Southwest Foodservice Expo: Reports From Day One

Gena and Mark Maguire. Mark will be sworn in as new prez of TRA tonight.
Gena and Mark Maguire. Mark will be sworn in as new prez of TRA tonight.

Yesterday, the Southwest Foodservice Expo opened for a three-day run at the Dallas Convention Center. I spent most of the day wandering the halls with InsideCorner’s Evan “Grumpy” Grant. We bumped in to PegNews’ Teresa Gubbins and Marc Lee, Mark and Gena Maguire, Herschel Walker, Amy Severson, Lee Fuqua, and Richard Chamberlain.

I hope the 12 Dishers who “won” an opportunity to roam the event will file their reports below. If you followed DSideDish on Twitter, you already know our knee-jerk reactions. If not, I’ve decided to post my report through pictures. Click on the box below for slideshow.

Southwest Foodservice Expo June 28, 2009


  • Lori

    Posting in correct place!

    It’s probably been 11 years since I have been to the Dallas Convention Center, and the look has changed since my last visit. With that said, the Southwest Food Expo was awesome. Rows and rows of exhibitors giving you food samples, and if you made it to the “over 21” aisle, shots of alcohol. Since I was driving, I only had half of a margarita. Believe me, that was enough. Watching the pizza contest, I recalled my first job at age 16; working at the Pizza Inn in Pantego. The V-P at Pizza Inn said he has heard that many times; I then remembered they fired me because I got mononucleosis and the health department wouldn’t let me work. The samples at the Pizza Inn booth were definitely my favorite. The line for Herschel Walker’s autograph grew long and it was a treat to meet the former Heisman winner. After 2 plus hours of walking around this Expo, I left with my bag of goodies and headed back to Denton County.

    P.S. I met Richard Chamberlain too! Hubby is cooking brisket recipe for July 4th!

  • This report filed by Robin:

    Southwest Foodservice Trade Show
    Sunday Round-Up:

    The Highs, The Lows, and the Just Plain Weird.

    The Highs
    •Richard Chamberlain’s brisket
    •The cache of new Texas-distilled liquors – notable standout: Austin-based Treaty Oaks Rum
    •Jalapenos smeared with peanut butter

    The Lows
    •Flies B Gone (I wish I could get their customer list just so I could categorically avoid these businesses.)
    •Cheesecake Royale booth with no samples
    •Fresh white truffles which tasted like oven cleaner

    The Just Plain Weird
    •Vibra Body Slimmer (Like those weird vibrating belt machines from the ‘60s, except this time no belt.)
    •PG Whiz: the latest in urinal advertising
    •Old guy approaches a cackle of young, pretty “foodservice visitors.”
    Old guy: I’m not hitting on you or anything, but you girls look just like Kelly Clarkson.
    Cackle (to each other after old guy leaves): “We have arrived!”

  • TM

    I started off my 3-hr romp through the Expo with some tasty mango gelato from Hill Country Dairies and some joe from Boyd and Farmer Brothers coffee companies.I was keen on seeing some latte art during the opening rounds of the Ultimate Barista Challenge but couldn’t manage to sit still long enough with all the things to see and taste behind me. I went on to sample offerings from the Pacific Cheese company and Aphrodite Divine Confections, some delectable steak and prime rib, and Texas Dripping Springs vodka, which has some definite kick. Saw the Borden cow Elsie and calf Beau, and got to meet Parigi chefs Janice Provost and Chad Houser. They gave a demo on how to make homemade pork sausage with an Asian twist–they called it “potstickers deconstructed”.
    Amusing item from my goodie bag: a foam stress ball shaped like an Idaho potato.

    Thanks again to Nancy for setting us up!

  • S

    Yes, thanks again NN for setting this up…hope my texts didnt drive you too crazy (as I do not twitter)…from the Double Chocolate Stout beer to the crab guy over in Cafe 21, it was an absolute blase. I am still upset though the lady at the Ostrich sausage booth didnt really find my comment, “not just for boots anymore!!” very funny.

  • Robin

    The ostrich summer sausage was good, but the ostrich muscle jerky almost made my list for just plain weird.

  • Lori

    There was simply not enough time and room in my stomach to test everything. I did get every piece of literature from the Idaho Potato Commission!

  • Wandering through Monday, Day Two of the Southwest Foodservice Expo, I was rolling through the aisles in search for my story like a boy with a net trolls for crabs in the Laguna Madre. Suddenly, I rounded a corner, spotted the Biltmore Estate Winery booth, and knew my quest had ended.

    Forget the Highs, the Lows, and the Just Plain Weird, it was time to get some serious grape on and perform a spontaneous wine tasting.

    I was already quite familiar with Biltmore Estate Wines, as my lovely wife had visited there just last year on business. Needless to say, she brought back several bottles from America’s Most Visited Winery, and I was quite pleased with them, particularly the Century Red, a delightful, Rhone-style blend (grenache and syrah) with a touch of Italy (sangiovese) thrown in. I was eager to see what else Biltmore had up its sleeve and so I proceeded to try several wines, assisted by the genial Biltmore representatives Bill and Alisha. Here are my tasting notes:

    Biltmore Chardonnay Sur Les – According to Bill, this wine is lightly aged in oak, and my tasting confirmed this. Lime and Granny Smith apple, with a kiss of kiwi. Great picnic wine, similar to chenin blanc.

    Biltmore Century Rose Wine – Bill described this as “a serious rose, not for lovers of sweet wines.” Blending grenach, syrah, and sangiovese, just like the Century Red, the complex, spice-forward flavor profile won’t make you blush, but instead you should pair it with serious pasta and it should bring out the char of pizza prepared in a coal or wood-fired oven.

    Biltmore Estate Methode Champenoise Pas De Deux Sparkling Wine – Made from 100% Muscat Canelli grapes and with an orange blossom nose, this wine actually delivers a dry kick and a clean finish, rather than the expected sweetness. Similar to prosecco.

    Biltmore Pinot Noir – If you prefer a subtle, come-hither drinkability to your pinot, this is a good one for you. Delivers the expected cherry, berry, and currant notes, with a very chewy finish.

    Biltmore Cabernet Sauvignon – Bill promised that this wine would be fruit-forward, and it delivered nicely. Plenty of hickory smoke and subtle spice overtones as well.

    Tasting over, I continued my rounds, sampling some delicious St.Louis-style pork ribs (unfortunately, the BBQ sauce was too sweet), a sumptuous, buttery cheesesteak that did not need condiments, and finished off with a shot of McCormick’s 360 vodka, which is so eco-friendly that every bottle comes complete with envelope so you can mail the cap back to the company for recycling purposes.

    Quite an afternoon indeed!

  • Dallas

    My adventure Sunday started with one of the frozen PINK lemonades. I loved the wonderful placement of their booth close to the Dripping Springs Vodka booth. I hadn’t taken a sip of the lemonade when a lightbulb went off in my head. The “vodka lady” had the same idea. What a great combination. Meeting (or at least talking to ) Herschel was a highlight along with the Buffalo Chicken Cheese dip his booth had to offer. The smoked trout salad was really tasty. The beef from Nolan Ryan’s was very good, as well. It seemed everywhere I turned was another beer distributor with samples. I didn’t want to make them feel bad, so I took them up on their offers. The Boston pizza was very good. I wish that the Shakey’s pizza booth had samples, or at least a player piano (remember those?) Thanks Nancy. I had a wonderful time. I especially liked being able to avoid the long line and go straight to the media line (no waiting!!)

  • Yesterday’s outing was something I’d like to experience again, only differently. We didn’t eat before we arrived. And we walked into the high alcohol area first. So, what could we do but sample practically every drink there was available. Then, of course, we had to eat a sample of every food that was available because who wants to get drunk on 34 assorted cocktails with no food? The drinks were anything from a sip of vodka to a full out glass of beer. Most were sample size. Most of the food was meat. I told Hubbard when we climbed into our car to go home, “I feel like I’ve been eating out of a trash can all day”. Next time, I’ll eat first and start at the other end of the floor instead of the high alcohol area. Talk about mixing your drinks!

    It was fun! There was so much to see. And I’m sorry, I couldn’t make myself eat that jalapeno stuffed with peanut butter. It frightened me a little. During our visit with our friend S we decided that the crab table had the best food, Hershel Walker wasn’t as big as we expected and Young’s Banana Bread beer was incredible!

  • OH and yes, it was fun having a media badge. People acted like we were important or something?! Thanks, Nancy!!

  • Lori

    Oh yes, several people said “I love your magazine” and wanted me to write a story on them. Including the 25 year old marketing director!

  • RC

    Hey gang, I competed in the pizza competition on Sunday and Won, so I was bumped up to compete against the winner from Monday’s competition. I took 2nd place and was very excited to have had the chance to compete, but a bit distraught when I realized there was no coverage of the competition anywhere in any magazines, press coverage, or any other media. This is a big deal to the restauranteurs that enter, and it was just down-played so much. I went to UTD and matriculated in 1999, ventured to the Houston metroplex to open my businesses. Here 6 years later, I have 2 locations and we’ve been written up numerous times locally, so I began traveling to compete to bring some more attention to our restaurant concept and our fantastic food. I went to Las Vegas in March 2009 and won The Best Traditional Pizza in the South Central Region, with just a plain cheese pie. RC’S PIZZA is the name of the restaurant. We have a website, and we are selling franchises.

  • martina

    Picnics are a great leisure activity. Having such an economic crisis, everyone wants to save money for the things most likely needed. Picnics are one way to help you save a little bit of money while having fun.. Also, typically most kids love the outdoors, so picnics are a great match. Dont for get to bring your picnic baskets and enjoy.

  • Very interesting article. Couldn’t of written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old chum. He constantly kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Am sure he will have a good chuckle. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Very interesting article. Couldn’t of written any better. Browsing this post reminds me of my old friend. He constantly kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing! 🙂