Saturday, July 19, 2014

Taste of Cambridge

My friends and I attended the 12th annual Taste of Cambridge, a fundraising event that supports local Cambridge non profits within the community.  Over 100 restaurants within the area and vendors get together and provide samples and tastings of their food and beverages to sponsor the fundraiser as well as promote their business.  Some of the beneficiaries include Cambridge Camping, Transition House, Paine Senior Services, Margaret Fuller House and the Institute for Health and Recovery.

The General Admission ticket is $50.00 and includes entrance to the food tasting and (4) full glasses of beer and wine or specialty mixed drinks.  The VIP ticket is $75.00 (We paid $ 65.00 through a corporate discount) and advertised to include a raw bar, grills and craft beer and craft punches served by celebrity bartenders.

My pictures doesn't do the event any justice.  I found that it was really difficult to balance a camera, drink, plate and fork with only 2 hands.  Needless to say, I did the best that I could.  Also, it didn't help that I enjoyed all the wine and beer samples... on some occasions, I visited the tables more than once.

Since we had VIP tickets, the line was much shorter to get into Taste of Cambridge.  The doormen checked our ID's and gave us 2 wristbands, one for being over 21 and one for being VIP.

After we checked in, we were welcomed by a "Make Your Own" Bloody Mary Bar.
Bloody Mary Bar
(Image via Lyna Nuth)
We took a right and stopped for a Hendrick's Watermelon cooler hosted by Tavern in the Square.  The drink was made with real watermelon puree and cool and refreshing.  It was garnished with a fresh herb. I think had 3.

There were many wine and champagne tastings throughout the event.  Some vendors were more generous than others.  The elder flower Prosecco was good but on the sweeter side.

Craigie on Main  served tasty pork belly crostinis.

Reyka had a cool bar made of ice and served some fruity mixed drinks.  They gave out cool bright orange "Wayfarers" sunglasses.

We walked outside the VIP entrance to check out the main vendors.  There were so many options, we didn't know where to start.  I was surprised to see grilled shrimp skewers since seafood isn't all that cheap.

One of the vendors had smoked beef tartare.

 Cool gazpacho was refreshing on a warm summer day.

I was impressed with Koreana's extensive offering.  They had the Kimchee pancake, seaweed salad, kimchee, jap chae noodles and beef bulgogi to sample.

 There were many dessert stations as well.  The Cookie Monstah food truck made an appearance and J.P. Licks served kiddie ice cream cups.

By the lawn area, The Blue Room was serving crostinis.  This is where the balancing act was tricky. I had put my watermelon cooler on the table for one second and it spilled everywhere. My bad.

There was a DJ spinning throughout the event.

 Fuji at Kendall served and assortment of vegetarian and fish maki rolls along with soy sauce and provided chopsticks.  We got there in time because we were the last group to grab a few tastings before they ran out.

Ole Mexican Grill  served guacamole and chips, fried pork skin and roasted pork in a VERY spicy sauce.

The guys at the PF Chang's table were very nice.  They had handmade dumplings, beef and broccoli and general gau chicken or as they refer to on their menu, "Chang's Spicy Chicken."

Tavern on the Square also had a food table in additional to a bar area.  They pretty much had a mutli course offering featuring beef and veggie sliders, kale salad and a shot glass dessert.

In the VIP area, there were grilled lamb skewers.

There was also a dedicated "Meet the Chef" area where there were additional tastings and a chance to say hello to the chef.

Back in the regular section, Wagamam served basil phad thai. It wasn 't great.

 Veggie Galaxy served a veggie sandwich with caramelized onions.

The Dosa Factory was among my favorite.  I loved their fresh potato dosas, chicken tikki masala, lentil stew and basmatic rice offering.

After a few drink samples, some of the people started to dance.  Actually, they were the only ones.

What a great night! It's probably one of the better food festivals that I've been to.  I am jaded that there was incorrectly advertised and there were no actual raw bars. Parking was easy, we paid $10.00 all night at the Star Market Parking Lot.  I know I left out lots of other vendors but I got too excited to try all the food! Next time!