Last week, the organizers of the Texas Renaissance Festival invited media outlets to attend a food show debuting new dishes for the 2015 season. Attendees are in for a tasty time when the festival gets started again in October.
When it comes to festivals, foods on a stick are practical and never go out of style. We've never seen nachos on a stick before, but it is indeed one of the new things under development. The foundation is a strip of beef fajita that's been skewered. It's covered in crushed tortilla chips, then the whole thing is deep fried and garnished with nacho cheese and sour cream. It's a clever idea but--fair warning--gets messy as the coating loses some of its structural integrity as it's consumed.
There are also s'mores-on-a-stick (chocolate-covered marshmallows rolled in crushed grahams) and "The Kraken": chicken-fried chicken breast that's been cleverly cut into an octopus shape. Another deep-fried food on a stick is the deep-fried lobster. Every skewer of battered lobster chunks is cleverly topped with a point of whole claw meat.
They're just coming off their stint at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, but Polish restaurant Polonia already has its Renassaince Festival food in development, including a kraut dog, tiny, puffy Dutch pancakes and Placi Ziemniaczane, or potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce. There was also a mighty fine chocolate and caramel-covered Granny Smith apple to try.
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Some of the best food at the tasting wasn't innovative, but that's not required for great flavor. A really great breakfast burrito full of sliced potatoes, bacon, eggs, green onion and a dense, spicy salsa on the side was a welcome start to the day. Another favorite bite from the tasting were the "Slammers." They're like Scotch eggs, but instead of eggs there's a cheese-stuffed jalapeños encased with ground pork sausage and bacon and deep-fried. For dessert, it's hard to argue with deep-fried baklava, which is rich on the outside and delightfully flaky and crunchy on the inside.
Be sure and seek out the decadently rich and cream baked potato soup with garlic and ham. With the additions of cheese and bits of broccoli, it's like the best of all the great cream soups put together.
Messina Hof Winery has three different Texas Renaissance Festival-themed wines as well: White Knight (a blend of Chenin Blanc, Trebbiano and Gewürztraminer), The King's Red (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and Royal Red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot) especially for the King Midas Masquerade event. Which one did the King of the Texas Renaissance Festival enjoy? "Well, The King's Red, of course, but I found myself quite partial to the King Midas Masquerade wine. I enjoyed that quite a bit."
In the fall, attendees will get their own chance to try these over-the-top treats. The 2015 Texas Renaissance Festival runs on weekends from October 10 through November 29.