Sunday, July 17, 2011

Road tripping in the super sexy veggie van

Yesterday was the annual Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration at the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio. (Note: this Milan is pronounced “Mylan.” I guess I was trying to fancy it up by pronouncing it like the city in Italy. Whoops.) I attended for the first time and had a blast stuffing my face and sweating my ass off (OK, sweating wasn’t so fun, but at least everyone was).

I first heard about Veggie U from my friend Michelle at Cleveland Foodie a couple years ago. Veggie U is a program that educates fourth graders across the country on the importance of making wise food choices and understanding where their food comes from. As a new mom, I am all about that! I’m so proud that my Pickle loads up on the veggies. I love being a Veggie U donor and supporting their efforts.

Since the event was an hour away, a group of us hired a church van super sexy veggie van as deemed by Suzanne as our stylized method of transportation. It was hard to stay sexy since said van didn’t have air besides the lovely wind from the highway that ganstered up my hair. It also had a questionable tire. But, we had a blast with our hors d’oeuvres, Busch beer and seat dancing!

My fave foods from the event were Jeni’s Ice Creams, a goat cheese mousse salad, Washington Place Bistro’s pork and fried tomato dish and a mini champagne bottle with a straw. I waited in line three times for Jeni’s (What? It was hot!). The flavors I tried were goat cheese with cherries, pistachio and honey, lemon and blueberries and a taste of Allison’s sweet corn and black raspberries. I am seriously considering serving some at the Pickle’s one-year birthday party since Heinen’s sells pints.
Jeni & Charity are BFFs!
There was a fun panel discussion that featured The Greenhouse Tavern's Jonathan Sawyer (Noodlecat), Chipotle’s founder Steve Ells, former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and Veggie U Farmer Lee Jones. I asked the panel about their favorite veggies and will always think of Farmer Lee Jones whenever I eat asparagus since he said he lusts after them when they’re not in season.
Panel discussion
We noticed on the drive in that part of the farm had a big sign noting that the oregano being grown was for Chipotle. Yay! When Steve Ells said his favorite veggie is broccoli rabe, audience members shouted to make a new burrito with it. Yum!
Oregano for Chipotle!
Near the end of the event, the organizers gave away all of the beautiful fresh veggies on display and I got myself a hefty handful of carrots. I was so excited that the Pickle and I ate some for breakfast. Everyone was right: they are so sweet!

Initially, I had planned to go to Taste of Tremont today, but I think I’ve had my fill of heat and food this weekend. Have fun!

*Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to the Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration during a blogger dinner at Washington Place Bistro in May.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Pickle looks so cute with the carrot stick. This morning I was just thinking about buying a juicer, so I could have fresh carrot juice for the kids. Sounds like you had a nice time at the event!

    Hugs and Mocha,