This was Cleveland's and my fourth Fabulous Food Show. We are so lucky that we get to have this event every year (minus 2005 when there was no show) and every year I have the best time. It's a big highlight of November. The way it works is that you buy a ticket for the event and with that ticket you get to see one celebrity chef appearance. The first year, when it was called The Great Big Food Show, we saw Rachael Ray. The second year, when it became and remained, The Fabulous Food Show, we saw Paula Deen. Last year we saw Alton Brown. And this year, we saw Cleveland's own Michael Symon!
We had our choice of Paula Deen, her son Bobby Deen, TLC's Take Home Chef Curtis Stone, Guy Fieri, or Michael Symon. Having bought our tickets this year at the door, we didn't have much choice but we were all thrilled to get tickets to see Cleveland's Iron Chef! But that comes later. Let's back up.
When we first arrived, we immediately saw the gorgeous cakes that White Flower Cake Shop displays every year. I absolutely loved the Cheeseburger cake:
And the Halloween cake. Unfortunately I cut this picture off at the top so you can't even make out that the top is a black cat! SO cute though!
After looking at the cakes we started walking. The place is huge and it's packed with vendors all wanting you to sample their food. You really need to have a plan or you'll miss something so we try to go up one aisle and down the next. We don't always succeed but we try. We had some really delicious samples from broccoli cheddar soup, to delicious olives, to pulled pork, to chocolate covered potato chips, to freshly squeezed juices, to Ohio grown apples, to cheesecake, to lasagna, to one of my fave things that I always buy... Sunbutter, to OMG, stop me!!! It's a giant food fest. You may think, "it's just a sample, how full can you get?" But believe me, getting full happens! Some samples are huge and generous, some are just a taste. Thank goodness we're walking the whole time or I'd have to be rolled out of there. It's just amazing.
We walked and ate, walked and ate, until around 4:15 pm when we had to get in line for the 4:45 Michael Symon show. It was the last show of the day, on the last day of the food show. The line was SO long. It snaked around and around. And since the show would be ending at 6:00 pm, we thought we would have just enough time after Micheal Symon to hit the booths one more time and see what people were trying to get rid of. That is the best part of going on Sunday, the last day of the food show. A lot of vendors don't want to pack up what they have not sold so they just start to give it away. While we were in line waiting to be let into the theatre, a woman came from one of the booths that was sampling olives. They gave her a container and told her to take as much as she could fit in it! Wish I had be there then!
While we were moving through the line though, the Del Grosso booth gave us all full sized jars of pasta sauce (I chose the puttanesca). And then finally the line moved and moved fast! We got into the main area and found our seats and then it wasn't long before Michael Symon came out!
He was wonderful! Fun, funny, personable, hilarious. And because it was the last show of the last day of the food show, he had a few surprise guests... Curtis Stone and Guy Fieri!! They came out and tried to steal stuff that he was going to be using. They were so cute and so funny. Once they left, Michael said that when he went to bed the night before he prayed that he would wake up looking like Curtis Stone! lol I can see why, Curtis is scorching hot!
Michael told a funny story about the previous night. He said that Guy wanted to go out on the town so Michael told him, "sure I'll go out for a beer." Then five tequila and six Jagermeister shots later, he finally was heading home. While he was on his way, Guy called him and said, "hey, you ditched me!" Michael replied, "Guy, it's 3:30 in the morning!" It was pretty hilarious.
On to the cooking demo. Michael roasted dates and then topped them with a balsamic glaze with almonds. It looked and sounded yummy! I nice little starter course. Then he made cocktail meatballs that I know I will have to try. He didn't have recipes available, but he said they would be on his blog at some point, so I'll keep looking for them. But from what I remember they had ground meat (of any kind or combination), sauteed onions and garlic, milk soaked bread (squeezed out), parsley, lemon zest, mint and flour (flour... weird, I've never put that in meatballs). Then you shape them and fry them and when they are done, top with feta cheese. Sounds amazing!
Once Michael finished his recipes and was done taking questions, it was time to head out and hit the booths one more time. Unfortunately, the show went over and it was after 6:00 pm by the time we got out. We tried to get to some booths but the security was trying to lead us out of the center. We managed to duck them and get over to the huge Giant Eagle booth (Giant Eagle is a regional grocery store chain). There we were given full jars of Nature's Basket (their own organic line) salsa, and tons of samples of Revolution tea. I've tried the tea so far and it's outstanding!
All and all, it was another fun day at the Fabulous Food Show!