Addison's Oktoberfest Draws Professional Drinkers, Lame Beer, and Great Eats

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I stopped by the Addison Oktoberfest this Saturday, arriving just past noon to a rising thermometer and an already swelling crowd. I was expecting a sizable event, but nothing like this. With all the food venders representing local Bavarian and German cooking, tents selling decent art, bad art, chicken hats, beer steins and lederhosen, and carnival rides, you could get lost for hours before you even started drinking.

Screw that, though. I had my first beer 4 minutes and 28 seconds after entering the gate.

By 1 p.m. there were already some amateurs unable to support their beer steins, walking with slacked wrists as beer sloshed about and quenched the dry grass under their feet. And by 3 I was feeling like a rookie myself, bloated with doner kebap, potato pancakes and ready for a nap. I left early to take in a museum with family I had in town, but other Observer staffers stayed much later, and reported that lines stayed manageable throughout the entire event.

While people were obviously drunk, it was a laid back and easy going crowd; no drunken high fives here.

The food in the main tent was all rather boring, catered hotel fare, but the little guys did a good job outside. Doner Kebap, potato pancakes, killer strudel, and weird potato chip nacho venders all did brisk business. A stand selling skillet potatoes bathed the entire food area in a blanket of simmering potato pepper and onion aromas. By evening their line was significantly longer than the competition's.

While I'm still assimilating to Dallas from my long-time home in DC, I was really impressed with the event. This city is certainly behind the curve in certain areas -- cocktails and farm-to-table cooking come to mind -- but I can say this for sure: the metroplex kicks the District's ass, and other cities' too, when it comes to Oktoberfest.

Still, I'm paid to bitch about things, so I'm inclined to point out a rather lackluster beer selection. Spaten and Franziskaner sponsored the event and dominated the offerings. I would have liked to see some smaller German breweries represented. And local beer was completely absent. I know the folks at Rahr have a decent Oktoberfest at some area restaurants. They should have had a tent here as well. And try as I might, I never found a plate of bratwurst and sauerkraut. Sad for me.

Now, some of the food:

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