One person’s opinion
Coverage of Bacchanali XV wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some of the dishes provided by local restaurants and caterers for the food-tasting event. So, as I have done in the past, here are my comments on the offerings:
The bacon truffle eggs provided by Southside 313 Bar & Grille could become habit forming. The bacon bits and rosemary mixed with mayo provided a subtler taste than the usual deviled eggs.
Pats Pizza & Bistro proved it was more than a pizza place with its Sophia Loren Bruschetta, a custardy pasta with three cheeses that don’t overpower. The bread was nicely crispy around the edges, topped with fresh mozzarella and basil/carrot pesto, and lightly drizzled with Balsamic vinegar.
The Daisy Hill Market had its own winning version of bruschetta, which was braised beef cooked with 32 spices and served on toast with a little cheese. That version has really raised the taste bar for any other contenders.
The Comfort Suites’ own eatery, the Hill to Hill Grille, offered a mini version of Broccoli Alfredo Tortellini. The pasta was well cooked and the sauce had a nice, unexpected tang.
Chili was on the menu from Cactus Blue Mexican Restaurant. Made from shredded beef, roasted corn, black beans, chorizo sausage and chipotle peppers, it was definitely not your ordinary chili. A bit of sweet; a bit of pepper, but not too much of either. This writer spent 20 years in New Mexico, and she never tasted better.
The Other Fish paired its spicy Soba noodles with tuna sashimi. The presentation was a work of art. Very popular were the assorted sushi rolls. What great appetizers!
Molly’s Irish Grille & Sports Pub was at the Bacchanalia again with its hearty, very tasty Guinness Beef Stew. With just a hint of beer and a touch of sweet, the beef and veggies were married very happily.
It was Bayou Mac & Cheese over at The Bayou’s table, but this house-made iconic sampler was a dish with a difference. Ham hock bits added a slightly smoky taste to the peas, aged cheddar cheese and pasta. Yum!
The beef brisket and pickled onion sliders with coleslaw from M.T. McCarley’s were an interesting combination of flavors that were at once both hearty and subtle. What’s not to like.
Last, but in my opinion, the best was Chef Chad Licsko’s Thai Red Coconut Curry Chicken served with Basmati rice, sprinkled lightly with parsley. It was spicy, but in perfect balance with the other ingredients. You could say it was “to die for,” but I’d rather live to eat more.
It is a shame that Licsko is the Sodexo executive chef for the Bethlehem Area School District, and not working in some restaurant where I could eat his curry chicken whenever I wanted. Guess I’ll just have to go back to school.
This is quite a feat at an event where food has to made ahead of time, transported to the event site, then kept constantly warm for three hours or more.
As someone who tries to cook, I take my culinary hat off to all the restaurants who participated in the Bacchanalia food-tasting fundraiser.