Beer, brats, burp.
Oktoberfest Northwest is on.
In its ninth year at the Washington State Fair Event Center, the weekend-long festival is an ode to German beer, food and entertainment. It's happening today and tomorrow, check below for hours.
Lining the wall of the Showplex are a handful of restaurants, with a few kiosks serving food closer to the entertainment stage and communal seating area. Read below for what I ate and what was worth the money (and what was not).
WHAT I ATE
Note: See menus below
[caption id="attachment_14047" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Potato cakes from Bruno's food booth, $8. [/caption]The eats: Potato cakes, $8The booth: Bruno's Tender potato, crispy exterior. The latkes from Bruno's most definitely are worth the price of admission. Don't want to pay Oktoberfest admission? Get yourself to Bruno's European Restaurant in Parkland. Order the schnitzel or cabbage rolls.
[caption id="attachment_14048" align="aligncenter" width="480"] The schnitzel plate from Gutes Essen Haus, $10.[/caption]The eats: Schnitzel plate, $10The booth: Gutes Essen HausCan you really go wrong with fried pork as an accompaniment for beer? I think not. This plate was full of protein and carbs, a good foundation for an event filled with German brews. A pork cutlet was breaded, fried and smothered in a beefy mushroom gravy. On the side, a warm potato salad laced with bacon and whole grain mustard and a punchy cabbage salad with a sweet-sour pucker. Highly recommended.
[caption id="attachment_14053" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Zieglers spicy brat with onions, kraut and deli mustard, $7.50. [/caption]The eats: Spicy brat, $7.50The booth: Ziegler'sWhen you bite into a brat with serious snap and a squirt of pork flavor, you know you've hit bratwurst jackpot. This is pretty well priced, considering the size, and really well paired with beer. I opted for grilled onions and kraut, they'll pile it as high as you like. Help yourself to mustard adjacent to the booth.
[caption id="attachment_14054" align="aligncenter" width="480"] The reuben sandwich from Crepe Chalet, $7.50. [/caption]The eats: Reuben sandwich, $7.50The booth: Crepe ChaletI wanted to like this more than I did. The kraut was thicker than the corned beef, which gave me trouble. I don't want to taste kraut, I want to taste a thick layer of corned beef when I'm slugging down a brew. The Swiss cheese was processed, which gave the sandwich that terrifying plasticized texture. Not a fan.
The eats: Vegetable piroshky, $6.50The booth: KaleenkaI've always been a fan of the beef piroshky at Kaleenka. I thought I'd give the veggie version a try. The dry filling crumbled out of the piroshky. Stick with beef.
The eats: Apple fritterThe booth: Gutes Essen HausSkip this one - it was way too greasy - and head to the root beer float tent for a treat. Crater Lake root beer was paired with Snoqualmie ice cream.
Ninth Oktoberfest NorthwestWhere: Washington State Fair Events Center, PuyallupWhen: 11 a.m.- midnight Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 9:45 a.m.-6 p.m. SundayTickets: $10 Saturday, $5 Sunday. Kids free. Parking is free. Safeway may still have discount tickets. Contact: 425-295-3262,oktoberfestnw.comAlso: Dancing, live music, games for kids and grownups, free activities for kids. Wiener dog races on Sunday. Kids welcome until 7 p.m.Enter: Through the Blue Gate
Things to note: VALUE: The food is mostly decently priced for what you get, but it's not priced or plated for sampling multiple things, unless you're eating with a crowd. Know that going in. Combined with the gate admission and cost of beer, this festival gets spendy fast. BEER: It's priced $6 a cup. They've got Warsteiner dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, HB Oktoberfest and Snoqualmie Harvest Moon. They also have wine and a root beer stand with Crater Lake root beer. BEER LINE: You need to go to the age verification line, buy a beer ticket (with cash or credit), then retrieve beer from the beer stand. It's complicated, I know. FUN TO WATCH: The festival entertainment appeared more fun for viewers than participants - a gander at the Hammerschlagen tent is a must do before you head over to the beer kiosk. Was it me, or did the contestants seem to be hitting the nail with the wrong end of the hammer? Or, wait. Maybe those are people who need to take a cab home. TAXI STAND: And speaking of that, this is a well organized event with plenty of drivers for hire at the taxi stand in the Blue Gate parking lot. Use them, you'll be glad you did. KIDS: This is a kid-friendly event until 7 p.m., but be careful of bringing kids sensitive to noise. It's loud and chaotic.