yet Tasty” Award: The Cow and the Curd
  • Best Dessert: Lil’ Pop Shop