Taste of Cincinnati 2009

by Bryan on May 26, 2009

taste-2009-burbanks I used to go about every other year to the Taste of Cincinnati, but this is the first time I made it since it was moved from Central to Fifth. Two years ago I had a pretty good excuse, my son was born on the Sunday of Taste. Last year there was all the coordination of his First birthday, but this year Taste fell earlier in the month.

As a side note, the most pleasant surprise was the discovery that they served Coke products this year. I still say the Reds resurgence this year can be traced to the return of Coke and the removal of Pepsi from Great American Ball Park.

I didn’t actually expect to make it to Taste of Cincinnati this year. Our break came when rain cut through downtown a little before 5:00 pm. You see, I am a foul weather diner. For example, I learned long ago that when we get flurries, that’s the night to hit Montgomery Inn Boathouse while the rest of Cincinnati is stocking up on bottled water. So I figured the rain would thin the crowd, but I was actually impressed with how many folks were there as we toured the booths.

There was a lot of barbecue there. I got some Beef Brisket at the Pit to Plate booth. I have never been to the actual restaurant, but have liked the beef brisket I sampled at a number of Tastes. I was amused that Burbank’s Real Barbecue had NO barbecue in their booth. you can see their menu in this post.

Taste is the perfect time to sample stuff you might not get a chance to try otherwise. Of course I could not resist the Saratoga Chips from Montgomery Inn, who cares how many times I have had them. And then I went to the Thai Taste booth to get General Tso’s Chicken which is not only not Thai, but isn’t even Asian (it is an American-Chinese dish). However, I must say it was very tasty, and the chicken was very tender (something a lot General Tso’s dishes fail to deliver).

I did sample Vitor’s French Toast desert, it was covered in a banana custard, whip cream and chocolate syrup. I liked it a lot, but given all the buzz around it I was ever so slightly disappointed.

I am conflicted on the new (to me) location for taste. There is not as much room on Fifth as there was on Central. On the flip side it is very convenient to Fountain Square, the P&G gardens and the ball park. Of course it could have be convenient to a ball park on Broadway Commons when it was on Central, but that opportunity was lost long ago.

The one thing that continues to drive me nuts is booth design. You are showing off your restaurant. Here is an idea… tell us where you are located. I heard one person pointing to Andy’s Mediterranean and saying "It’s in Clifton". There were a number of booths that had no indication of location, and some with street names, but no streets I knew.

My worst memory of Taste, however, was years ago. A restaurant that was located in the Westin lobby (a few owners ago) had this fabulous dish. Can’t remember what it was, but I made a point of going there for lunch the next week and it wasn’t even on the menu. The waitress said they had not served it for a while, but thought it would do well at Taste. I was speechless.

I always enjoy Taste when I go, and really should go more often. It is certainly one of the perks of living so close to downtown.

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