Yesterday was CityTV’s Taste of the City, held at the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver. To recap, there were 20 some odd local restaurants showcasing their dishes to the eager (and hungry) public, from butter chicken to hamburgers, Filipino desserts to mildly-flavoured water. In exchange for a certain number of tickets (which were being sold at $10 for a sheet of 20, effectively making them 50 cents a piece), the stands would offer a small sample of their food. No dish would cost more than six tickets, so nothing cost you more than three bucks.

To some, this may sound an awful lot like the Eat! Vancouver food and kitchen festival held a few months back at BC Place Stadium (ironically, just across the street from the Plaza of Nations), and, well, that’s not all the far away from the truth. The main difference is that Eat! Vancouver had an admission charge (Taste of the City let people in for free). That said, Eat! Vancouver had a number of free samples, whereas anything you decided to stuff into your face at Taste of the City would cost you a pretty penny

There were a good variety of bistros and restaurants in attendance, including some finer dining options like Feenie’s, at this, the fourth annual Taste of the City… but there was something that really detracted from the event and it wasn’t Simi Sara on the stage.

The only thing that I despise more than crowds are line-ups, and sure enough, CityTV’s Taste of the City had both. Not only would you be shoulder-to-shoulder with someone at all times, the lineups for certain stands (most, really) were incredibly long. At the Kelsey’s booth, for example, there were no fewer than 70 people anxiously waiting for a taste of their ribs at any given time. In fact, several booths sold out of their food well before the event wrapped up at 8pm.

Taste of the City is a good idea, but it needs to be executed a little better. The organization just wasn’t there, with the lineups to the different food booths being quite unclear, snaking in and out of the eating area (which was an absolute mess with leftover plates of half-eaten food).

Am I going next year? I certainly hope not… and it’s not because of Simi Sara.

According to the official website:
Participating restaurants at Taste Of The City reflect Vancouver’s growing ethnic influence, while still catering to traditional appetites. This years’ list include: Ashiana Tandoori, BC Chefs Association Jr. Chapter, Beaches Restaurant at Coast Tsawwassen, Burgers etc. BBQ House, Cassis Bistro, Century Restaurant, Chutney Villa, Feenie’s Bistro, Fiddlehead Joe’s Eatery and Bar, Habibi’s, Joeys Restaurant, Kelsey’s Restaurant, La Gavroche, Maurya Indian Cuisine, Memphis Mikes, Milestone’s Restaurant, Mosaic Bar & Grille, Mouse and Bean Antojerio Mexicana, Nando’s Flame Grilled Chicken, O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar, Patisserie Lebeau, Relish, Sate Satu Restaurant, Senova, Slim’z Barbeque & Steakhouse, T.G.I. Friday’s Restaurant and Bar and Vera’s Burger.