Devoured Lives Up to Its Name: The Saturday Edition
Erica O'Neil T. Cook's at the Royal Palms served up a "Lamb Duet" at Devoured: a huge portion of Mexican-spiced lamb atop succulent lamb-drenched Israeli couscous.
Cloudy skies and light rain didn't scare away hordes of hungry Devoured participants on Saturday. And chefs from across the Valley turned out to show off their tastiest small (and not so small in some cases -- we're looking at you, T. Cook's!) plates and nibbles.
Erica O'Neil Windsor's melt-in-your-mouth short ribs with crispy onions and a fresh summer salad
With over 45 restaurants serving dishes, it was impossible to leave hungry, or thirsty, as local wineries and breweries poured samples along side microbreweries and vintners from across the United States. There were dishes to suit just about anyone's palate, but beets were the big ingredient this year, showing up in just about every salad we tried (and we tried a lot of salads) or flying solo in all their sweet and earthy glory. Short ribs also were the highlight of the festival, with just about everything from ravioli to tostadas packed with braised short ribs.
There's a reason Devoured sold out nearly a month ahead of the festival date: It continues to be the best bang for your culinary festival buck. Plus free admission to the Phoenix Art Museum afterwards helped us walk off the impending food coma.
So with a happy belly and the first button to our pants undone, we bring you pictures of all the lovely food.
Erica O'Neil The prettiest booth at the festival, courtesy of Churn.
Churn continues to be one of the most whimsical contenders at Devoured, showing up with little bags of sweet treats to distribute to diners. Its grasshopper ice cream sandwiches were not to be missed, with a mint crunch ice cream held together by two chocolate crinkle cookies dusted with powdered sugar.
Erica O'Neil Gertrude's new twist on milk and cookies.
Gertrude's turned out a sweet dish, too, with a velvety mesquite-smoked chocolate ganache dotted with a lightly sweetened ice milk cube and accompanied by a little chocolate cookie. To counter that sweet treat, Gertrude's also offered a fresh pea and radish lettuce wrap and a lovely homemade burrata topped with strawberries drizzled in balsamic vinegar, pink pepper, and mint.
Federal Pizza may be new to the culinary scene, but it served up one of our favorite pairings at Devoured. A braised short rib ravioli with baby carrots and mushroom au jus complemented by colorful beets from Duncan Farm that sat atop a preserved lemon marscapone topped with hazelnuts, micro chervil, and a sauvignon blanc vinaigrette.
Erica O'Neil Forget the pizza, Federal served up a tasty short rib ravioli and beets. Erica O'Neil Los Sombreros served hibiscus tea and slow-roasted tomatillo pork.
Los Sombreros represented its Mexican food well. We especially liked the bright and floral hibiscus tea that was lightly sweetened. Having eaten at enough Mexican restaurants, we'd call it jamaica, as a single sip should sell the masses on it despite the foreign Mexican name. The slow-roasted tomatillo pork was also a must-try -- fork-tender and bursting with bold flavor.
Crispy-fried sushi from Sushi Roku.
Sushi Roku's one-bite fried sushi may not have been the most traditional Japanese food in town, but it was the tastiest at the festival. Crispy-fried vinegar rice was tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce, then topped with spicy tuna. Two bites of sushi perfection, and we didn't mind having to lick our fingers afterwards.
Arrogant Bucher may have underwhelmed with its jambalaya (not enough bam! to make Emeril happy, certainly), but the caper-topped salmon salad was more than enough to make up for it. Salty, sweet, slightly fishy, and perfect atop the crostini, although we would have been happy to eat that dish solo by the spoonful.