Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OWFF Part 2

On to part two of the Wine and Food Fest, with a bit more emphasis on the food.

Something to be said for classic pairings, like a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc with fresh oysters from Big Daddy's Crab Shack. The crisp, lemony wine brings out the ocean-wave tang of those freshly shucked bivalves.

The server at the booth was all set to pour on any number of their dozen-or-so signature sauce options, but I can never bring myself to sully the aphrodisiacal cocktail of an oyster with anything. SLURP.

I fell in love with Heart and Crown's Angus beef sliders (served with samples of Labatt 50 - Dad would have been impressed.) Drippy, oozing cheesy-greasy goodness, squished between a pair of soft pretzel buns, the tender, well-seasoned beef patty called forth a deep, eye-rolling sigh from the very depths of my being. Heaven. And hey! Someone finally brought back the wine holder plates! (Although once everyone found them, Hubby and I weren't the coolest kids in the class anymore. Ah well ...)

I'm still raving about the best dish of the night (for me, anyway): STEaK's gnocchi pulled pork poutine. Big fan of those little Italian tater knots, so why not try it in poutine? And not just drowned in ho-hum gravy. They scooped on a generous stack of stringy BBQ'd pork in a rich, smoky-sweet sauce. If I had a better track record with gnocchi, I'd so make this at home. Even better idea: get myself over to STEaK for more ...

Some "meh" moments cropped up here and there. Savour Ottawa's locavore tasting plate (yak tartare, goat cheese with popcorn, bite-sized "ham dinner") was served lukewarm and lacked seasoning, making for a pricey ($10/plate) disappointment. In a tribute to Homer, I tried the D'Oh Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC (Piedmont, Italy), but found it fairly one-dimensional and boring. And where, oh where, were my Santé Bali spring rolls?

Those few hiccups, however, were bookended by a stellar line-up of producers to match the impressive new digs. The first run of this new "festival" format has drawn to a close, but I'm sure the organizers have already launched themselves into planning mode, where they will spend the next 12 months ironing out the kinks and making things even better, bigger, more lavish and more delicious.

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