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Taste Addison Recap

Erin Ahlfinger files this report.

Nate's Bartender Chad McConnell dressed as his menu. (photos by Erin Ahlfinger)

Bringing great food and entertainment together is easily what Addison does best, and this weekend’s 20th annual Taste Addison extravaganza was no exception. Over 60 restaurants brought selections from their menus to Addison Circle Park to make for an overwhelming variety of flavors to sample while enjoying live tunes by some great local bands and shopping from vendors of whimsical arts and crafts.

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Years of outdoor food festival attendance have taught me that food eaten outside tastes best when it has been prepared outside. My strategy is to follow the smell of searing meat to the vendors who said no to Sterno and packed up the grill instead. On The Border didn’t disappoint. They brought the entire kitchen and half its staff. As I sat on the ground listening to Prophets and Outlaws lay down blues rock riffs and munching my beef tacos al carbon, I realized that they were better than anything I’ve ever had in the restaurant itself. Even the flour tortilla had been grilled, making for a slightly flaky, crisp greeting to the strips of grilled steak and onion topped with jack cheese and served with both red and green salsas.

Festival-goer Beth Smitherman enjoying the famous Genghis Grill Gong

Having satiated my physical hunger, I now turned to the Taste Showcase to satisfy my hunger for knowledge. Various chefs shared their secrets as they prepared recipes easily recreated in any home kitchen. Friday evening, I found Josh Maher of Sherlock’s Pub and Grill whipping up a hearty shepherd’s pie for the crowd.

If you feed a girl a steak taco, she’ll be satisfied for a few hours. Teach her to grill a steak, and her carnivorous cravings will be aptly satisfied for a lifetime. I returned to the Taste Showcase Saturday afternoon to see what advice Dallas Cowboys running back and protein aficionado DeMarco Murray had to impart during his session of Cookin’ with Gridiron Greats. CBS 11’s Bill Jones provided the play-by-play as Murray minced garlic and seasoned the 14-ounce ribeye with ease.

The Taste Showcase also served as a sampling venue for local artisan products from spicy chicken flavored dill slices (from Pickelicious Pickles) to chocolate tortilla chips and with banana salsa by Dread Head Chef.  Texas Toffee Queen Tamie Mitchell was happy to provide all with samples of her decadent assortment of toffees in traditional and unique flavors such as white chocolate mango chili. The Dark Chocolate Salted Blood Orange was my personal favorite. The salt brought the delicate citrus-y notes up just enough to give this rich toffee a light, refreshing finish.

Texas wineries Arche̕ and Blue Ostrich Winery were on hand to make sommeliers out of every freshman wine drinker in the house. Patrick Whitehead of Blue Ostrich Winery gave seminars detailing the process of winemaking from vine to glass.

If you missed Taste Addison, all its flavors are available in Addison or online every day.

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