Summer Fancy Food Show 2012: Day 1 Favorites

Junk Food Nation, yesterday was Day 1 of the Summer Fancy Food Show 2012.  It was a gorgeous day in DC, and a better day to eat.  A lot.  Of Food.

Admittedly, when I arrived at the Fancy Food Show, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My blogger friend, the Foodette, said that these vendors would be happy to see me – just go ask them what they have, and try their wares.  Sample what I liked, and don’t regret just walking away.  Good advice.  She also said to wear comfortable shoes.  I wore flip flops.  My feet are sore.

The red (and blue) carpet!

The Summer Fancy Food Show 2012 had HUNDREDS of booths.  HUNDREDS.  Dare i say THOUSANDS??? ….no that’s too many. HUNDREDS.

I definitely ignored the biggest advice of all, which was to PACE MYSELF.  I didn’t.  By 2:30pm, I was stuffed, and had only made it through about 20 rows.  There are 60 rows in the entire show, by the way.  It took me four hours to get through 20 rows. I needed to pick up the pace.

Endless sea of snacks

I was wearing a press pass that had the name of this site on it, so most people did the whole trying to talk to me while trying not to look like they were glancing at who the hell I was.  “Hey……Junkfoodguy.com?  We’re not junk food.” Shut up and give me some prosciutto, man!  I explained over and over that I reviewed a variety of foods, from gourmet to plain, to cooked foods to packaged foods.  Whatever.  By the end of the day my spiel had dwindled to, “So, what’s this?  Oh yeah?  Cool.” Back away slowly.

It’s like a job fair, except instead of jobs you get chorizo

There are only so many different types of ham, tomato sauces, cheese sticks, pretzel dips, and roasted peanuts you can try.  Still, I managed to taste some amazing products throughout the day.  The following products caught my attention right away on Day 1:

Wholesale of yummy

Buyers Best Friend is basically a wholesale distributor that was helping out push a whole SLEW of different items from melatonin drinks to fresh chunky applesauce.  The one product I REALLY liked however, was this:

Splendiferously SPICY!

Sweet and Spicy Pickle Chips!  Basically just a plain ole pickle slices, when you first eat it, it’s sweet like a sweet pickle…and the heat REALLY comes and smacks you in the face!  GREAT BURN. As a pickle lover, I was really amazed by the slowness of the burn that emerged.  Really good.

I put my hand up on your hip, when you dip, I dip, we dip

Wind & Willow is a random name for a dip company, but these dips were no jokes.  I’ve had plenty of dips in my life, usually made from mixing soup mix or flavor packets with a tub of sour cream.  Those have always been MEH.  But these!  These were the first dip mixes I actually can say I thought were DELICIOUS!

Solid dipness

They had both hot and cold dip mixes, and both were absolutely amazing.  Creamy and flavorful, these definitely felt like you were eating something homemade, not just a flavored vat of mayo.  Tasty.

Can’t get more natural than that

Indie Candy was kind of a random booth, but they were also the first sofi award finalist I tried.  The sofi awards are like the Grammy’s and Oscar’s of Speciality Food.  And once I tried their mango gummy candies, I could TOTALLY see why they won.

sofis look like Oscars!

These Indie Candy mango gummies were the softest gummies I think I’d ever chewed.  Soft and tasting soo much like mango while not being overly sweet.  Great natural candy.   As a gummy candy lover, I could really get behind these.

Simple…yet so complex

Simple Squares was another sofi Finalist that just stood out.  These nut and honey confections were more than just an organic “granola bar”-like treat.

Another award winner! And the Oscar is holding a domed dish!

Chewy, and deeply flavored with honey, I can honestly say these bars tasted very decadent.  Their cinnamon clove flavored one, which is what they were nominated for, brought out the best in natural honey and cinnamon taste.  Nothing tasted artificial.  I see big things happening for this company.

Plain labels, big flavor

Salad dressing?  Why not? Cousins Products takes to heart the motto, do one thing and do it well.  They served their creole tomato dressing with some grilled asparagus, their spinach vinagrette with some roasted eggplant, and their bleu cheese with some celery.

Best salad dressings ever.

These salad dressings were amazingly flavorful, and extremely versatile.  Bursting with flavor, you could see eating these dressings on meat, bread, chips, or veggies.  All-around tasty dressings, just DONE RIGHT.  Big props here.

Ooooo that IS fancy

Q Drinks.  What is there to say about Q Drinks, but that they are organic all natural sodas.  A good company trying to take High Fructose Corn Syrup out of the game.

Just noticed the Oscar is also wearing a chef’s hat

I tried their new Q Kola, which they also received a Silver sofi Finalist award for, and it was outstanding.  Natural and refreshing, and not as sweet as Coke or Pepsi, this is the type of drink I could drink all day and not feel guilty.  Crisp, full of Cola flavor, AND no corn syrup? WINNER.

Old school

One of my ABSOLUTE favorite items of the day.  The Original Savory Saltine Seasoning is just that - Saltine cracker seasoning!

Shake those crackers into tasty treats!

You just take a sleeve of Saltines, empty it into a big bag, pour some canola oil in with the crackers, add the seasoning and shake it up – and you are left with the most amazing, savory tasting crackers EVER.  It’s the shake and bake of crackers!  Simple concept, great flavor, and instant star in my eyes (and stomach).

Who doesn’t love slow cookers?

Jesben is slow cooker sauce for meat, all in one jar.  No need for me to add a can of beer, 30 spices, chopped vegetables, etc. when I’m slow cooking something – just dump the entire jar onto a big hunk of meat and slow cook it.  Easy, simple, genius.

Just add meat, and watch the magic happen

And by the way, it was REALLY GOOD.  Usually when I slow cook something, it ends up being super watery…this sauce held its own and complemented the pork I had nicely.  It’s products like this that I can see actually working into my every week diet.

Dan, I wanna shake your hand

Dan’s Gourmet Spot Mac Pack was in the new products aisle, and it was KILLER.  Essentially, it’s freezer to bake macaroni and cheese.  Pop it in, cook, and enjoy – just that easy.  Comes in five different flavors too!  I had this one: the Dan’s Mac Attack – a habanero garlic based pasta.

Don’t let the heat kamps fool you – KILLER MAC

It was creamy, spicy, and full of flavor as it coated the piece of bow tie pasta I had.  Really delicious.  I can see buying a crate of these and keeping them in my freezer.  SOOO EASY and SOOO TASTY.  I had one of those fork in mouth / immediately eyes roll back in head moments with this mac-n-cheese, not gonna lie.

KIM KIM was MONEY MONEY

KIM KIM, I must say, was probably my favorite item of the entire show so far.  It’s Korean Hot Sauce.  Now, I’ve had kimchi before, and I’m…meh…. on it.  Don’t love it.  Dunno why – maybe its the vegetables.  I dunno.  And I like Siracha – who doesn’t – but it’s super garlicky and doesn’t fit everything in my mind. Almost TOO strong.  So I was skeptical, at first, when I tried KIM KIM.

Beautiful presentation, even better taste

I took one spoonful and was BLOWN AWAY.  Like, amazed.  Talked to the creator, and this product has only been out TWO MONTHS…and I can tell you this sauce is going to be here to stay. It was tangy, spicy, and garlicky, like Siracha, but with a little more restraint and a sort of heightened barbecue/smoky flavor to it.  It was more rich, and deeper in its pepper flavor without needing to add more useless burn.  The temperature on the spice was just right – I could see eating large vats of this stuff.  Also in the sofi crew.  No reason to doubt why.

Most fun booth of the day

Fun item of the day!  Spiked banana pudding by Rodgers.  Uh….there’s really not much to explain with this one.  It’s spiked banana pudding.  1) I love banana pudding, and 2) YOU COULD REALLY TASTE THE BOOZE IN THIS STUFF! Thank God I’m not driving.

These cats couldn’t stop smiling

The creators were SUPER NICE and went with the flow. Loved the banana costumes.  They even gave us a couple of frozen pudding shots, which tasted like boozy Pudding Pops.  Legit stuff.  I’m definitely going to swing by this booth again to try their samples today.

Punny

I’m a sucker for ice cream sandwiches.  Handmade ones?  Of course!  Nye’s Cream Sandwiches – who doesn’t love a good play-on-words, or a rhyme? They came in all kinds of cool flavors – strawberry shortcake, coconut chocolate, key lime pie…

Kinda look like bars of soap…but were full of ice creamy deliciousness

I had the Coconut Chocolate, and it was thick and rich and creamy.  Not like your cheapo ice cream sandwiches, these had crunchy cookies and quality ice cream.  Just another product DONE RIGHT.

PIG OUT with no pork!

Not a lot of picutres of this, but Wayfare specializes in VEGAN products.  I’m not Vegan. But I’ll be damned if these vegan bacon bits didn’t taste EXACTLY LIKE BACON.  Made me wide eyed and confused.  It was that good.

No, YOU’re a cheeky monkey

Cheeky Monkey is from Upstate New York!  Syracuse in the house!  I had a nice long talk with one of the creators of this tomato garlic dipping sauce, and apparently she serves this in her restaurant and is branching out to sell it.  I’m glad she did. This stuff is TASTY.

Kinda look like pints of blood…DELICIOUS TOMATO GARLIC BLOOD

Seems simple, right?  Tomato, garlic, oil – dip bread into it, and enjoy, right? Well, this was so much more! VERY garlicky with a definite sweetness, this dipping oil was delicious.  I could see eating this on meat, sandwiches, even pastas.  Upstate New York doing me proud, here.

VICTORY!

At the end of Day 1, this was my haul; my SPOILS.  Truth be told, I REALLY wasn’t TRYING to hoard samples – it just ended up that way!  People were shoving stuff into my hands faster that I could hold.  Just some more things to review for the blog in the future, right?

Day 1 was a success!  I was able to try some of my favorite products I was already familiar with: LeGrand and Snikiddy. I made some good contacts, and tasted some great stuff.  And it’s only just begun!

Remember Junk Food Nation – today is Day 2 of the Fancy Food Show.  Like yesterday, I’ll be tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagramming all day, so if you want live up to date reports from the Fancy Food Show and all the gourmet crap I’ll be eating, you gotta follow me on Twitter @junkfoodguy or LIKE my Facebook Page.

Sincerely, Junk Food Guy

Discuss - 13 Comments

  1. Will says:

    Wow, a lot of great food. I would like to try the ice cream sandwiches and the Kim Kim. The Mac and cheese looks damn good to. JEALOUS! Nice job on the food show.

  2. Nick Rovo says:

    Minus the coconut flavor, those ice cream sandwiches sound awesome

  3. Oh my God – amazing!!! Baby in a banana costume! :)

    So what’s the deal with the food at this show? Is it all stuff that’s available in stores? Or are they there to try to get into stores? I want to try this stuff now! :)

  4. Shorneys says:

    How dare you disparage the soup-mix-in-sour-cream dip? Have you no shame?

  5. Albany Dana says:

    Tzatziki in a pouch? Seriously? I would buy that – I like making my own, but sometimes you got the meat all marinaded, the grill hot, and danged if you didn’t forget the cucumber cutting/draining, garlic mincing, overnight mellowing the day before.

  6. Heidi says:

    I’m so glad that you got to see the Banana Pudding Man (Rodgers)! I just moved recently from his hometown (also my hometown) and I missed being able to buy their sauce at our local store. Their nonprofit for wounded vets is pretty amazing too!

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