Food & Drink Festivals

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Sample sliders for a good cause at Kierland Commons at the 2019 Slider Throwdown, which will take place on Sunday, November 17 from noon to 3 p.m. The burger battle, which features local food truck vendors competing for the coveted “Best Slider” title, will benefit the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF), a nonprofit that provides programming and scholarships to foster children throughout the state. “Our mission is to help foster children navigate the...

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Tomorrow more than 75 of the Southwest's best craft breweries are gathering at the Phoenix Convention Center for an annual toast to great beer at the Real Wild & Woody Festival. Savor seasonal sips, indulge in award-winning brews, tap into specialty casks and enjoy a whole lot of food, music, games and activities. But whatever you do, don't miss out on wetting your whistle with these unique new releases:
 

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Is there anything better than a festival overflowing with food? No, the answer is definitively no. For food lovers, tastemakers, and trend chasers, food festivals are our Mall of America; a near-endless shopping center chock full of treats, sweets and new eats. To be clear, festivals comes from the Latin festum which quite literally means feast; so, there is no better way to put on a festival than by placing the word "food" in front of it. Regardless of the season, Phoenix hosts several intriguing and uninhibited food festivals that serve the niche and general markets which categorize our various taste preferences. So, skim through our list below and check out the coolest food festivals that are arriving in the Valley soon.

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Pineapple-topped guac on chips from The Mission.

Earlier this month, 14 chefs gathered at The Camby hotel in Central Phoenix for the Rock the Guac competition in honor of National Guacamole Day and benefitting Free Arts of Arizona. Their challenge? Creating different guacamoles designed to stand out.

I know taste testing 14 different guacamoles may seem like a dream, but let me tell you that guac has the tendency to taste more or less the same after a few scoops. But in the name of journalism, I persevered.

The sweetest (perhaps weirdest) take was from Tarbell’s in Phoenix that whipped up a chocolate mousse dessert topped with an avocado mousse/puree. It was tasty but let’s face it, couldn’t pass as guacamole. I can’t say there were any competitors that I flat out didn’t like at all, but my favorite was The Market by Jennifer’s. I loved that the chef used focaccia instead of the hackneyed tortilla chip and how she managed to seamlessly blend many different flavors and textures together.

Below are four guacamoles that stood out, both to me and the official judges, plus a recipe for the first prize winner.

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Animal protein ain’t the only way to get your gains, bro.

At least, according to a recent study in the journal “Nutrients” from Arizona State University. The researchers tracked the diets of vegetarian and omnivore endurance athletes for a week then had them complete a series of fitness tests. The findings? Both categories of athletes performed at basically the same level and had very similar body compositions.

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Dust off your dirndls and don your lederhosen – Oktoberfest events are here, and they’re bringing Bavarian beer, bratwursts and polka music with them. Of all the very many “Volkfests” in the Valley, here are the five most “fantastiche,” listed in order of occurrence:

Brat Haus Oktoberfest, September 17

Drunken competition fuels the fun at this fete – lederhosen and dirndl contests, a brat-eating contest, beer garden games and even a “Badass Beard Contest” will keep people whooping and hollering as they dance to a DJ and get their giant steins laser-etched and filled with fresh-tapped Oktoberfest beer. The food feast includes knockwurst, pork knuckle, giant turkey legs and specialty pretzels. $8 presale, $10 at the door. Free admission for wearing a dirndl or lederhosen. brathausaz.com

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