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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

REVIEW: Top foodie favorites from the Texas Renaissance Festival

These dishes are bound to give you hungry eyes
Sarah Armosky / Hilltop Views
Semi-frozen chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. Maybe not the best choice for a cold day, but satisfying nonetheless.

Everything is bigger in Texas, and the Texas Renaissance Festival is a prime example. Each fall, Todd Mission, Texas, residents endure the weekend crowds flocking to the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF), which claims to be the largest in the nation

Catfish plunderer’s po’ boy of the Sour Olde Skull’s S.O.S fare menu. Each section of TRF hosts different European cuisines including American, French, British, Spanish, Greek and Polish. (Sarah Armosky / Hilltop Views)

My expectations for a Renaissance festival are simple: good shopping, good shows, but, most importantly, good food. With my family in tow, we made our way to TRF to try the kingdom’s cuisine.

Our first stop was the Sour Olde Skull Pub. Naturally, the menu was a sea of pirate-inspired dishes. We went for the catfish plunderers po’ boy, selling for $14. The sandwich consisted of a battered catfish filet on a crispy sourdough bun, topped with remoulade sauce and diced onions and tomatoes.

I’ll start with the positives of this savory concoction. While not as spicy as it should have been, the remoulade sauce had a good spice blend and added much needed moisture. The toasted sourdough bun was buttery and held up well, so the sandwich didn’t sag while in hand. 

My main complaint was the catfish filet, which was humorously thin. The breading was almost as thick as the filet itself, giving what should have been a flaky fish a dense and stretchy mouthfeel. That said, the breading had a nice flavor with lots of cracked black pepper and paprika. 

While in Buccaneers Bay we got beignets and blueberry and mango mead. As we ate we could hear the pirates next door sing a sea shanty rendition of “What Is Love” by Haddaway. (Sarah Armosky / Hilltop Views)

Though the filet was lacking, the sandwich was still delicious and large enough that it felt like $14 well spent. So, the plunderers po’ boy gets three out of five goats.

Wandering down Buccaneer Bay, we made another stop to grab some mead, a wine made from fermented honey, and beignets. We got a bottle of Gryphon blueberry mead for $32 and a cup of mango mead for $8.

The blueberry reigns supreme of the two delectable meads: wickedly sweet and floral. It was like drinking a plump, ripe jammy blueberry dipped in honey. The mango was surprising because it tasted more like an elderflower than a mango. The fruit’s piney notes were only present in the aftertaste. Still, it was fruity and velvety. Both deserve a solid five out of five goats.

Next up were the beignets which set us back $7. These are not the usual pillowy beignets that come to mind. In fact, they seemed to be fried puff pastry. Typical beignets are made from fried yeast-raised dough or choux pastry. These were airy and would melt in your mouth, bite-sized and easy to eat. However, I don’t think I could have eaten more than three—they were a bit oily. Still, while not a true beignet, they were still tasty and not a bad price for an eight-piece order. With this in mind, I give them three out of five goats.

Glass artist Jodi Bove swings a glass vessel to flare the rim. We saw her demonstration after grabbing another bite to eat. (Sarah Armosky / Hilltop Views)

Before catching the glassblowing demonstration, we grabbed another must: cheesecake on a stick for a modest $9. It’s a skewered piece of New York cheesecake dipped in chocolate. The cheesecake itself wasn’t too sweet, so getting a bite with chocolate isn’t super saccharine. The milk chocolate is a nice, supple, thick layer, so it isn’t hard to bite into, and no chocolate shards fall off leaving no mess behind. Honestly, things are way more fun when they can be eaten off a stick. Five out of five goats.

As the sun started to go down, we started looking for hot food and headed over to the French cuisine portion of Muskateer’s Banquet. There we settled on cheese fries and a bread bowl.

Everytime we go to TRF, we have to get the $9 cheese fries. They’re thick spiral-cut potatoes that are crispy on the outside and similar to a baked potato on the inside. This delicacy is  topped with macaroni-style cheese sauce, sour cream and bacon bits.

A beef stew bread bowl (left) and cheese fries (right). In lieu of fighting for a spot at the packed jousting arena, we settled for good hot food.

The cheese sauce is the shining star of the dish; It’s thick, cheddary and creamy. Basically, it’s an excuse to eat macaroni sauce minus the macaroni. Five out of five goats.

Last was the beef stew bread bowl for $12. The stew was made with onions, carrots, peas, beef, beef stock and red wine. Nothing too crazy, but it’s comforting. The bowl itself was a white French loaf with thick, sturdy sides. However, the thickness made it hard to tear, so eating it was a bit messy. The soup portion was lacking, providing only what seemed to be a cup. Nonetheless, these bread bowls can surprisingly stay hot for a while, landing the reliable bread bowl a three out of five stars.

With our stomachs full, we made the three-hour-long drive back to Austin happy and ready to gorge at TRF next year.

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