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Devoured Food and Wine Classic 2014 Recap

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Despite the cloudy skies and bad weather conditions nothing could prevent Phoenix food connoisseurs from attending one of the best showcase of culinary curators and purveyors in the Arizona food, wine and restaurant industries. The 5th Annual Devoured Food and Wine Classic was held on Saturday, March 1st and Sunday, March 2nd at the Phoenix Art Museum in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Devoured Food and Wine Classic (Devoured Phoenix) is the region’s premier annual culinary event hosted by the Phoenix Art Museum, Local First Arizona and Devour Phoenix.

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This culinary affair featured some of the best fine food and drink producers and purveyors throughout Arizona while simultaneously furthering metro Phoenix as a dining destination worthy of international prestige! Simply put, this event is like heaven for all Foodies, including the healthy, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free and artificial free Foodies like myself! I had the opportunity to attend my second Devoured Phoenix and when I arrived I thought that my experience would be the same as my first-time, but I was proven wrong. In fact, I was astounded by how much the restaurants and their team amped up their creativity strategy. From the beautifully styled table arrangements to the delicious and unique combinations of a variety of foods, Devoured Phoenix was indeed a delectable, memorable experience making it one of the must-attend-soirees of the year!

I welcomed being surrounded by food and healthy beverages in all directions! Though I could not consume everything due to my restrictive dietary requirements, there were still a lot of delicious offerings that I could sample, especially Windsor’s perfectly grilled salmon served over lentils and Joyride’s Cucumber Mint Aqua Fresca! I was equally impressed by the number of restaurants that offered local, free range meat options including grass-fed beef. There were also many fabulous vegan options available, including Barrio’s Cafe delicious guacamole topped with pomegranate seeds and District American Kitchen’s beautifully dressed garden salad with candied olives and house-made almond crunch! There were over 80 restaurants present with demonstrations and samples throughout the weekend. Though some of the restaurants may not have served gluten free, dairy free, soy free items during the event, their on-site team indicated that the restaurants do offer many allergy friendly foods.

Below are a few restaurants that offered gluten free, dairy free and soy free samples. Each of these restaurants indicated that they have gluten free menu options and/or accommodations. Please use caution when dining at the restaurants especially if you have an allergy or Celiac Disease; many of these restaurants are not 100% free from the top seven allergens. I recommend that you call ahead or ask the servers before ordering if you can speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the preparation of the food.

• Windsor
• District American Kitchen & Wine Bar
• Barrio's Café
• Sage Kitchen (formerly called Chakra for Vegetarian Restaurant)
• Different Pointe of View
• Green/Nami
• Kai Restaurant at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass
• House of Tricks Restaurant
• Posh Improvisational Cuisine
• The Farm at South Mountain
• Postino
• Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician (can request lettuce instead of the bun)

For a full listing of all of the restaurants that participated please visit the website http://www.devouredphoenix.com/participants/.

In addition to being wowed by the taste of all the food, as a scientist and recipe developer, I also enjoyed talking with a few of the rock star chefs about their ingenuity behind their creations! I spent a little time chatting with past Food Network’s Chopped 2nd Place Winner and Executive Chef, Judson Branch of ICON at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. I was definitely intrigued and inspired by his interesting dish called "Phoenix Southern Comfort". Chef Judson braised Arizona grass fed beef short ribs for a very long time, and then processed the meat until it was in broken down into small pieces. He then added bread crumbs and spices to the meat, pressed it into small rectangular molds and placed the molds into the refrigerator. After chilling for a couple of hours, he removed the meat from the molds and seared over high heat. Once done, the masterpiece was created and beautifully plated!

Hands down Devoured Phoenix knocked the ball out of the park! However, I do have one suggestion that I would like to see implemented for 2015 which could help attendees with food challenges who want to attend the event. I would like to recommend that the all restaurants create food and beverage cards or flyers that include the name of the samples and the ingredients list and them readily available in each booth.

It’s been almost a week and I can still visualize and taste each dish that I experienced! I guess I’ll start making restaurant reservations so that I can have more of those delicious delights; otherwise, I would have to wait twelve months for the next Devoured Phoenix!

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Please like my Facebook page /RhondasCookingPage and follow me on Twitter @RhondasCooking

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