Taste goes Downtown
I spent most of today at Taste of Cincinnati, doing that slow festival shuffle up and down 5th St. It had gotten quite busy by 3 o'clock. Vendors were happy, having sold plenty of food in record time. I got dressed this morning in a brand-new pale yellow t-shirt, and I remember thinking "I'll just be careful and not drip on it." I'm an idiot, but fortunately, the mango sauce on Shanghai Mama's egg rolls is also pale yellow.
I like the new placement, mostly because it takes in Fountain Square and goes alongside the P&G gardens (though wouldn't it be nice if they actually let you in there?) It's just a little more interesting and feels more like it's showing off downtown. Except, of course, Fountain Square isn't exactly finished. Still. ... it's less anonymous than Central parkway.
I know a lot of people were upset that a chain restaurant won several Best of Taste awards, myself included, but I gotta say, Carrabba's chicken Marsala is very good: lots of mushrooms, tender chicken. I think a bigger problem at taste is that not enough restaurants do those kind of things: mini gourmet meals that really show off how good our dining scene can be. But they offer what sells, of course. I think they can be pretty imaginative within the constraints of serving at a temporary booth for three days. I wasn't trying to try everything, but I liked Burbank's smoked turkey salad, those Shanghai Mama spring rolls, and there's some good 'q down there, including Eddie's and Pit to Plate and City Barbeque.
There's some pretty good music, too--I don't think I'd go just for the food, but I love music outdoors, and the Fountain Square stage is a good venue. Hopefully the weather stays nice