This post was earlier published as a guest blog on the website of Minneapolis NorthWest.
Recently, I had a second reason to be enamored of Chipotle – the Mexican grill restaurant specialized in burritos and tacos. Created by Chipotle, Cultivate Festival in its fourth year, was celebrating uniqueness in Minneapolis Loring Park on 23rd Aug. The festival with its delicious, lip-smacking food and drinks, demos by renowned chefs, and not to be forgotten the Live music, kicked off my bonding with Minneapolis on a rocking note (And On the Rocks, too!). My taste buds are still thanking Minneapolitan and Chipotle for THE day.
Currently, touring three cities of USA – Minneapolis, San Francisco and Dallas – festival aims to cultivate a better world – “cultivate a relationship between local farmers, chefs and musicians”. My errand in the festival commenced from a small tent, understandably named Cinemas, projecting short films, set up to showcase the approach to best ingredients and food at Chipotle, and which included its partners as well. Chipotle claimed to raise the pigs responsibly, unlike many others food businesses where they are raised in factories with overdose of antibiotics, are confined to smallest of enclosures, and have access to only dirt and agony. At another tent, one could learn about the natural, healthy ingredients served in Chipotle products against the artificial preservatives and ingredients served in fast food joints containing high fat and carbs. Much was emphasized on the elimination of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) ingredients from products.
My favorite tent, however, was ‘Guac from scratch’. Enthusiastic volunteers illustrated the journey of avocados till the final making of guacamole using fresh ingredients including jalapenos, supplied from local Minnesota farm. And you get to taste it laced over chips.
Kale salad with roasted corn escabeche, crumbled queso, crispy tortillas and honey vinaigrette was more than a satisfying appetizer. If salads are your quintessential choice, how about salad-in-a-jar. Chef Sarah Lacasse had her way to prepare the perfect organic salad, to be had in your office lunchbox. I quite relished the rice bowl with organic tofu at the tent of ShopHouse – the new brand of restaurant by Chipotle specialized in the South East Asian cuisines. Currently, it operates only in Washington DC and Los Angeles. Lucky few like me enjoyed the yummy tofu here, in Minneapolis itself.
One of the very popular tents belonged to California Avocados. Not because they gave avocado cutters FREE, but they had recipe ideas for enticing and nutritious breakfast with avocados as the base. My wife went gaga over these recipes. The Naked Grapes had queue to taste its fresh and ‘fruit-forward’ wine, and receive a complimentary tote bag for Free. This company recycles wine packaging into uber products. It has conceptualized a fully recyclable 3 liter box of wine.
Time for juices and desserts? I picked up smoothies, made from fresh fruits and vegetables at the tent of Bolthouse Farms, on my way to scooping out luscious, non-GMO chocolate ice-cream at Ben & Jerry’s.Next I hopped to grab pear flavor kefir bars, natural 99% lactose-free, tart and tangy from Lifeway. What a perfect satiation for my senses!
Renowned chefs, like Andrew Zimmern, Amanda Freitag, Jamie Malone, Erik Anderson, Paul Berglund and Jack Riebel, demonstrated a wide range of culinary dishes, Live. They were simply a treat to watch as they weaved magic with good food. Notwithstanding the food, I intermittently picked up beverages made in local breweries and then headed closer to the music stage. Live and free, (Literally!) flowing music by the likes of Hunter Hunted, Vintage Trouble, The Mowgli’s, GroupLove, Portugal The Man and DJ Christopher Golub had the audience in ruptures. I was grooving to the music and tapping my feet and clapping my hands in rhythm.
With eclectic veggie choices and Mexican food with flavor to many Indian cuisines, Chipotle gives me primary gastronomic faculty to be fond of. The festival had its impact on the food aficionado of twin cities for this year. For me though, post delectable food and exhilarating music, it was a walk past the birds at the Loring Lake. A long day well spent; my journey of senses and soul was consummated with a couple of ‘organic and responsible’ burps, luckily not the sustainable ones.
Tell us about your experiences of a food festival. Know more about Mexican cuisines here.