We attended the causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic again this year, and each of the three years that the event has taken place… it’s grown. Unfortunately, the seating situation seems to have gotten worse and worse (i.e. it’s really difficult to get a table when attending with a group – hint, hint Swan & Dolphin). Our group this year was the largest yet, there were eight of us. Asta ended up commandering a table in the pool area of the swan near the end of the causeway – we camped out there as our group waxed and waned when foraging.
There were a number of food stations this year…
Shula’s Steakhouse (carved prime rib, roasted garlic mashed potatoes) – we not only saw prime rib served with creamed spinach, we had filet, garlic mashed potatoes, and horseradish cream sauce… The filet was tasty, especially with the horseradish sauce…
Garden Grove (jumbo lump crabcake sliders, shredded iceburg, pickle chip, old bay aioli, sesame rolls) – we didn’t taste this or get a photo this year, but we did last year (here)
Cib’s Smoke House (smoked pork belly, texas toast, baked bean foam) – this was just as good as it was last year, nora’s only regret from eating along the causeway, she only got one serving this year!
Fresh (custom blended 2 oz burger, cheddar cheese roll, truffle aioli, carmelized onions) – neither nora nor nick tasted this, no photos
bluezoo (pan seared shrimp ‘n’ grits) – now nora specifically avoided ordering this as an appetizer on Thursday night at bluezoo because she knew it was going to be on the causeway, again she only got one and it was yummy
Cabana Bar & Beach Club (blackened fish taco) – this venue is the pool bar for the Dolphin – nick thought they were okay, there wasn’t anything very distinct about the flavor (but it could have been because it cooled down as nick went foraging for more food)
Laurent Branlard (strawberry sundaes and assorted desserts) – nora tried to get one of everything, but her plate wasn’t big enough – here are two of the desserts, the strawberry sundae was voted to be the best of all the sweets by our table
Fountain (falafel = chick pea fritter, tahini, traditional garnish) – this wasn’t as OUTSTANDING as it was last year, nora thinks that last year they were serving them as soon as they were fried and they were to die for, this year, they were simply good falafel – nora also seems to remember that in years past she was served two or three falafels each time
Il Mulino (fried calamari, spicy marinara) – this was quite good, the calamari wasn’t greasy or over cooked and the marinara did have a little crushed red pepper in it, tasty
Todd English (varieties and preparations of TE oysters) – no photos as it got to be too dark and too late for good pictures, these were the hit of the night – nora saw people walking around with large fried oysters on skewers, Asta and others at our table went back repeatedly for the oysters on the half shell topped with fried quail eggs, there were variations in what TE was serving as the night went on…
Michael Mina (Michael Mina’s hamachi parfait, crispy rice cake, wasabi tobiko) – this was pretty good too, there was a nice portion of hamachi and the entire tasting had a nice clean feel to it
Kimono’s (spicy yellow fin tuna, nori, seasoned rice) – we were sitting very close to the Kimono’s booth and most of us really like sushi, so quite a bit of this stuff was eaten at our table…
Sake, Wine, Beer Tastings – we couldn’t really figure out what was going on, it seemed like other people were getting better pours of all of these than our group was, maybe they were going to different booths than we were (although there was only one sake booth and only one beer booth). Nora tried a number of wines from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa -her favorite was the Jam Jar Moscato from South Africa; she tried to trick the pourer into giving her a full glass (well, fuller at least), she got her little less than 1/2 glass, walked off and got some food, came back and asked for more, got maybe half of a dinky pour. Like we said, couldn’t really figure this out – is it an attempt to keep people from getting intoxicated? or is it just cheapness on the part of the distributors?
Regardless, we had a great time on the causeway with our friends and are looking forward to 2013!
For some really good food photos, check out Eating (and Drinking) Around the World (here).