Recapping the Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival

by theelvee_w2oe3m

The event unfolded similar to last year’s:  thousands of foodies, wine lovers, and valley elite converging on the Sands to sample bites from the top restaurants in the area.  For me, this year seemed to have either less attendees or it was housed in a bigger tent.  Either way, the crowd dispersion was quite welcome.  They were a little more diligent about punching tickets this year (to the point of being rude, as exhibited by Southern Wine & Spirits consultant Terry Balent).  The food, in general, was about on par with last year.  The wine selection was a bit more diverse, even going as far as to include Port this year. 

There were a few dishes that really stuck out above the crowd this year.  It should be no surprise that one of those was Bolete, with their chilled split pea soup and ricotta, topped off by a dollop of meyer lemon vinaigrette.  I’m not usually a fan of cold veggie soups but there’s few things that team touches that don’t turn to gold.  Emeril’s Italian Table was slicing up huge pieces of tuna and serving olive oil-poached tuna with cannellini beans.  I think this may have been the stand-out dish for me, with Melt’s cured salmon “pastrami” on cucumber with lemon mascapone and radish sprouts coming in for a close second place.  It was easily the most inventive and tasty thing I’ve had from Melt.

I was glad to see some new venues this year and some returning ones stepping it up a notch (see: Shula’s Steakhouse actually serving steak this year).  The tickets were the same price ($75) and, I believe, while being one of the most expensive festivals in the area, is also one of the greatest value.  With the circus that was the Sands in the week leading up to the festival with Emeril Lagasse being there, the media day and opening of Emeril’s Italian Table, and special dinners, everything went off pretty well.  The new layout this year with the band on one end and not blisteringly loud was also welcome.  Hats off to the Sands for another great festival and we look forward to covering it again next year.  Check below for photos and a full run-down of food and wine served.

Octopus hanging out at the Sette Luna setup

The complimentary wine glass with entry

Pork and quinoa salad with blood orange vinaigrette in a crispy wonton from Tapas on Main

Ale-braised boneless beef short ribs with cracked wheat salad and green apple slaw from Savory Grille

Golden beet soup shooters from Hampton Winds

Salmon pastrami on cucumber with lemon marscapone and radish sprouts from Melt

Villa Enterprises cooking up some Italian dishes

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad with vinegar and sweet corn syrup from Tribeca Grille

Homemade tiramisu from Bravo

Tuna tartare and olives on rice crackers from Cosmopolitan

Lox from the Carnegie Deli

Burgers and More served up a mini slider with aged cheddar, creole mustard, lettuce, tomato, and slaw

Delicious steak

The Craig Thatcher band serenaded increasingly stuffed and intoxicated crowds

Load 'er up

Burgers and More: Mini slider, aged cheddar, creole mustard, lettuce, tomato, slaw; Mini chicken sliders, muenster, lettuce, tomato, and slaw
Blue:  Hawaiian Kalua Pork and Cabbage Crostini
Bolete:  chilled split pea soup with ricotta and meyer lemon vinagirette
Bravo!: Lobster ravioli alla vodka; house Tiramisu
Carnegie Deli:  warm sliced Pastrami, rye bread, cole slaw, mustard; Nova Lox on a warn Carnegie potato pancake with sourcream and peppercress
Cosmopolitan:  Honey bourbon pork BBQ sliders with fresh slaw; tuna tartar with rice crackers and olives
Edge: Brie, green onion mousse on sourdough baguette; shrimp and bay scallop escabeche
Emeril’s Chop House:  Dry aged PA NY strip loin, truffle scented roasted onion relish, heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella, 18 yr balsamic, EVOO
Emeril’s Italian Table:  Olive oil poached tuna with cannellini beans, lemon; Porcini ravioli with arugala, lemon, ricotta salata
Glasbern: grass-fed pasture-raised beef sliders
Hampton Winds:  Braised beef crostini; chilled golden beet soup shooters; cookies
Looper’s:  Lemon rosemary EVOO cake with limoncello glaze & fruit on top
Melt:  Salmon pastrami on cucumber with lemon marscapone and radish sprouts
Ocean:  chilled corn soup with a crab salad; watermelon and tomato salad
Tapas On Main: Pork and quinoa salad with blood orange vinaigrette in a crispy wonton
Peeps:  Peeps kabobs with chocolate fountain and toppings
River Grille:  Berry BBQ pork flatiron
Savory Grile:  Ale braised boneless beef short ribs with cracked wheat salad and green apple slaw
Sette Luna:  Insalata con pulpo
Shula’s:  Blackened tenderloin tips
Sodexo:  ribeye steak salad with crumbled blue cheese, micro greens, bloog orange vinaigrette; honeydew and almond chilled hazpacho soup; fruited custard flambe
St James Gate:  ale poached chicken and morel mushroom meatloaf, fig and cippolini marmalade, mustard sherry vinaigrette; petite corned beef reuben on marble rye with sauerkraut and swiss cheese
The Cafe:  various cookies/cakes
Tribeca Grill:  Heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad with vinegar and sweet corn syrup
Villa Enterprise:  Penne and gettucine pasta with white vodka or marinara topped with chicken, sausage, or veggies
Wegmans:  Mini mousse cups
White Orchid:  Chicken Satay with peanut sauce and red curry

Trapiche Malbec “Oak Cask”
Trapiche Broquel Bonarda
Trapiche Broquel Torrontes
Trapiche Brut

Barossa Valley “E Minor” Shiraz
Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz
Leasingham Magnus Riesling

Simi Cabernet Sauvignon
Simi Chardonnay
Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon
Ravenswood Belloni Vineyard Zinfandel

Calina Merlot
Haras De Pirque Carmenere
Veramonte Primus

Hugel Riesling
Latour Duet
Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre
Charles De Fere Jean Louis Brut

Chateau Ste. Michelle “Ste. M” Riesling
Dr. Loosen Villa Wolf Gewurtztraminer
Carl Reh Riesling Spatlese

Ruffino Chianti Superiore
Ruffino Lodola Nuova
Ruffino Prosecco
Borgo Conventi Sauvignon Blanc
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio

New Zealand:
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc
Brancott Pinot Noir
Brancott “B” Sauvignon Blanc

Spain & Portugal:
Campo Viejo Brut
Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja
Sandeman Founder’s Reserve
Sandeman 10 Year Tawny

Washington & Oregon:
Erath Pinot Noir
Erath Pinot Gris
Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot
Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurtztraminer

Chaddsford Spring White
Chaddsford Sunset Blush
Chaddsford Pinot Noir
Blue Mountain Pinot Grigio VI
Blue Mountain Bri’s Blush
Blue Mountain Riesling
Blue Mountain Meritage 2005

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