As part of Railroad Days 2014, Taste of St. James was held Tuesday evening at the VFW, and offerings ranged from cookies and coffee to sandwiches and pizza.
The line was bloated well beyond the door by the official start time of 5 p.m., like kids waiting at an amusement park for the new roller coaster. There was also a silent auction inside, with items available such as clothing, personal grooming products, and cheese baskets.
Nevertheless, the star attraction of the event--sponsored by Pioneer Bank--was the food. Tickets for the all-you-can-eat fest were $6 in advance and $7 at the door.
There was a wide range of delicacies, and the restaurants and businesses represented were diverse. For example, there were cheesy chicken sandwiches and roast beef sandwiches from Tony Downs.
Both of those meats are made in the company’s Madelia plant. Stephanie Reid, who lives in St. James but works in the company’s Mankato branch, said she made the cheesy chicken because it’s immensely popular and the roast beef because it’s comparatively simple. She used Lipton onion soup mix for the roast beef marinade, while the cheesy chicken recipe consists of chicken, cream of mushroom, mayo, cheese, onions, and celery.
Larry Smith, who has attended nearly 10 of these tasting events in St. James, cited those sandwiches as his favorite item on the night, while his wife, Jody, praised the sausage pizza from Casey’s General Store.
“It had good flavor,” she said, and he added, “We’ll come back again.”
In addition to the pizza, Casey’s also offered doughnuts and sub sandwiches. The sandwiches were Italian, turkey, and ham and cheese, and there were four options for bread.
At the Los Potros booth, Susan Hillesheim was slinging mole chicken, chili Colorado, and bistek Mexicano, which are all part of the restaurant’s catering menu. Her personal favorite, she said, is the bistek Mexicano, due to the burst of flavor.
Superfair also had a presence at Taste of St. James, with their new Kretschmar Master’s Cut deli meats. Of the new meats, black pepper & jalapeno ham, sweet molasses ham, mesquite bourbon turkey breast, Sante Fe turkey breast, and chipotle BBQ chicken breast were all available, alongside crackers and a selection of cheese.
Greta Hudson, who has owned Steve’s Corner BP since 1976, was there with Ronnoco coffee blends, and she said, “It’s the best--gourmet coffee.”
Subway had cookies and subs, McDonald’s boasted breakfast burritos, yogurt parfaits, and iced coffee, and--to wash down all that food--the Watonwan County Dairy Association was on hand with fresh, cold milk.
For the rest of this story, including the other restaurants and what they served, please see the June 26 print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.
Ryan Anderson can be reached at randerson@stjamesnews and followed on Twitter @randerson_ryan