Monday, July 18, 2011

5th Annual Venice Barbecue & Picnic


On a beautiful and sunny southern California day, nothing screams summer more than a good barbecue. Well, that's just what this was, as Venetians and local firefighters put on this picnic to celebrate the community with food, games, food, music, and more food at the Oakwood Community Park! Guests were able to bring their own food items, potluck style, and even submit to the BBQ's side-dish, dessert, or home-grilled meat, chicken or pork judging contests.

Kristopher at the "Judge's Table"
Of Course the fun of eating gets even better, as Kristopher was asked to help judge the dessert contest. A lover of sweets, how could this opportunity be passed? He obliged and waited alongside his fellow judges for the moment to individually try some neighborhood baked goods.

There were ten items to evaluate. Each judge was given a small sample that required them to appraise the treat in just a few bites. Overall the submissions were pretty decent, and only a couple items were underwhelming. Almost all the desserts submitted were variations of cakes, cookies, pies, or bars prepared in a traditional manner. The top three winners easily stood out from the rest of the pack. One dish, which ended up in second place, a chocolate cake with espresso frosting would gratify any mocha lover. The cake was moist, but not too rich or sweet, which allowed the frosting to take center stage and really deliver a great mix of coffee, sugar, and cream. Third place, which was Kristopher's second favorite, was a cookie bar full of coconut and nuts. With a flakey top, chewy middle, and crumbly bottom it was pure goodness.

The judges were in absolute consensus, however, that the best dish was the lemon bar. There wasn't anything novel or different about it from a lemon bar you could get at a local eatery, or even make at home, except that it was a really good lemon bar executed perfectly. The top was dusted in powdered sugar and had a little crisp to it, while right below the lemon filling was slightly gooey with the right balance of sweetness and zest. Underneath it all was a crumbly crust that was buttery and light. It was by far the most satisfying dessert, and absolutely delicious. It was a good reminder that sometimes the best dishes are the simplest ones, and all it really comes down to is execution.

You can see pictures of the submissions below, and of course that lucky winner. Still not full? Check out our Facebook for larger photos of the individual submissions!
 Good job to all contestants and it was great to see everyone who was able to make it out!

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