Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lamb Jam 2013 - Shanks A Lot!

Yesterday, in the midst of a little (more) snowfall, Nick and I had no problem being inspired to leave the house.  We had Lamb Jam tickets, and since the food was going to be there, so would we!  After having such a great time tasting so many delicious lamb plates last year, we had been looking forward to this year's event for some time.  We arrived just before 3:00 to be sure we would not miss out on anything.  Trying to balance plates, drinks and a camera, I ended up focusing more on eating and drinking, but I managed to grab a few quick shots, including one of the overall winner!

Lamb Cake Pop
Enjoying all things lamb also meant getting a great Q&A with Lisa, owner of North Star Lamb Farm, while the chefs of Tavolo broke down a whole lamb in real time - quite impressive to watch.  There were some really good questions and comments about how best to prepare certain cuts of meat, as well as hints on how to get the most from your own lamb cuts.

Lamb Meat Chat
Additionally, there was an entire table filled with some amazing herbs and spices for us to create our own lamb spice rub.  Nick and I made sure to take full advantage and made a Mediterranean inspired rub with Greek oregano, lemon peel and garlic and a Moroccan rub with a combination of cumin, cinnamon, paprika and garlic.  I cannot wait to use them!

Beautiful Paprika Color!
Now, enough with the other stuff.  Onto the food!

Rialto's Lamb Shank Fritter with Garlic Chive Spatzle (!), Blood Orange, Fried Rosemary and Lamb Jus
Red Lion Inn's Lamb Breast Bracciole with Zehr Farm Mushrooms, Equinox Farm Arugula and Berleberg Cheese 
Citizen's Pub Adobo Lamb Leg Taco with Pickled Onion and Queso
Russell House Tavern's Smoked and Braised Lamb Belly on a Steamed Bun with Pickled Radishes and Herbed Salad
Oleana's Moroccan BBQ Lamb Roll with Pickled Cabbage, Goat Cheese and Fried Sweet Potato
I have to say these were definitely some of my favorites, but there were also some incredible plates from restaurants like Henrietta's TableChez PascalEmilitsa and The Fireplace.  When it was time to cast my vote, I was a bit torn between Rialto's fritter and Citizen's taco and ultimately went with the taco - there was something just so surprising about the flavors.  The first bite packed a punch and the crunch of the shell just completed it for me.

The winner for lamb shanks was Rialto, Russell House Tavern won for best belly and breast, Citizen's won for best use of leg and Oleana won for best shoulder.  However, the People's Choice and overall winner was Russell House Tavern, who definitely deserved the praise.  I was slightly biased against it because of all the pickled radishes, but the smokey lamb in the bun was delicious (and really, has anything on a steamed bun NOT been delicious?!)  Michael Scelfo will now represent the Northeast region in the national Lamb Jam competition in New York!  I am sure he will do our region proud.

Once again I stuffed my face and had a blast.  If you even like lamb a little bit, I would highly recommend heading to Lamb Jam next year!


  1. That lamb cake pop is too cute! And I really want that fritter and the spaetzle!

  2. Wow, so many fun bites in one place! The cake pop is super cute. I would love that for Easter.

  3. was bummed to be out of town! but i will have to try it next year :) love that lamb pop ;)

  4. The lamb bracciole looks so cute. And the cake pop is adorable!

  5. That's some serious meat - looks like a fun event!


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