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Taste of Kalamazoo 2010

July 23, 2010

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while.  I always love food festivals like this that give you an opportunity to try several different places.

When we lived in Lansing, we looked forward to the BWL Chili Cook-Off.  The first year we went, it was fantastic.  Great food.  Easy to get around and try everything.   The second year, they changed the venue and it sucked.  Having never been to a festival at Arcadia Creek, we didn’t know what to expect, but were really hoping for something like that first year at BWL.

First order of business.  Find parking.  I probably could have found some street spots since we went for lunch, but I pulled into a parking lot along Water Street.  We didn’t figure we’d stay long, so parking wasn’t going to set us back a whole lot.

Since we were there before 4:00, there was no cover.  There are ticket booths located throughout the site, but J’s work had given her 25 tickets, so we figured we’d start with that.

The food vendors are set up underneath long tents that sort of form a T.  Our first trip through we just kind of looked to see what was there.  There are programs that list all the food and how many tickets each thing costs, but we didn’t find those right away.

Tickets are $.50 each and on the food side, nothing costs more than 8 tickets.  Most of the items are in the 7-8 ticket range.

The first booth that caught our eye was, of course, BBQ.  We went straight for the Q-It-Up.  I’ve actually had their brisket before and was a little disappointed to see they didn’t have it.  I’m not usually a brisket fan, but this stuff was delicious.  Instead, they had wraps for 6-8 tickets.  We decided to each get one so we could try different ones.  I went with the Beef Tri-Tip Wrap and J went with the Chicken Breast Wrap.  Both wraps were flour tortillas filled with the previously mentioned meat and a fire roasted salsa and both were delicious.  I wasn’t expecting the salsa at first so it was a little surprising, but very tasty.  It did cut a huge chunk into our ticket stock pile, but the portion size was worth it and I was almost full after that.

Beef Tri-Tip Wrap

The next stop was the Wine Loft’s booth.  They had a Goat Cheese Crostini for 5 tickets that J really wanted to try.  She loves goat cheese and really liked the Wine Loft’s take on this appetizer.  The cool thing about this booth was that we got a 20% off coupon to use at the restaurant.  We’ve never been and have been wanting to go.

Goat Cheese Crostini from The Wine Loft

We had now used 21 of our 25 tickets, so I stopped at a ticket booth and picked up 20 more.  After that, I headed to Papa’s Italian Sausage.  That’s another restaurant I’ve been wanting to get to.  I got an Italian Beef for 7 tickets.  This is where I screwed up. I should have got the Italian sausage, but I’m such an Italian beef fan.  This sandwich was pretty disappointing.  It tasted like supermarket roast beef dipped in au jus.

Italian Beef from Papa's Italian Sausage

We were starting to get full, but still had a few more places we wanted to try.  Central City Tap House was next on our list.  If you haven’t heard of that establishment yet, it’s because the place is opening up in the next few weeks.  It’s a new venture by the Millenium Restaurant Group that will open on the Kalamazoo Mall next to Epic Bistro.  The offerings they have at the taste all sounded delicious.  We went with the House Cut Potato Truffle Frites for 5 tickets.  It took a while for our fries to come out from behind a tent, but they were being made fresh.  They were delicious skin on fries that were tossed in truffle oil and Parmesan cheese.  That small paper boat of fries was more than enough to wet our appetites and make us look forward to the opening next month.  Again, we got a 20% off coupon for a visit sometime in the month of August.

Truffle Fries from Central City Tap House

It was starting to get towards dessert time and we both had something in mind.  J went first and got a Cheesecake on a Stick.  There were two places that were selling that particular item at two different prices.  We went with the cheaper one from the GHG Hospitality Group (Burdick’s, Zazio’s, Sol, Webster’s, and The Radisson) which was three tickets.  The treat was a frozen cheesecake that was dipped in chocolate and skewered with a stick to make it portable.  Delicious. As an added bonus, we picked up a 15% coupon for Zazio’s so we can try their new lunch menu.

Cheesecake on a Stick from GHG Hospitality

After mulling around looking for something else to try, I finally decided I was full and wanted something cold.  We headed back to the Mangia Mangia booth and I got a Cannoli for 7 tickets.  The cannoli was huge.  The guy working asked me if I wanted a chocolate drizzle and of course, I said yes.  The cannoli was more than I could eat at that point and I ended up sharing with J.

Cannoli from Mangia Mangia

Everything we had today was fantastic. If I had one complaint it’s that portion sizes were too big.  I’d rather see smaller portion sizes and small ticket prices so I could try more.  Technically, we only spent $10, but we had $12.50 in free tickets.  That’s not a bad prices for lunch and probably what we would have spent anyway had we gone to a restaurant.  I just would have liked to try more, but stomach wouldn’t let me.

The Taste of Kalamazoo is a great event for area restaurants to showcase their food.  We found a few new places that we will try sometime in the near future and for people who aren’t really adventerous eaters, it can really open their eyes to all the great places that Kalamazoo has.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Iman St James permalink
    August 10, 2010 3:17 pm

    Take better pictures, seriously

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      August 10, 2010 4:03 pm

      better pictures?

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