RenFest Retch

Into medieval torture? Try the food at the Renaissance Festival.

Two more ideas poorly brought to fruition were the steamed artichokes served with butter and lemon, and the Scotch eggs. The artichoke I tried was rubbery and flavorless, and the Scotch egg I had was dry, crusty black and as hard as a croquet ball. Normally, I love eating whole artichokes one leaf at a time, dipping them in butter, and scraping the inner part on my teeth until I arrive at the moist center, or at least that's how it's supposed to work. I also adore Scotch eggs, which, for those of you unfamiliar with them, are hard-boiled eggs covered in sausage and deep fried. There's nothing like them when they're prepared properly, but I'm surprised I didn't chip a tooth on RenFest's version.

Last stop was the dreaded bread bowl stand, with your choice of beef stew, chili, chicken soup, broccoli and cheese, spinach-artichoke dip or chicken salad in a hollowed-out sphere of baked dough. Somehow I feel certain that the punishment for gluttony in Hades involves being force-fed bread bowls until you retch. Indeed, there's something that draws fat people to bread bowls like sex offenders to the University of Colorado. Who knows? Maybe it's just the prospect of being able to eat the container in which your dinner is served.

Nevertheless, to judge by the various obese individuals carrying them, this was one of the more popular dishes offered, so I bravely decided to attempt the broccoli and cheese bread bowl. The result was so blandly gooey and devoid of character that I threw in the serviette about three bites into it. If your taste buds have been paralyzed by a car accident, and everything seems the same on your tongue, then RenFest's bread bowls are for you. Otherwise, you might as well spend your money on another steak on a stick.

"Fancy a beverage, milord?" You'll need it to swallow 
RenFest's turkey leg.
Stephen Lemons
"Fancy a beverage, milord?" You'll need it to swallow RenFest's turkey leg.

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Chaucer's Mead: $3.50
Roasted turkey leg: $5
Steak on a stick: $5
Ravioli salad with mixed greens: $4

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 28. Advance tickets are $16 for adults and $6 for children 5 to 12. Admission is $2 higher at the door. (www.renfestinfo.com)

From downtown Phoenix, take Interstate 10 to U.S. 60, continue east on 60 past Gold Canyon Golf Resort to the Festival Village.

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Worst of all, though, were RenFest's pathetic excuses for pizzas at Michelangelo's slice shop. I tried a slice of cheese and a small, personal garlic chicken pizza. Both were drier than lizard skin and about as appealing as sucking face with a camel. What sauce there was had hardened from overcooking, and that personal pizza could've doubled as a small Frisbee. If those godfathers of the Renaissance, the Medici, were alive to gag on this cardboard, they'd carve RenFest's promoters into pepperoni slices with their poniards.

Dessert-wise, RenFest mainly offers the sort of generic pastries and sweets one can purchase at Fry's or Albertsons. So rather than waste my hard-earned shekels on a cinnamon bun or some chocolate-covered strawberries, I went for another shot of mead. Plus, many of the serving wenches were attractive enough to serve as a sort of visual antidote to all the poor grub.

E-mail stephen.lemons@newtimes.com

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