Rootstock 2012: The Food Winners

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The judges have spoken, and here are the results of the Rootstock Best Bites Competition are as follows:

Best Fried: Nellie’s Oysters. Okay, so barbecued oysters and fresh ahi tuna poke are their bread and butter, but the fried calamari and fish? Yeah, crispy, crunchy and just about perfect. Five out of five judges agree.

Most Creative:Bay Laurel Culinary with an Issan Style Dog (Thai shredded pork with spicy chili, mayo and green papaya relish) and the Korean Sloppy Joe with sesame mayo and kimchee.

Best use of Meat: La Texanita. Carne asada. ‘Nuf said.

Best Use of Local Products: We wanted to give John Franchetti (of Rosso) the Meat award for the lush roasted pig (plus crunchy skin) he served up as sliders with slaw at the event. But even closer to our heart is John’s unwavering commitment to local farmers and local products. So, our hats are off to you, Rosso.

Best Presentation: Street Eatz is another perennial favorite who we wish could have won multiple categories. But what really took us was her bento box approach to traditional Japanese isayaki. The plate included soba noodles, her unmatched agadashi, teriyaki chicken, rice and steamed broccoli. Mmmm.

Grand Poobah and Best Overall:
Gabe is the upstart who just killed it at Rootstock. First off, you kind of can’t go wrong by bringing the judges a PLATTER of food that included local lamb (from Victorian Farmstead), baba ganoush, chickpeas, rice, dolmas, hummus and a separate plate of magic goodness I can’t even remember (other than it was incredible). Then there was the Tahini Ice Cream. Then there was the Affagado Ice Cream. We die.

Thanks to everyone who participated, including The Judges: Teresa Smith (our BiteClub winner), Chef Christopher Hansen, Brian Howlett, Heather Irwin, Hans Dippel. As well as organizers Joel Quigley and Cailyn McCauley and all the folks at Vintner’s Square.

Missed it? Rootstock is a food, wine, art and music festival held right here in Santa Rosa at Santa Rosa’s Vintner’s Square. There’s a wine and craft brew tasting, gourmet street foods, and live music from the main stage including indie singer-songwriters Jim Bianco, Holly Conlan, Jesse Thomas and Javier Dunn.


Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. There are so many people to pick from! Ugggh… If you didn’t win (and the winner should have an email in their inbox right about now), please consider the Scramble contest. :)

  2. Did some lucky fun loving OTHER person get picked already??

  3. Am I too late? I bring a good palate & goofy puns. I’m a teacher, dad to a sweet little girl, an amateur home cook and award-winning homebrewer & BJCP beer judge.

    I’m from the South, but practically shorn and braised in Santa Rosa. I’ve traveled & tasted across the US and in Europe and Africa.

    Lately I’ve been working out ’00’ flour proportions for pizza dough (100% is best), working out the kinks in my chana masala & backwards engineering (read: imbibing in ) fine pilsners.

    Sounds like a fine inaugural events. Thanks for including a local.

  4. Well, if this doesn’t sound like a hoot owl calling my name, I don’t know what does! I would love to fill that empty Judges seat Ms. Heather. Off and on, over the past 20 years, I have won or placed in 70+ recipe writing or cooking competitions. I am a passionate Amateur chef, (non-prof by choice). My fortunate wins have me all across the culinary board, from a 3-time Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist to the Grand Prize winner of the Fetzer Salad Toss-Off and a GP grilled PORK dish sent us to cooking school in Tuscany. Ah, but to be surrounded by our local, talented, innovative Wheelin’ Wonder-Chefs, that’s something I could truly appreciate.
    I’ve done many a live ‘food’ demo, and I’ve been a judge in both food and wine competitions, including Sacramento and Oregon State Fairs, and a one-time Salmon Cook-Off in Alaska. I am going on my 8th year as a Non-Profit Assistant Winemaker, and I am known for having an exceptional palate.
    The Husband is a true Garagista, and we’ve got the 12 barrels in the garage to prove it.
    The only thing that motions my motor more than street food is street music. Sure partners in crime, I say. And song-writing is my other hobby. So, I am sort of squealing with excitement over this
    I’m not ‘promoting’ anything here other than my enthusiasm, and this sounds like it would be a blast.
    So, Woo-Hoo! Pick me, and let’s see who Rocks the competition!

    P.S. I do a mean Julia Child and Inspector Clouseau impression. Which has nothing to do with anything.

  5. My favorite recreational activity is eating. And I am a local!

  6. Oh, Heather, I am SOOOO in!
    Food is my passion: I grow it, I cook it, I eat (savor, ooh-and-aaaaaah, exclaim about) it, I think and think and think about it, and my latest passion is, wait for it…—Food as Medicine (I am an M.D., have a lot to say about that one, and how what we eat matters, but that is for another time…).
    I love farmer’s markets, local food, and the food scene-and I read your articles like the latest gossip column.
    Now, about my taste buds: I grew up on a steady diet of Polish food in Indiana (my parents are imports): meat and potatoes, lots of sour cream (admittedly, there were veggies on the plate too-my mom had more clue than most of the neighbors). When I tasted my first Thai food and sushi living in St. Louis after college (yeah, I know, sushi in St. Louis-but I swear it was really good!), it was all over. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I have been cooking all manner of gourmet and international food since then. I have separate cutting boards for savory and sweet (pears should NOT taste like garlic!)—did I say that out loud? Recently, I called my nutritionist to complain that everything should NOT taste like pea protein—-the “buds” are a little sensitive!
    Add some music (saw Kingsborough, who are playing the Rootstock after-party at Heritage Public House) at Wednesday’s Downtown Market-those boys ROCKED-amazing cover of Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion-and it’s near-nirvana for me.
    This sounds like a blast-would love to be a food truck judge at ROOTSTOCK!

  7. Love food trucks and love how they have grown to become more than the “Taco Truck” or “Roach Coach” that people sometimes refer to them as. I’m not a professional taster by any means and I think because of that simple reason I would be great. I’ll try just about anything once, shoot it took me 4 times of eating Uni to finally decide it wasn’t for me!

  8. I am the owner of a Sonoma County farmer’s market business Cook’s Spices, and I would love to be a judge of food truck food! The food truck revolution taking place delights me because I know that seriously passionate cooks are taking their talents on the road via food trucks! My passion for cooking and culturally authentic tastes, flavor, aromas motivated me to launch Cook’s Spices here in Sonoma County in 2010. I have years of experience teaching Sensory Evaluation of Wines at both the Napa Valley College Extension and Oregon State University Extension in Central Point Oregon. Combine, I have the skills, passion and enthusiasm to be a good judge! Thank You!

    Kim Cook-Fallon

  9. I’m your judge Heather, I have 17 years professional experience in the kithchen from NY to the Bay area.I transitioned into wine production 15 years ago and I’m currently cellarmaster at a legendary Alexander valley winery, where I use my palate to help craft some of the finest wines in the world. I also have professional judging experience from the California state fair wine competion and I was the the Head judge at the “Battle of the bones” professional BBQ competion in the Rogue valley in So. Oregon, in 2006. I’ve traveled the world sampling street food and would love to be a part of your tasting panel. Thanks you for your consideration,

  10. Hi – Going to be out of town, but would have been great fun. We have financed several of the great food trucks in the county with SBA loans here at SAFE-BIDCO. Great people and great food.

  11. BUMMER…I’m going to be STOMPING grapes at another Festival same day…would have loved to have shared my ‘taste buds’…I LOVE all the Food Trucks!! Good-Luck!!

  12. I love your blog and articles! I’m a foodie by my own right! I’ve lived in Sonoma County my whole life and have had the pleasure of eating at almost every restaurant in the area, granted it being over a 30+ period but still… I love food and love Sonoma County, two of the reason’s I’ve never moved – plus I love the people!

    I think my vantage point as a judge is that I have not tried any of these food truck vendors so my unbiased taste buds will give all a “fare” shake!

  13. I eat everything and anything. I make my own head cheese and fry my chicken livers in bacon fat. I’m always thinking about my next meal, even while eating my current meal. I plan my vacations around which restaurants or bars I want to go to. I read food blogs and cookbooks on a daily basis. I would love to be a judge!

  14. My favorite pastime is eating. The only thing I love more than food is my children. I would love to be a judge.

  15. I hate everything and I’m impossible to please. I subsist on PB&J and ramen. Even Chuck Norris doesn’t impress me. Artichoke and Vanilla Foam? Screw that, I want gravy. I prefer pizza ovens that use baby owls and ozone as fuel. Anyone can make great food with hand-raised milk-fed baby vegetables, impress me with food found at the local WalMart. Don’t tell me it’s polenta with pancetta, I know it’s really grits with bacon. If you do sous vide or use a Paco-Jet on your truck, I’ll post your picture on Facebook photoshopped with you parking your Geo Metro in handicap spaces. Now, where’s my corn dog?

  16. you should pick me because I’m not afraid to try anything, I can eat alot (If I pace myself) & I’m fun & funny – or at least I like to think so.

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