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Sunday, November 7, 2010

World's Championship Shrimp Cook-Off

The Agency rocked the main tent

What a glorious day for an outdoor festival in Port Isabel today!  The sun was shining - 72 degrees - slight breeze - happy crowds - good food - good music.  Woo Wee!  You just can't beat it.

Whoever the organizer was this year, rocked their job!!!  I heard people commenting about the quality of the food, the excellent music, the increase in number and quality of booths, the improved kids activities.  Everything was just bigger and better all around!

I knew the turnout was huge before I walked in the gates...because there was NO parking to be found without a significant hike to GET to the gates at the noon hour.  Some of the lines to the crowd-pleasing booths had 20 minute waits!  I stood in one of those lines (Hilton Garden Inn) for 20 minutes and they ran out - it would be another hour before they had more...and I'm sorry to say I just was too tired and sun-drained to wait.  I did have the opportunity to sample 4 contestants' entries (you paid $3-$4 for a sample - which is kind of pricey for a couple of shrimps in my opinion - but I was prepared, this being my 3rd time at the festival).  I suspect Hilton Garden Inn may win first place if the line is to be any indicator.  I shared a table with a couple who had made it through and their plates made me go get in that long line!  They had a stuffed shrimp Rockefeller served on a oyster shell, topped with shaved Parmesan with a seaweed-type salad on the side.  Beautiful presentation and it looked delectable.  You can see pictures of all of the entries at the link in my page title.

MY first place winner was nearly a tie (just my own personal preference) - PadreRitaVille narrowly edged out Gabriella's for my first and second place.  The other two I tried aren't likely to be in the running - so I'm not naming names...they just weren't good IMHO and I threw them away after a couple of bites.  One of my usual favorites is Cap'n Roys...and they ran out right when I was next in line... and I never made it back around.  I just think the crowds surprised everyone!  I bet Cap'n Roys would have been in my top 3 had I gotten the opportunity to sample some of theirs.

PadreRitaVille's entry - delicious AND beautiful!
PadreRitaVille's booth was ably manned by Cathy and Micheal Lafferty, with Micheal casually asking walk-ups if they wanted to get "lei'd", in his sexy southern he handed you a lei to help you get into a tropical mood if you weren't already there.  There entry was as pretty as it was delicious.  The flavors just sang to me - this was a phenomenal, fresh tasting shrimp dish.  Micheal described it as wild-caught fresh Gulf shrimp stuffed with Baffin Bay crab, wrapped in bacon - grilled - with a creamy ancho sauce (I think it was ancho - I won't swear to it).  It was perfect - something I would love to order at a restaurant.  Not over-cooked - not too Goldilocks says, "it was just right!"
Gabriella's offered a grilled shrimp pizza - a crispy crust with bacon, grilled shrimp, some arugula, and topped with what I'm guessing was an Alfredo sauce.  It was delicious!
Gabriella's entry - yummo!

Overall, it was a really happy outing and I encourage any shrimp lovin' individuals to make sure it is on your agenda of "things to do" in 2011... if you missed it in 2010. 

I'll be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners.  I'll drop a comment in as soon as I hear!

On the way out, I grabbed a huge bag of kettle corn and some "puppy chow" from a booth near the front...there's a tag on it that says "Coastal Insurance Agency" but I don't remember the sign saying that.  I was getting sun "giddy" by that point, so it might have.  I glugged down a bottle of water on my hike back to the vehicle...and the teen had the gall to say "can we go to Dairy Queen?"...and, I, being the awesome mom that I am, said "okay"...and off we rolled, ending another exciting outing in beautiful Port Isabel, Texas!  Go Tarpons!

11/8/2010 UPDATE!
And the winners are...
Winners in the Professional category are:
1st Place: Hilton Garden Inn – Great American Grill (SPI)
2nd Place: PadreRitaville (SPI)
3rd Place: Papa’s Restaurant (Port Isabel)
Winners in the Amateur Category are:
1st Place: Beatriz Zapata
2nd Place: Angelcare Home (TSTC cooking team)
3rd Place: The Brew Crew
PadreRitaville (SPI)



  1. Thanks for blogging your World's Championship Shrimp Cook-Off experience! Great article!

  2. You are certainly welcome Valerie - it was easy to write about such a great event!


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