Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Taste of the Coeur d'Alene's

A highlight of the summer is the first weekend in August. The weekend when downtown Coeur d'Alene is taken over by Art on the Green, A Taste of the Coeur d'Alenes and the Street Fair. Each year I enjoy checking out the artist's work and talent, but what really draws me to the events is the food.

I remember when A Taste of the Coeur d'Alenes was just starting. It was meant to be a way for local restaurants to show off their skills and draw in customers. Unfortunately, I realized this year that goal must have been cast aside. The majority of food booths were standard carnival type fare, with high price tags. I tried a giant looking burrito from Devo's Burritos. The sign promised black beans, cheese, shredded chicken, tomatoes, red chiles and tequila. What I got was a layer of dry beans, a pile of prepacked shredded cheddar and a slop of dark, finely chopped chicken meat with over cooked tomatoes and little flavor. At $7, I felt a bit ripped off.

DD ordered a Philly cheesesteak sandwich from "The Italian Sasauge Guy." He'd heard good recommendations from past years and thought he'd deviate from his usual pizza. DD claimed the sandwich was good, but not any better than the type you buy frozen and cook in the microwave. At $8, we again thought the value was poor.

The highlight of the dining experience was Mary Lou's Ice Cream booth. A small scoop on a cone seemed like a bargain at $2. The huckleberry flavor I ordered was excellent. DD had a white bubblegum cone. The ice cream was thick and creamy with good flavor and not too much sugar. Just good, old fashioned, who-cares-how-much-fat-and-calories it has ice cream.

I know other cities have "Taste" events. A lot of them seem to charge one price for addmission, then you get samples from the different booths. They all seem to have the same focus, local restaurants. I would like to see A Taste of the Coeur d'Alenes go back to it's roots and feature more local restaurants. I would also like to see a better value for food. The idea is to attract business for the future, not gouge the patrons at one event.

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