Oregon Wine, Food & Brew Festival -- 2011

Can Opener Boy here...
We went to the Oregon Wine, Food, & Brew Festival tonight and were definitely not disappointed. We'd opted for the $10 general admission (with a great two-for-one deal through Groupon!). This meant we didn't get a free tasting glass or admission to the VIP lounge but that was fine with us!

We knew we needed some food in our gullet before sampling all the wonderful beverages. Although there was a fair number represented, we quickly chose Hot Diggity Dogs which had a wonderful selection of grilled sausages, with free samples!
We both decided on the Spicy Italian Sausage -- very flavorful, with just the right amount of heat on the back end.
At their generous condiment section, we followed their written-on-the-napkin instructions (including an impassioned plea to not ruin their sausage with ketchup!) and avoided drowning our dogs in jalapenos, kraut, or relish. We each picked a small blot or two of mustard. The flavor of the chicken sausage was wonderfully complex and the buns were soft and warm.

We stood at a bistro table and surveyed the map of vendors, ultimately going with our usual game plan: "Let's just go up one aisle and then down the next..." All the staff were friendly and courteous, the tastes were generous and all over the map in terms of flavors and aromas and mouthfeel, etc.

We were very glad to see Palotai Wines there. John Olson was still the consummate host (we'd met him before, and posted about it here).
He remembered our faces and the blog post from 7 months ago...and comped our samples for the night! We tried a number of his amazing creations, and were once again in love with his chardonnay: crisp, vibrant, and the perfect mix of dry and sweet. We bought a special bottle of his Moutage (a very reasonable $30) for our upcoming anniversary.
Note the new label name TeSoAria -- combining the Romance Language words for Earth (Terra), Sun (Sol), Air & Music (Aria) -- the elements which infuse his wines with that something special. And a big congrats to John: his wine is currently featured at renowned Seattle restaurant The Herbfarm!

It sure was nice to see not only so many local vintners, brewers, and purveyors of fine foods -- but also some from far away, recognizing that Salem's culture is on the upswing and ready for some diversity!

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Rebekah & Karla -- what have you to add? =O)

Karla's addition: Over the past 6+ months I had been following Oregon Wine, Food and Brew Festival on both Twitter and Facebook.  My hopes went higher with every status update-- wine, beer, chocolate, eats, oh my!

After our initial walk through, disappointment was my first impression;  Cutco Knives? Tees that read, "Orgasm State"?  {sigh} After our second go round, we began to enjoy tastes from Giradet, Cubanisimo, Seven Brides, Gilgamesh, Wandering Aengus and Astoria Brewing Co.  I had hoped to see Hillcrest,  Sylvan Ridge and a few others.

As far as the food goes, I have this vision in my head of what eats I'd like to see at an event like this.  Perhaps a festival version of tapas?  The grilled shrimp and chicken we ate on skewers were easy to eat and share.  And the apple dumplings from Bear Creek  we ate with our glass of Wandering Aengus cider, were a great treat.
Overall (after that first walk through), we enjoyed visiting with people, trying out some brews and wines and listening to the music.
The two of us had a nice time, but I still see room for improvement.

Rebekah's Two Cents: I just wanted to add a few tidbits that I noticed about my trip to the festival. I had heard some not-so-good reviews last year, so my expectations were low. I was happy with the amount and variety of wines from around Oregon and Washington and I was excited to be able to try some wines from wineries in the Umpqua Valley. I may even make a wine tasting trip to that area someday soon after the tastes I sampled.

I also noted that the food was a bit lacking, but was very impressed with the dogs from Hot Diggity Dogs. I would have liked to see a few more food booths spread out here and there between alcohol booths, so that you could move naturally from one to the other instead of having to go to one end of the building to get most of the food.

I also really enjoyed some tastes of vodka from the New Deal Distillery out of Portland. They have some great infused vodkas! The Hot Monkey (spicy pepper infused vodka) is one of my favorites. They also had a chocolate infused vodka which was very tasty.

As for the music. I was impressed with the listenability (did I make that word up?) of the musicians they had booked. It was nice background music and didn't make it impossible to hear the people next to you.

5 comments:

Salem Man said...

Looks like we need to get a Hot Diggity Dogs franchise going in Salem.

Peggy Van Horn said...

Went to the festival and purchased two shirts from Back Ali Barbs to be delivered. I have yet to receive them, phone goes straight to voice mail and the mail box is full. If I don't get an answer and/or my merchandise I will contact the credit card company and file a complaint with the better business bureau.

Anonymous said...

I have the same issue as Peggy Van Horn's with Back Ali Barb's. I will be filing a dispute with my credit union to get my money back.

Anonymous said...

A year later and no t-shirt?

That is going to be tough to challenge with your credit union twelve months after the fact...

But good luck!

Oregon Maiden said...

My initial question would be whether you know if "Back Ali Barb" is actually still in business. If so, I second the suggestion made last year in regard to filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

In addition, I would certainly touch base with the organizers of the event that hosted her.

Although frustrating, it falls into the category of comparatively minor loss. However, as a sort of public service for the readership, I think people who have suffered losses from businesses who take their money but never provide services should know that they can file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice (Attorney General's Office) in the Financial Fraud/Civil Enforcement section. It's pretty easy/straightforward and you can do it online. Both BBB and the AG's Office can contact the business;I have had good luck with getting action.