Friday, December 9, 2011

Epic Friday: Afternoon

The short subway ride wasn't going to give me much time to digest as I head off to volunteer with Second Harvest at The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.  Often I am helping out at the offices of Second Harvest but it is the events that are especially fun and offers opportunities to meet new people.  It's also a nice bonus to get to wander and take in the show after the volunteering is done.  Once again I want to thank them for allowing me to participate on this outing. Walking through the show floor I get to see the last minute preparations before the lights go down.

Last time I had a horrible time lining up for the tickets so this time I'm prepared!

As I weaved through the aisles collecting the empty wine glasses I mentally draft a list of the places I want to sip and sample. It's hard to exercise self control when you are in a convention center full of indulgences. Down the road though your budget and waistline will pay for the excesses so I had to stay strong.  My volunteer partner also wanted to explore what was out there as well but she forgot to get her tickets so we shared mine.  Her diet is a bit more restrictive since she doesn't eat pork or seafood. The other skill one needs to learn is to find value in one's purchases.  There are many items I see that I question why they are so expensive. Each ticket is essentially worth $1 so when I see a chorizo sausage and bun for 7 tickets it makes me think that better be the best chorizo in the city! Costs range from 1-2 tickets for 2 ounces of wines to 7 tickets to the finest spirits and a disappointing paella. Starting off the hunger trek I opted for something simple and basic like a bbq brisket slider from Highway 61. As a starter it was good since I didn't want to get too messy to beginning. The brisket was a bit dry but the sauce saved it from mediocrity. It a good feeling to have something in my stomach before the libations flow.

Nearby was "Magical" Indian cuisine with butter chicken and naan bread. For five tickets this was quite the value.  The deep container had quite a decent portion of chicken and it came with a slice on plain naan to accompany it.  It was surprisingly spicier than I had expect it to be but not so much that my friend couldn't handle it.  Bravo for them on finding a good balance to please everyone.

After the chicken we decided to split up and find other things we liked.  Passing by Fin Izakaya I struck up a conversation and the staffer convinced me to get the Tuna Ceviche. Since I never had ceviche I really can't comment on it except that the acids definitely did it's job and changed its texture. If I was blindfolded and asked what I was eating then I couldn't tell you.  There was more seasoning in the salad than in the fish.

This was arguably the most expensive and biggest let down of the night.  For seven tickets I got a small dish of yellow rice and tough frozen seafood and one small mussel of which they all tasted like chicken stock.

Clutching onto my last tickets I had to really carefully weigh my options and try to salvage my enjoyment for the night.  Libations will be a plenty at my next location so I opted for dessert; Sorry Honey Jack Daniels, maybe next time .  Those truffles and chocolates at Rouchef Chocolatier was tempting.  Scores of people with their rainbow colored confections from Ruelo Patisserie just can't be wrong.  Oh that choice definitely paid off! It was a problem just calculating between the costs and the flavors that I liked.  There are the regular flavors and premium flavors. As a bonus for ordering a half dozen they carefully pack them into this clear  and sturdy display case! Of the few places I have tried these from Ruelo I thinks bests them all hands down. In the order from top left to bottom right are Green Tea / Black sesame, Raspberry Chocolate, Passion Fruit, Rose Lychee Raspberry, Fleur de Sel Caramel, and Earl Grey.  Each of the flavors were very intense but not cloying or artificial.  All the fruit flavors tasted as if they used the puree and not just an extract.  The green tea and seasame had a  solid taste in my mouth.  What surprised me the most was the Rose Lychee Raspberry!  My favorite one had an amazing balance of the sweet lychee with the tart raspberry without overpowering the light yet fragrant & gentle rose.  Last stop of the night was to get tanked up at WVRST to end off an epic Friday evening!


  1. Omgosh I'm starvinggg right now! I want everything on this post! Especially the macarons from Ruelo :D Rose Lychee Raspberry definitely sounds gooood.

  2. My fav was the butter chicken!

    Last year I missed Ruelo so I made sure I got it. They had alot more flavors than what was on display. I'm dying to go to their shop and grab a whole bunch!