Cinco D’Ohio…Dios Mio!
Posted by cmh gourmand on May 3, 2009
If you missed the 3rd Annual North Market Cinco D’Ohio Festival, fret not, it will return next May. Cinco D’Ohio offers more than a few things worth waiting for, especially if you cook or enjoy eating the works of the best restaurants in Columbus.
The festival highlights spicy foods and Ohio products with plenty more added in during the day.
My contribution was to serve as a judge for the salsa and taco contests. Tough job. Well a little tough because I could not find my normal parking space due to the Half Marathon going on downtown. Then, running a bit late, I had to fight my way though hundreds of Future Farmers of America to get to the North Market Kitchen.
The salsa contest was for amateurs. Eight salsas were presented by six salsa makers. One person won first and second place. The prizes were gift certificates for the North Market and CaJohn’s. Start working on your recipe for next year, you have to like those odds of winning.
Next on the list – a taco taste off. The contestants – some of the best chefs in the city – including several of my favorites.
Alana – Alanas
John Dornback – Basi Italia
John Skaggs – My Catered Table
Matt Litzinger – L’Antibes
Brian Pawlak – Deepwood
Janele Hedgepeth – Barleys
Pete and Jon Nowak – Cafe Corner
and later arrivals from Due Amici (sorry guys missed your names)
I ate eight tacos. All were good (and I have a lot of recent taco experience). Some were great. The winner with 126 out of a possible 160 points – Cafe Corner. Second place was John Skaggs with 125 points. I was torn between two tasty favorites, John Skagg’s Taco Dorado (seen below) with wild boar, venison and all types of exotic goodness.
Tying up my taste buds, one point behind (only on presentation, John Skaggs is the master at that) was Alana’s Mole Taco with Mango salsa. It was incredible. The Cinco D’Ohio Festival is one of the few times Alana cooks up south of the border fare. The sad thing is she dropped her intended mole that morning which meant she had to mix up mole on the fly. I imagine Mole Numero Uno might have been even better than what Alana served at the contest. That being the case, I would have volunteered to “clean up” the “mislaid” mole observing the 6,000 second rule.
OK. so watching top chefs work = fun. Or maybe you would like to see the city’s Foodaratzzi – G.A. Benton, Miriam Bowers Abbott, Robin (James Beard Award Winner) Davis, Lisa (Restaurant Widow) Dillman and the always fun Jennifer and Jennifer (The Lunch Ladies from ThisWeekNewspapers) in one place. The best part was a lot of those Top Tacos were left and the audience ate them. So you can wait until next year. However, my suggestion is to attend one of the next events and/or become a Friend of North Market (Volunteer) and sample the best of the best before May 2010.
P.S. Restaurant Widow was “a twitter” during the whole taco tasting and took photos of each taco. This Taco Twitter was the first live twitter event at North Market.