2015 Hamilton Food & Drink Fest

Sunday, September 18, 2016
To me, the Hamilton Food & Drink Fest is my version of Christmas. For the last 4 years (possibly more), I have always been first in line. This year's venue was at the Hamilton Convention Centre, a lot smaller than the last few years, but personally I think the food made up for it. In the last 2-3 years, it was held at the Care Core Centre in Hamilton, but it was recently bought back for researching purposes. As the story goes, the FDF team scrambled last minute to locate a venue for the annual show, and that's how they landed at the Hamilton Convention Centre, where they also had to share space with an antique show. Because of this, not only was the space smaller (and might I say, dank), but they also had to change their ticketing system from cash and online, to just cash. I think the team did the best they could, and with the resources they had, so kudos to you guys! The turn out on Sunday was surprisingly very low, as much as I loved the show, this may have been the worst turn out that I've seen in years. As bad as that might be to say, it was great for me and my company, as we were able to sample and peruse without bumping into people. On the topic of food.. not a lot of outstanding options from what I remember, but the few who went outside the box, really excelled in uniqueness and creativity (below are my top winners for this category). I guess that's the trade off for this year, although there were less restaurants, the creativity was much higher... unlike last year, where pretty much every restaurant was promoting their sliders.

Hotti Biscotti which has been a resident at the show for the last few years, introduced some new peanut butter pops at 3 tickets each. They were super decadent, and great for those who enjoy the salty and sweet combination. 1 ticket = $1

Canada's Keg Steakhouse and Bar, probably had the best value at the show for 6 tickets. I totally enjoyed their surf and turf, which came with mash, 2 large shrimps and a 2.5 oz fillet minon steak (cooked medium)!

Young's Catering

Twisted Lemon is the king! Year after year, they always have the most unique and coolest dishes, and best of all chef Dan Megna is the one that prepares them too. In theory, yes this is technically a slider... but I'll let it slide. This mini dessert burger was a play on a traditional burger. This masterpiece was built using a profiterole bun, an espresso chocolate mouse puck (the meat), an apple crisp (lettuce), cream (mayo) and a slice of strawberry (tomato). It was beautiful.
VG Meats

I don't go to these shows to drink, but when I see a display that involves wine and Miss. Vickies, it obviously peaked my interest. The Moscato was delicious on it's own, and that's all I can say since I didn't open up the free chips that I got with it. Apparently they make a good pair?
Fish on a chip
Parmesan Chips
Fresh Pressed Juices
I was really happy to see at least one non-alcholic drink vendor on site, but most importantly drinks that were good for you. The guys at Fresh Pressed Juices were really nice, they educated me on their business, and even gave me a few different juice to try. I juice for myself once in a while, but it's a lot of work and the clean up is always a real hassle, but with Fresh Pressed, they will actually deliver the juices to your door .... clean up avoided.
Kacaba Vineyards
Chicken & Waffles from The Waterfront

The Waterfront is a new comer to the show, but I think they chose their dishes wisely. Although this was my first time eating Chicken and Waffles together, I can't say I was too impressed. I appreciate how unique of an option this was, but the gravy was a little too overwhelming and the chicken a little to salty for my taste.

The Creme Brule Cheese Cake however, was enjoyable! The cheese cake had a rather gelatinous texture, but the taste made up for it and the crispness of the burnt sugar was a nice pairing too.

Savanna Apple Cider. This was quite possibly the most misleading table of them all, making me think I was enjoying a lemon inspired drink, when it was actually 100% apples.

Beer Ice Cream from Cold Stone Creamery. Like I mentioned above, I'm not a drinker! But when I see ice cream, and I see something weird such as beer ice cream, then obviously I need to give this a try. I started off with a sample spoon, but ended up with an entire cup. It's vanilla based with a yeasty after taste that beer gives off. It's actually really good!

There you have it, my experience and my top winners from the Hamilton Food & Drink Fest. Despite the overall venue downgrade, it was still a really fun show, and of course I'll be back next year.

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