Consider the Taste of Tacoma the region’s biggest food court this weekend at Point Defiance Park. Or, as I like to call it, The Gluttony Bowl of Deep-Fried Wonders. The Taste of Tacoma might have the broadest menu of deep-fried abominations I’ve ever seen at the annual food fest – a pretty spectacular feat considering the festival has always served the kind of not-so-healthful food that your mother always warned you about.
In keeping with the nationwide festival food trend of battering and deep frying everything except for maybe color crayons (yet), I spotted on the menu: fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried Oreo cookies, fried candy bars and those things that always make me reach for the Tums, deep-fried onion blossoms.
In all, 29 portable restaurants will serve everything from seafood to tacos, from Filipino to Russian, from Southern treats to Northwest eats.
For an event called Taste of Tacoma, it’s surprising only one locally owned Tacoma restaurant is participating – AmeRAWcan Bistro. This year, most Taste vendors are a mix of South Sound caterers and food producers who travel the summer festival circuit.
So about all those high-caloric foods I just listed. Organizers do make an attempt to offer healthful eating – every booth will serve a heart-healthy nibble. Taste organizers paired with the Hope Heart Institute for guidance. I see a lot of tofu and quinoa on the heart-healthy menu, so I don’t think tag-along healthful diners or vegetarians will be disappointed. But I had to scratch my head at the supposed heart-healthy pickle and peanut butter sandwich.
You can check back here Friday afternoon for a first-day report, but you should also peruse the menu at the Taste’s website. Warning: It’s not a complete menu and items are subject to change at the last minute, but it will give you an overview. You might want to pop a few antacids before clicking that link.
Admission to the event is free, but you have to pay for food and drinks. Bargain hunters, prepare for disappointment: Gone this year are the bargain bites for $3.75. Organizers say the most expensive entree will top out at $8.
Enough about the food. Care to catch a band while you gobble that deep-fried candy bar? There’s music, a wine tasting and stuff for the kids to do. Check below for details.
Last year’s coverage: Read my review of Gluttony Bowl 2011 here.
Taste of Tacoma 2012
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday June 29, 2012 and Saturday June 30; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday July 1, 2012
Where: Point Defiance Park, Tacoma
Admission: Free, but you have to pay for food.
Cost of food: There is no cheap bite this year (priced $3.75 each last year). Organizers say menu items will top out at $8.
Parking: $10 in the Funland lot across from the park
Free shuttle: A free shuttle will travel from Tacoma Community College Transit Center directly to Point Defiance Park. Parking at TCC is free. Shuttle hours are 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday. Look for drop-off and pick-up areas marked at TCC.
Pets: None allowed in the food court. Festival organizers ask that pets stay at home.
Information: tasteoftacoma. com
Bring with you: Sunscreen and an umbrella (yes, it’s the Northwest), a bottle of water, hand wipes, sanitizer and make sure that you wear your Thanksgiving pants.
Music: Four entertainment stages. The Bowl Stage with classic rock; the Pond Stage with R&B, folk, gospel and world music; the Roadhouse Stage with country and blues; and the Jazz Stage adjacent to the wine-tasting garden.
More entertainment: Comedy club, a wine garden and tastings, a carnival, arts and crafts booths, commercial and vendor booths.
Where to eat: A few covered areas with picnic tables, as well as open areas for picnic dining.
No smoking allowed: Tacoma parks are smoke free. Smoking is prohibited within all areas of Tacoma public parks.
Sue Kidd dines anonymously and all meals are paid for by The News Tribune. Reach her at: 253-597-8270 or firstname.lastname@example.org