Unusual food found at Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival

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COLUMBIA — The Roots N’ Blues N’ BBQ festival is known for its smoked meats and other sweet or savory meals. This year, there were other types of eats that were a tad unusual.

Morgan Williams, food vendor coordinator for the festival, said she had a specific mentality when she was putting together the food providers.

“We're always trying new things around here, so we want our festival patrons to walk away thinking 'That was kind of weird, but it was good,'” Williams said.

One of Harold’s Doughnuts’ wares fit the category. The shop rolled out a sandwich with pulled pork on a doughnut bun with horseradish coleslaw. The owner, Michael Urban, said he wanted to “have fun” with this meal.

“There's a smoky taste of BBQ with the sweetness of the Bismarck doughnut,” Urban said. 

Urban partnered with two of his friends, Sam and Lisa Bennett, to create the BBQ.

“We came together and thought, ‘what can we do that’s unique?’” Sam Bennett said. “It was heavenly as expected.”

Kelsey Dean is the executive chef and co-owner of Lyla’s Catering. She said she is lactose intolerant, which can make it difficult for her to eat at restaurants. Thus, Dean said her goal going into the festival was to provide “hearty food for everyone.” There are meat, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free creations available on the menu. One of those is a grilled portabella mushroom wrap.

“I want to give you something super satisfying,” Dean said. “Not just, ‘here’s a bowl of lettuce, that’s all we have.”

Casey McTavish, owner of Not'cho Ordinary Taco, said he seeks to fill a particular niche at the festival.

“I know if you already had BBQ, people look for something different,” McTavish said. “I want to push the boundaries of a regular taco that you can’t find anywhere else.”

One of these tacos is the Hawaiian Surf and Turf. It consists of teriyaki steak & shrimp, topped with melted Swiss cheese, pineapple chutney and spicy aioli.

The three-day-long festival began ends on Sunday and has been running for ten years. 27 vendors were in attendance.