#35 Inland Seafood Festival - Cincinnati, OH - August 14, 2010
The $10.95 whole Maine lobster. This was the big draw at this festival, and I'll admit I was excited about a whole lobster for under 11 bucks. I should have expected that it would taste like a $10.95 lobster. The tail meat was mushy and had no discernible taste. The claw meat tasted a bit better, but it saddened me to think this critter gave its life to end up like this. The festival began on Thursday and I attended the festival on Saturday. This lobster tasted like it had been boiled to death on Thursday and held until I arrived. A theme I suspect was true for other items as well.
Meet the seafood coney. I was expecting some type of seafood patty or formed meat topped with some type of sauce. instead I was handed this pile of hot mess. It consisted of assorted seafood bits that was served out of an aluminum pan from a vendor who's sign simply read, "Seafood". All the warning signs were there, but I ignored them in an attempt to try something new. This bit of over confidence hurt me for the next 24 hours. I pride myself for having an iron stomach, and this little beauty had my stomach making sounds like a bear in a cave.
I was disappointed thus far to say the least, until I saw this shrimp cocktail. Despite the saddest plating of a shrimp cocktail I have ever come across, this was actually very good. I guess you really can't screw up shrimp cocktail, but nothing would have surprised me here.
For the second week in a row, I tried some alligator on a stick. This week's sample came battered instead of the breaded variety I had last week. I will have to admit that this alligator tasted better, and was actually a very good dish. If you haven't tried alligator, you should. It may be the most accessible and tame exotic meat out there.
I didn't actually taste this behemoth of a pita, but loyal reader Bucky assured me it was quite tasty. It was basically a seafood gyro, and definitely seemed more fresh than the other items I had sampled.
This was supposedly a lobster ravioli. Maybe I have a different definition of lobster ravioli, but I would assume it would require lobster. A fact that was overlooked in this dish. It tasted like ricotta cheese inside a dough ball. Disappointing, but I was more than happy to share my lobster tail meat to supplement this dish for other diners.
One of my favorite classics, fish and chips. It is really hard to screw up this classic as well, and I am happy to report that loyal reader Aaron described this dish as pretty good.
This festival took place on the other side of the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. This picture contains the downtown Cincinnati Skyline including the Great American Ballpark of the Reds. I always want to use Mickey Mouse's voice when I say the Great American Ballpark. The St. Louis Cardinals will always be my baseball team, and after the recent unpleasantness between these two teams, the Reds are a bunch of Cuetos. I kid, kind of. I don't know who this guy is, but I like his analysis.
Festive Trinket of the Week: A warbling bird whistle. You can fill the top of the bird with water, and it makes a warbling sound when you blow through it. The vendor put on quite the display with this simple concept, and I half expected birds to be miraculously drawn to him. They weren't and I can't get the whistle to sound like his. At least, I talked him down enough in price that it is now only slightly over-priced.
Video of the Week: This is the Darkstar Band performing the classic "Johnny B. Goode" by St. Louis native Chuck Berry. You can see that this show was in high demand and seating was at a premium. I'm still having video issues, but I couldn't rob my loyal reader of seeing the actual conditions at this festival.
I actually incorporated this festival into a trip to visit some old friends. Three of my friends were able to accompany me to this festival, which really increased the amount of food I was able to taste. I would never have been able to taste this much food by myself (Or at least I wouldn't have). Many thanks to my friends Aaron, Bucky and Tim for their company and willingness to explore.
Now the concept of an INLAND Seafood Festival had been troubling me way before I bit into that seafood coney. How does it even make sense? A seafood festival in Kentucky. It was a concept almost too weird to pass up. Yet, the inherent problem of an inland seafood is that all of the food must be transported in and I'm not sure how much attention was paid to safe food handling. Add to this calamity that the temperature was hovering around the 100 degree mark, and you have a recipe for disaster. Seafood coney I'm looking in your direction.
I was still disappointed, and surprisingly shocked, about the lobster. I wished it could have had a fate similar to Pinchy from the Simpsons. If you would like to know more than anyone should know about lobster then this page has a lot of good info and links to satisfy every question. I originally theorized that maybe the Gulf oil spill may have affected this festival. Apparently I was just making excuses for shoddy food. If you don't like seafood, or are now scared to eat it, then this may be a good compromise. Brilliant. It definitely could have been worse, I mean click here and look up sild from Iceland.
Bad seafood on a hot day may not sound like a good time to you, but I ended up having a blast with my buddies. It's always more fun to attend festivals with a group of other hungry people. It's kind of funny that my plans to visit friends in other cities are now reliant on whether there is a suitable festival during their availability. The seafood may have won this battle, but like the Reds, we'll see who wins the war. The next seafood festival I go to may actually need to be near...I don't know...a sea!