The World Food and Music Festival returned to Des Moines's East Village for it's ninth year this past weekend. The weather was perfect for the event with temperatures in the seventies all three days. There was a great deal of concern after last Thursday's nasty thunderstorm moved through bringing 50 - 80 mile per hour winds and left over 40,000 Des Moines Metro residents and businesses without power. Luckily, however, the festival was unaffected by the storm, and the turnout was excellent. Here is a look at the some of the culinary gems that highlighted this year's festival.
One of the items that had many people talking was the Twister Footlong from Sim Catering. The Twister Footlong consisted of thin, spiral-cut potatoes wrapped around a footlong hot dog, then deep fried. While it was not the healthiest dish at the festival, it certainly seemed to draw the most attention.
The mammoth burritos from Jose's Tacos definitely turned heads at the festival as well. The burritos were too messy to pick up (they were smothered in multiple sauces), but too thick to cut well with plastic silverware. However, if you could figure out how to get them into your mouth, they sure were tasty and filling.
The Yanni's Grill stand served a number of excellent dishes this year, but the two stand-outs were the marinated chicken skewers and the cannoli. The chicken skewers were juicy, flavorful, and inexpensive ($1 each). Yanni's cannoli ($2) were just heavenly—crispy outside, sweet and creamy inside, and cold on a warm, sunny afternoon.
Yanni's cannoli were not the only decadent dessert items at the festival. The Cupcake Emporium, Tami's Tarts, and Chocolaterie Stam all offered sumptuous treats as well. The Cupcake Emporium offered a number of sweet sensations, highlighted by The Iowa Cupcake (honey buttercream frosting and candied bacon atop a light corn cake, $3) and the Rockin' Red Velvet Waffle (a red velvet Belgian waffle topped with a cream cheese glaze, whipped cream, and chocolate chips, $5). Tami's Tarts offered a Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Tart ($5) that people were raving about before the festival even started. Chocolaterie Stam served up a variety of tasty gelato flavors (samples were just $1).
One can only eat so many sweets, though. So hearty dishes like Papillon Bosnian Foods' Sarma (cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice, $3), Chicken Larp from Blu (ground chicken served with onion, cilantro, and mint served with sticky rice, $5 or $1 for sample), and Andulusia's mushroom soup (mushrooms, milk, butter, garlic, and onion, $5 or $1 for sample) ruled the day. While a number of the returning vendors pared down their menus this year, there were several more vendors this year than in past years, so attendees still had a great variety of dishes to choose from. For a look at the festival's fare, check out the accompanying slideshow.