Latin Food Fest 2016 - recap + got milk pairing

Latin Food Fest is one of the events we enjoy attending because there's plenty of tasty food, not much walking, AND alcohol is included! Dennis wasn't feeling well that day so I found a last minute replacement to join our little group. It was unbelievable that I was introducing THREE people to the world of food tasting that day. Luckily they were coming out with a pro taster!

We started off with a big smile after our very first sample at Cocina 35. This was definitely one of the winners of the day and set off a tingle of heat but I couldn't stop eating anyway!

There was also a fantastic sample from Havana Grill with succulent roast pork and cuban rice and beans. The banana treat was also pleasantly sweet but the yucca was a bit too starchy.

These chicken wings were from Hugo Miranda, the executive chef of Butchers Block Catering. It had a wonderful green sauce to go with it though I did feel like the two wing sample was a bit too generous so early on! I've got more places to hit!

I did like the fresh and zesty ceviche samples (one was fish, the other shrimp) from Northgate Market though my taco was on the plainer side without their spicy salsa!

The black mole was really good from here! I was very tempted to pick some up but decided to wander around more first!

I had to pick the weakest handlebar hot sauce but it's still not something i'd want to eat much of... this was served on top of paella.

I've heard about Embargo Grill before so it was nice to finally sample something from them. This was the lecon slow roasted pork which was on top of tostones, which are plaintains double cooked!

Stoked was another catering type place and they had a huge paella pan in the back! This had a very seafood flavor soaked into the rice and was a nice change from tacos!

I was itching to visit the booze tents at this point so we took a food break. I was happy to sample some Hiro Junmai Sake before hitting up the Fortaleza Tequila booth!

Friend came by and still had three samples to drink from a different tequila booth! Boozer! 

This mezcal was nice and smoky and actually has a very interesting logo (see bottle on right). I also had a little bit of Suerte Tequila which I've sampled during Taste of Old Town.

Round two of food came after I had sampled most spirits in that tent!

First on my list was the Got Milk booth, which sponsored this visit to the festival! It became an amazing opportunity to interview the talented Chef Alejandra Schrader, who is also known as the queen of spice! Additional details to follow at the end of the post.

Here's my attempt to hold both items (arepa and milk) while taking the picture!

There was a great tea sample from here!

Shown here was pulled pork cooked using the Big Green Egg Grill, an item that was being sold at the event.

I was SO sad that I missed Galaxy Taco but look, at least I snapped a picture (of a picture)! =D

I got me a little bit of 'Up A Notch Cooking' jambalaya which was enjoyable! I also sampled Momma Dee's House of Spices used for a ceviche sample.

City Tacos must have been busy since they were also participating at Tacotopia the previous day. Here, they served yet another flavor of tacos... the Borrego with pulled lamb, wild mushrooms, fried leeks, and more! I was getting a bit too full at this point to really taste anything but the bite I had was spot on for lamb!

Abu's Kitchen (who i found at last year's Latin Food Fest) had some new foods to sample which included this pan de jamon and these mini arepas stuffed with various ingredients! They also had the rice and beans I had enjoyed the previous year!

Check out this amazing jamon off the bone, cut fresh right in front of me!

Another refreshing break was from Obrigado which not only had coconut water, but a snowcone station! The shaved ice was made from the coconut water and you had a choice of three flavors to add, such as the green lime that I chose!

I ate so much and was bursting at the seams by the end of the event. Typical food event results achieved!

Interview with Chef Alejandra Schrader:

I learned a few things while chatting with Chef. First off, she was on MasterChef season 2 which means she's a badass cook! Now she has been labeled as the queen of spice and clarified to me that "Spicy doesn't always mean hot... or scorching your tongue." and named some other spices that she liked to use. She chose the arepa as her food for pairing with milk. Wikipedia describes an arepa as "a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. It is eaten daily in those countries and can be served with accompaniments such as cheese, avocado, or split to make sandwiches." I listened to her describe how these breads were made and opened up with a knife, resulting in a pita pocket that we could stuff with the traditional filling. Afterwards, she added a very simple red slaw and that was her creation for this event! I had a taste and it was very good though I had to chase it with milk! It was so delightful speaking with her and hope I'll figure out a way to upload the audio clip. In the meantime, feel free to find out more on her website here.

Disclaimer: we were provided tickets for this event but the opinions are strictly our own. 

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