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Local News / Entertainment

Thursday, 10 June, 2010 1:54 AM

Flavor and smell rise above downpours at 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Employees from The Blue Nile serve food to guests at the 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor.
by Pete Bublitz
petblitz@yahoo.com

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A rainy Sunday on Ann Arbor’s Main Street would not prevent crowds from enjoying the scents and sounds of the 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor. Despite two separate periods of heavy rainfall during the afternoon, attendees lingered up and down the street, with many waiting in line, to get a taste of what was provided by booths of 39 represented restaurants within the area.

"I think we got a pretty good crowd, despite the rain, all is well," said Maura Thomson, Taste of Ann Arbor's executive director. "Last year, the weather really cooperated so I would say last year probably had more attendance. But it's still a great event. We've had some fabulous entertainment. Next year, bigger and better than ever with sunny skies.

"For those who didn't experience taste, book your reservations for restaurant week, which happens in Ann Arbor June 20 through 25. You can find information at www.annarborrestaurantweek.com."

While some setup booths were recognizable by the popularity of their chains (Buffalo Wild Wings, Busch’s, etc.), the majority of represented cuisine came from restaurants that were acclaimed for bringing a more local flair to the day.

Chief among these, it seemed, were conventional restaurants like The Black Pearl and more snack-based shops such as The Cupcake Station. It was perhaps helpful that a number of sponsored booths were parked right in front of their host spots in order to attract festival goers inside for an exploration of their more expansive menus.

"It's really good, exactly like last year," said Leigh Baker of Ann Arbor. "There's a lot more people I feel like this year. I ordered some stuff from Carson's, the mac and cheese. That was really good. It was nice and spicy a little bit. I went to the Cupcake Station and had some cupcakes. Those are really good. It's expensive to eat downtown but for just the little samples it's good prices and stuff."

Awards were handed out to the best of show, best appetizer, best entrée, best desert and WEMU Taster's Choice. The Black Pearl's fish tacos won the best of show and best entrée awards. Real Seafood Company's scallop and shrimp skewer won the best appetizer award. Conor O'Neills' bread pudding won the best dessert award. Café Felix's crab cakes won the WEMU Taster's Choice award.

Even the food that was on hand outdoors would run into short supply based on line size and ongoing demand. At a booth operated by Mediterrano, which excelled in selling olive oil, one such problem was faced more than once.

"It's excellent, I think we hit four places so far," said George Lund of Ann Arbor. "Everything has been great. We've had chicken from the Jamaican Jerk Pit, pâté from Marnee Thai and fried ravioli from Palio. It's a great turnout. I think maybe it's time to find some dessert."

According to booth volunteer Danielle Payne, the booth had twice run out of plates on which to serve free samples of bread and olive oil.

In addition to nostril and tongue delights, parked at the corner between Main and Liberty was a stage that hosted up to six individual performers and groups. Over six hours, guests were treated to the likes of Wolfie Complex, Abigail Stauffer, and a rendition of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

"It's great, a lot of really good food," said Michaela Cook of Lansing. "I had some Indian food from Shalimar and some chocolate ganache cake and a smoothie, all of which were delicious. I was pretty surprised at how reasonable the pricing is."

For more information on the Taste of Ann Arbor, visit www.mainstreetannarbor.org.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Local band Bootstand performs at the 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Taste of Ann Arbor banner hangs above Main Street.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Blue Nile Restaurant sign

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Vinology menu

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Employees from Vinology serve food to guests at the 2010 Taste of Ann Arbor.

 

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