The best of Dig IN 2014

Between Gen Con, IndyFringe, and Dig IN, I found myself with more badges than an assertive Boy Scout this weekend. In the Aug. 25 IBJ, I'll be writing my annual Best Games of Gen Con piece, reporting on my discoveries there. Last week, I offered a Fringe for Beginners guide here on the blog.

Now, though, let's get to Dig IN, the annual farm-to-fork event featuring creative cooking for some of the region's best restaurants, caterers, and other food providers. It was held Aug. 17 at White River State Park.

Here were my favorite five (keep in mind, please, that I couldn't get to all of the offerings):

1. Peterson's Lamb in an Afghan, featuring housemade sausage wrapped in puff pastry.The yellow tomato jam, crispy lamb bacon, and sage-infused cotton candy made in more than just a pigs-in-a-blanket variation.

2. Valley Kitchen & Bar's Sweet & Spicy Chicken Tacos, which substituted the usual tortilla shell with a fried gyoza wonton wrapper. Inside was found a combination of Amish chicken, cherry tomato and red onion. No surprise why it's a staple on the appetizer menu of this Valparaiso eatery.

3. The Loft at Trader's Point Creamery brought along Candied Pork Belly set atop compressed Indiana cantaloupe accented with pickled coriander, basil and fresh curd. No, I had no idea what it would taste like when I saw it but happily went back for seconds (a Dig IN ticket allows for one of each offerings, plus five bonus bites).

4. Slow-braised Lamb from Spice Box, one of the line of food trucks represented at this year's event.

5. The signature pizza from 800 Degrees. Topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, house-made hot sausage, fire-roasted red pepper, ricotta to cut the heat and a bit of flat lef parsley and chili oil, it made me want to schedule a road trip to Fort Wayne, STAT.

Feel free to add any of your favorite Dig IN bites below.

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