Friday, July 26, 2013

Taste of the Twin Cities (Tour de TCO) – Minneapolis, MN


It’s been a long time since M.Giant and I had a quality guy night. We headed over to the TCF Stadium for, what we hoped was, a glutinous feast of super stellar food. All we knew was it was 15-20 of the Twin Cities restaurants and there would be more than enough food. We didn’t know how many people. We didn’t know what to wear. We didn’t know if anyone else we knew was attending. We didn’t know if we had to pay for each individual dish on top of the ticket fee. We didn’t know if there would be a line a mile long. We clearly didn’t know much. But we intended to find out.

The ticket we purchased got us into the event where all the food costs were covered. As were the wine pairings. Yes, I said wine pairings. Each restaurant had a particular wine they paired with whatever dish they were serving. People could then vote on their favorites and enter their name in a drawing. Thankfully, once you got through the initial line to get in and get your complementary wine glass, you could go to whichever restaurant table you wanted to. And by “whichever”, I mean ALL OF THE TABLES. Did I mention there were 20 restaurants with tables???

There were some tricky issues we had, the first was there were television monitors behind many of the tables and those monitors would scroll through a list of participating restaurants. So you’d be eating one dish and then realize the name behind the table wasn’t where you were eating – it was just scrolling through the list. Very confusing, especially because some restaurants didn’t get the memo about bringing their own banner or sign.

Then, we ran into the issue of eating food from a small plate while holding a wine glass without spilling. Clearly we needed three or four hands to accomplish this thing. Even if you were given finger food, you still didn’t have a spare few fingers to pick up the food because of the wine glass. Logistics. It would have been better if they had small trays to collect three or four items and then go sit at one of the tables around the room. We did get to be pretty good about wedging our small plates between the fingers of our wine-glass-hand and eating with the available hand. Tricky, but we’re expert eaters.

Then we realized the pours of wine weren’t “polite pours”. They were real pours. And if we were going to drink 20 glasses of wine, we would likely die. (Die happy, but whatever.) So we had to scale that back. A little.

As for the food, I think I had high expectations of something adventurous or weird or “out of the box”. That wasn’t what this event was about. This was more close to home and comfort-y foods and maybe a tiny bit unusual for suburban people. I’m not complaining because what we were served was good – even delicious in some cases – but nothing was worth raving about to my friends or getting me to get in the car immediately and driving to a restaurant (with a few exceptions). Some highlights were:
  • Barker’s Bar and Grill – Rosemary pork belly with amish blue cheese and red currant jelly – served with a nice Moscato
  • McCoy’s – Chile-honey spare ribs – served with Steel Toe Sommer Vice beer
  • St. Clair Broiler – Meatloaf sliders with some delicious sauce – served with Pothic red wine

For the dessert dishes, there were a few that were good, but were pretty standard and things you could get a lot of places – key lime pie, banana rum cake, chocolate truffles, raspberry tarts, chocolate and caramel tortes. Again, they were good, but didn’t make me crave anything nor surprised me with the combinations.

There were two dishes that really stuck out – head and shoulders abover the rest - in both M.Giant’s and my own opinions.
  • Great Waters Brewing Co – Seared pork tenderloin with bacon jam and chipotle mayo – served with Brown Trout Brown Ale
  • J.D. Hoyt’s – Buddy Bowl of red beans and rice, shrimp, and chicken and corn bread – served with Terra d’oro Red Zin


Seriously, these two tasted the best of the evening and we may or may not have gone back multiple times. I also fell in love with the Terra d’oro Zinfandel Port. I WILL be buying some of this as soon as I can. It is basically a non-syrupy port. It was awesome, especially with the different foods we tried.

Overall, a fun experience and we loved eating 20 different food options. The downside was that it wasn’t anything wacky and zany. I would totally do this again next year, especially since we got a coupon book with $180 in coupons in it. It is absolutely worth it and wasn’t a high-pressure night. Plus, I don’t mind standing in line with M.Giant while covering every subject topic known to man. Such a blast.

Top 5 things about the Taste of the Twin Cities
1. Great Waters Brewing Co.’s seared pork tenderloin
2. J.D. Hoyt’s Buddy Bowl
3. Terra d’oro Zinfandel Port
4. McCoy’s chile-honey spare ribs
5. REALLY a great value

Bottom 5 things
1. Nothing out of the ordinary
2. Hard to eat while holding a wine glass
3. Confusing signage so you didn’t know which restaurant table you were at
4. It’s weird to have Bacardi girls there pushing pineapple-infused rum drinks on attendees (not that M.Giant and I didn’t have multiple cups…)
5. It’s weird to have Memorial Blood Centers drawing blood in the middle of the people eating food

www.twincitiesoriginals.com

2 comments:

jigsaw said...

Hi Chao
Thanks for your recent post on the Taste of TCO event. One correction to your Blog - TCO's charitable event partner, Memorial Blood Centers, was offering free Blood Typing and complimentary iron rich recipe cards. They were not drawing blood (big difference). S. Diamond

Ji Yeon said...

Thanks for sharing, nice post!

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