Feeding Frenzy

Featuring the Chester County Restaurant Festival, with a side of Delaware-made brew.

Chester County is getting ready for its annual restaurant festival, a mega event that’s been tallied at 20,000-plus winers and diners. (Read: Go early.) This is actually the 31st festival, which is fairly impressive in my humble opinion. And though I am a huge crowd avoider, every year I hear great things about this event.

While most of us would assume the participating restaurants—more than 60—would cringe at the idea of feeding so many people in less than a six-hour time span (and outside on the street, away from their kitchens), they all enjoy the opportunity to show off their handiwork and mingle with patrons on a much more casual, community level. This year, participants can text in their votes for their favorite dishes for the WC Dish Choice Awards. That means you have to pay attention and elbow your way into the busiest booths to sample everything.       

The festival takes place on Sept. 19, from noon to 5:30 p.m. But if you’re going to head over on the later side, start at the County Courthouse (2 N. High St.), where four local chefs—including Scott Bailey from Wayne’s Silverspoon Cafe—will be in the hot seat from 2 to 5 p.m., slugging it out for three rounds as they try to become the best chef in Chester County. Each round will last 30 minutes, and a surprise ingredient donated by Buy Fresh, Buy Local will be introduced at the beginning of each round. The contest is similar to Top Chef in that each chef gets a certain amount of money to purchase groceries, then races the clock to come up with creative, innovative, tasty and attractive dishes to woo the panel of local food experts. Personally, I think this is great YouTube fodder and a lot of fun for both the chefs and the “fans.”

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Dogfish Head's new Bitches BrewBurger and a Brew

Stopped into Gullifty’s on Sunday afternoon for a burger and wound up sampling a tasty beer from one of my favorite microbreweries, Dogfish Head. I wouldn’t have known a thing about “Bitches Brew,” had our peppy Eagles-jersey-wearing waitress not been so excited to talk to us about it, and it was a perfect fit for the beau, who’s a huge jazz enthusiast.

This specialty beer was released in late August to commemorate the 40th birthday and re-issue of Miles Davis’ legendary album of the same name. The bottle has an attractive, appropriately artsy label, featuring the late Mati Klarwein’s artwork from the original album, and comes in a 750-milliliter bottle that’s perfect for sharing.

The brew is a bold, honey-rich imperial stout that actually goes down a lot lighter than you’d expect. It was very pleasing to the taste buds because it was both balanced and full-flavored, partly due to the addition of gesho root—a bittering component that counterbalances the sweetness of the honey—and “multiple fermentations” and “threads” during the early stages of the process. (No, I did not know this going into it!) It gets a little technical to explain, so just take my word for it; the process is what makes not only the beer go down smoothly but also the 9-percent-alcohol-by-volume not kill you.

Check it out at Gullifty’s next time you’re there. In the meantime, learn more at milesdavis.com/us/brew.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!