Quick Bites: Taste of the Gardens had more variety than ever

Quick Bites today has the latest on The Chief, Taste of the Gardens, Chubby Trout, Elkhart Dining Days and other restaurant news.
Posted on Sept. 3, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

What's Marshall King up to this week? Read this week's Dining A La King to find out.

Once again, thousands of people gathered at Wellfield Botanic Gardens on a warm, summer day for Taste of the Gardens.

Once again, Elkhart’s restaurants and caterers came and fed the crowd.

In two tents, food and drink were sold as music played.

It’s not intended to be the Elkhart County 4-H Fair or Rhapsody in Green. It’s intended to be more upscale.

So what’s the perfect food at a fundraiser for a private, non-profit garden?

I think it’s lobster arancini.

I didn’t taste everything being offered at Taste, but I loved this item from Lucchese’s.

This version was risotto mixed with lobster, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. So you get a crisp coating around a rich filling.

It’s still fried festival food, but it’s not low-brow. It was $6 and I’m still recalling the flavor.

Kurt Janowsky of the Matterhorn said the fried macaroni and cheese croquette with a side of ranch dressing was a good dish for this Elkhart festival. It was one of three macaroni and cheeses being served and had more flavor than the one I sampled from Chubby Trout.

Mexican food was popular from ModMex and La Esperanza, while b on the River was dishing up gelato and SugaRush had a table full of baked sweets.

Oddly, there was little Italian food to be had. Perhaps next year Paul Cataldo of Antonio’s can bring his pizza oven on a trailer (he has one) to solve that issue.

Ÿ The next big dining event in Elkhart is growing. The first Elkhart Dining Days now has 16 restaurants signed on to offer either $25 three-course meals or two meals for $25. Two dollars of every meal sold from Sept. 24 to Oct. 6 will be given to Church Community Services. Sauk Trail on 17, Harrison Landing and Miles Lab have all agreed to participate, according to organizer Michele Scherpenberg.

Ÿ The last day of The Chief’s 50th season is Saturday. First Friday will likely be busy there and pints will be sold until they’re gone Saturday. Goshen is lucky to have a business such as this. Owner Randy Steffen said they’ve had a good season with strong sales. Pints will likely be available in December when Christmas tree sales start.

Ÿ Takeria El Maza is open at 214 Johnston St. in Goshen’s North Meadow Plaza near S.R. 15. It’s serving tacos, tortas, burritos and quesadillas. The owner is Brian Celis. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Phone: 574-533-3833.

Ÿ Chubby Trout has a new chef. Pamela J. “PJ” Cowbill worked on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and has worked with Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse, according to a press release from owner Cam Snyder. She has a degree from Johnson and Wales and more than 30 years of culinary experience. She’s living in South Bend.

Ÿ Crimaldi’s, 117 W. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, will be serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The restaurant and bar will start being open at lunch this week and continue through the fall and winter months, according to owner Mike Crimaldi.

Ÿ Hotdogeddy’s will make its last Friday lunch appearance of the year this week outside Pop Culture, 124 S. Main St., Elkhart. The lunch special includes a hot dog, bag of chips and soda from the store for $6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ed Hayden’s cart can also be seen outside Harrison Landing some nights and that will continue until the weather changes, said Hayden.

Ÿ Who was responsible for the first broken mug of the mug club at Iechyd Da Brewing Co. in Elkhart?

It was me. But it wasn’t my mug. It was Ashley Krieg’s. I accidentally knocked the pretty ceramic mug out of her hand. It shattered when it hit the floor. I apologized profusely and she gets a replacement. But I’m owning up to the fact that I not only wasted some of Chip Lewis’s good beer, but destroyed the mug of a downtown Elkhart restaurateur. Krieg, who operates Mini Delights Bake Shoppe with her mother, was gracious.

Marshall V. King is news and multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him via mking@etruth.com, 574-296-5805 or the Dining A La King Facebook page at www.facebook.com/diningalaking.

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