Quick Bites: Irish-themed food part of weekend fest

Fresh on the heels of the final Thursdays on First & 3rd this year (sniff), Irish Festis taking over Peace Plaza for the weekend, starting tonight.

Sure, the event features lots of Irish music, dancers, kids' activities, a traditional Celli street dance on Saturday night, storytelling and more, but don't overlook what organizers are calling the best lineup of Irish-themed food and drink yet.

"Much of it is Irish with an American twist, but I forgive them for that," joked Deidre Conroy, Irish Fest's vendor coordinator and board member.

The Kahleris furnishing corned beef meatballs with cabbage, as well as the shepherd's pie that Conroy says was "very popular" last year.

DENis also joining the party with beer-battered fish and chips, and The Crossing is bringing an apple barley pudding, which Conroy likens to a sort of apple crisp.


Well-known local chef and caterer Johnny Mango— who has been christened 'Johnny O'Mango' just for this weekend — will offer wings with a Guinness glaze, Irish-themed cupcakes and more.

For dessert, Mama Meg's Parlour, from the cutest booth ever at Thursdays on First, will be selling green ice cream sandwiches and ice cream floats. "Two wonderful companies from the Twin Cities are also joining us this year," said Conroy. Sarah's Tipsy Pieswill be offering apple pies and fruit pies made with local ales and liquors, and Sandy Oh Cupcakeswill have beautiful Irish-themed cupcakes and cookies for sale.

If the fest this weekend leaves you wanting more, just wait until next year. "We're hoping to have twice the number of food vendors next year," Conroy said.

Irish Fest begins today, Friday, at 4 p.m. with music and storytelling. The main event goes through Saturday with a full schedule of performances, dances, activities and festive fun for the whole family. Admission is free on Friday and Saturday, then on Sunday you can buy a ticket for a traditional Irish breakfast at the Kahler followed by a live broadcast of the All Ireland Gaelic Football Final.

Taste Rushford

Next weekend kicks off a progressive meal of sorts. Taste of the Trailis a yearly event held in September to highlight restaurants, bars and businesses in the towns along the Root River. These include Houston and Rushford, Lanesboro, Peterson and Whalan, as well as Fountain, Harmony and Preston.

Next Saturday, Sept. 7, it's Rushford's turn. The city again is hosting ExpoCulinaria, which features samples and goodies from restaurants and vendors throughout downtown — as well as a chef competition. This year, Chef Lisa Yunkerand Chef Madeline Duboisbattle it out for the coveted Diamond Chef award.

Tickets are available at Rushford Foods or online at . They are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.


Kim Van Brunt is a Rochester freelance writer. Send restaurant news and tips to her at To read more about good eats in the area, go to and click on the Great Taste blog.

What To Read Next
Get Local