• Monday , 19 February 2018

An Apple a Day Doesn’t Keep the Judges Away: Best In Pomme at Manayunk’s StrEAT Food Festival

Chowing in the StrEAT (sorry, not sorry to Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing in the Street”).

Kicking off Restaurant Week is the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival.

Story, photos by Sharon Kozden

Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.” – Henry David Thoreau

Autumn and apples “pear” well together. What can I say about this pun but that I’m fruity? Separating fall from those crisp, pomaceous and antioxidant-laden fruits would be akin to depriving myself of post-meal desserts. So when I was pegged (along with Explore-Philly team member Dana Prophet and Dana’s friend Amy) to spend two hours judging the best apple-themed desserts at Manayunk’s StrEAT Food Festival on the evening of September 14th, I was all in.

Arriving at a designated location, our host and guide, Leksey Maltzman, Marketing Director of Manayunk Development Corporation greeted us, then off we went at a zippy pace to the apple-themed vendors to sweet-teeth satisfy.

The ample quantity of apple-dessert consumption I indulged in assured no apple-a-day doctor’s visit would be needed for quite some time, although I suspect this oft-mentioned quote refers the fruit in its simple, pure state. What we were tasting was in polar opposition, more suggestive of a diabetic coma-onset. I could have simply tasted the samples and still judged the finest. But what of those starving children my mother warned me about if a morsel remained on my dinner plate? I ate them all and awoke groggy and felt sluggish the following morning, but hey, that evening I was living (and eating!) in the moment. No regrets.

There wasn’t one bad apple to spoil the bunch, and yet judging does demand decisiveness, choice and action. To say it was a tough call is an understatement, as everything I tasted was sublime and apple-licious, if you will. We weighed in, then tagged along with Leksey once again to present framed award certificates to the deserving top three among the food trucks as well as a single winner in the gourmet food vendor category. As the photos below demonstrate, the smiles on the winning participants’ faces were ripe and delicious to witness.

The top three winners in the Food Truck competition were:

First Place: Cannoli World

Meet the opposite of sore losers–the grinning-from-ear-to-ear winners.

No exaggeration here: the best of the rest.

Holy cannoli!

Second Place: Revolution Taco

As well you should look that proud, Dear. Congratulations are definitely in orb-er [sic].

How clever: a meatless empanada.

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. On second thought, just look at this flaky, plump and caramel sauce-drizzled beauty.

Third place: All of a Sudden Desserts

More winning winners’ smiles.

The desserts are as tasty and luscious at the truck is colorful and animated.

I’m scratching my head, wondering if anyone ordered other than the first item on the menu. Pass on that combination? I don’t think so.

Sharon Kozden appears as if she’s not actually eating this. Don’t be fooled. This one was a plate-licker.

Dana Prophet and Sharon Kozden wonder just how much longer this pose is required, when there is a warm apple dumpling (flaky of crust, yet still dense and chewy) to be scarfed.

Is this heaven on gustatory earth? Quite possibly, yes … at least in the world of desserts.

Very cool night sky as backdrop to no-nonsense food truck that announces its wares simply and boldly.

It’s a good thing the word cupcake was added because the last thing I want for dessert at a food festival is a crisp apple in its pure form. Sorry, not sorry, Johnny Appleseed.

Not in the top three but a clear winner in my belly’s humble opinion. A contender for sure!

Another contender was the Jewish Apple Cake. While it wasn’t sweet enough to my liking, I wouldn’t mind a slice as accompaniment to my morning dark-roast coffee.

The Gourmet Food Member winner (only one in this category was judged):
Made in the Shade Lemonade

Thirst-quenching Apple Ginger Beet lemonade included ingredients I never would have thought to blend together, but that’s why I’m a writer, not a lemonade connoisseur. Delicious flavor, nothing overwhelming. Perfectly blended.

Please: no collision of tee-shirt and drinks. Steady, woman, steady.

While I’m familiar with the myriad of apple varieties, I had no idea that lemonade could be anything other than the yellow- or pink variety from the grocery store, which may be why this is considered gourmet.

Happy campers fist-bump their award-winning drink.

Let’s sit this one out … and eat.

Manayunk and Winnie’s go together like green eggs and ham. One without the other? Not on your life!

Can do, particularly when chocolate and cake are involved.

Monica, Monica, Monica, said no Jan Brady ever.

The sky is the apple of Manayunk’s eye.

Twilight becomes the ‘Yunk.

Happy feet headed in the right direction.

Best in show right this way!

‘Yunk merch much?

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