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Saturday, January 20, 2024

Lamb Fest 2022

Every year Lamb Fest just seems to get better! This year the lineup and variety of dishes were absolutely incredible. In fact, many of the dishes are so sophisticated that the average consumer of lamb could find themselves overwhelmed by the dearth of offerings. Because of the general format of the event you ought not to expect pedestrian lamb chops or lamb on a stick.

Team 1 - Made you Choose

Sometimes choice can be an amazing thing. After all, variety is the spice of life. However, when you are waiting in line trying to slam as much lamb as possible, choice can be an awful endeavor!! Team 1 made you decide which lamb dish you were going to try, you were not permitted to select both. I assume one could probably get back in line and try the other dish, but when there is so much lamb to sample, it can be difficult to find the time.

Team 2 - Lamb Pizza

Team 2 made a lamb pizza that made me want to die. I thought they did a fantastic job of making a dish that was both delicious and freshly prepared. (Many of the teams are able to do a significant amount of their work ahead of the festival in prepartion.) These folks were busting their butts slaving over a hot pizza oven for the duration of the event.

Team 3 - Lamb Offal

This was probably one of the most underrated dishes of the entire event. They killed it while using everyone's least favorite part of the lamb. For more on my love of offal check this piece out about the organ dinner hosted by Fet Fisk at Dish.

Team 5 - Lamb Pierogi, Cookie

While some iteration of this team has made the cookie at almost every Lamb Fest I can remember, this years cookie was better than ever. The lamb pierogi was the perfect vehicle for a nice lamb punch to the face.

Team 6 - Lamb Curry

Not all of the dishes we tried really seemed to feature lamb. While the curry offered by Team 6 had a wonderful spice balance, and was buttery and rich in flavor, the pieces of lamb were quite small and the lamb itself almost felt like an afterthought.

Team 8 - Vegetarian Lentil Seitan

While this dish was flavorful, it was entirely lacking in lamb.  Do better.

Team 9 - Bahn Mi - Previous winners

These folks were the previous winners of last years lamb festival. Their Bahn Mi was absolutely beautiful with perfect texture and balance of flavors. The sandwich was very bright and the pate was absolutely amazing. This may have been the best dish of 2022. 

Team 10 - Lamb Noodles 

I'm sure you've noticed by now that I tend to complain when one of the dishes does not have enough lamb. This dish featured a decent amount of lamb and a very deep lamb bone flavor. However, the noodles themselves lacked texture and mouthfeel. While this was a solid attempt it ended up being underwhelming in terms of the execution of the overall dish.

Team 11 - Lamb Corndog

I would actually put the corn dog prepared by Team 11 in last place, even behind the vegetarian dish that did not contain lamb. The corn dog itself was a soggy disappointment. One of those rare instances where you wish you had saved stomach capacity.

Unfortunately there are a number of teams I was not even able to comment on at this years festival, by 2:20 some vendors had run out, by 3 many were out. However, it was a spectacular event and we all left feeling quite full and lamb drunk.