BBA’s “Taste of Bellingham” Improves with Age
Kim Harris, Ken Johnson, Denis Fraine
Gallery: 2016 Taste of Bellingham [12 Images] Click any image to expand.
Are you familiar with the old adage “Practice makes perfect”? In keeping with that philosophy, members of the Bellingham Business Association’s (BBA’s) Board of Directors aim each year to make their Taste of Bellingham even better than the previous year’s event. The general consensus is that the Nov. 9, 2016, Taste of Bellingham, well-organized thanks to board member and Taste Chairperson Julie St. Pierre (right), was the organization’s best to date.
Seventeen businesses were slated to participate in one way or another (unfortunately, at the last moment, two were unable to attend). F.W. Webb Company offered their showroom as the venue for the event, and Joe DeWolfe’s Valley DJ Services emceed, offering vendors a chance throughout the evening to highlight their businesses. Brian’s Country Greenery created beautiful centerpieces, which later on became prizes in the organization’s raffle. Of the other businesses that participated, most had representatives on hand to serve samples and discuss their specialty item(s); for those who were short-handed and couldn’t be present, board members volunteered to pick up their food contributions and set up their stations.
The goal of the event is to introduce BBA members and local business owners to the various services offered by fellow Bellingham businesses. (A win-win, the Taste also gives restaurants an opportunity to introduce new menu items, or to test offerings they are considering adding to their menu.) This year, the event was open to the general public. For the admission cost of $10, attendees could stroll from station to station, sampling many different types of food so that if/when an occasion arises where someone needs to supply food, a DJ, decorations, alcohol beverages, etc. at a business function or party, they’ll already have an idea of what is available from local vendors, and will, hopefully, keep the money here in town. The stations were set up among the F.W. Webb Company’s attractive bathroom fixtures displays so that their business was highlighted as well.
Coachmen’s Lodge offered up a mixed-meat (veal, pork, beef & venison) Bolognese, and Dairy Queen owner Ted Dimacopoulous dropped off lots of ice cream samples. Egan’s Pub brought corned beef Reuben sliders; three types of flavored popcorn—bacon ranch, wasabi ginger and French toast—which they offer as a light snack/appetizer at their restaurant at New England Country Club; two flavors of their house churned sorbet‚—mojito and sparkling Hibiscus; and two flavors of ice cream—apple pie and chocolate whiskey, made with Egan’s Irish Whiskey obtained from a relative in Ireland and sold exclusively at Egan’s Pub.
Gateway Liquors was on hand with samples of various beverages (a one-day alcohol license was obtained for the event), and Grumpy’s Restaurant featured sweet heat chicken bites and a Penne Solstice. Lowell’s Restaurant was most ambitious, offering samples of a Caprese salad, Calamari Fra Diavolo, pork stir-fry, both BBQ and buffalo chicken wings, and, for dessert, spanakopita and apple crisp. Outback Steakhouse distributed samples of their Endless Fried Shrimp with cocktail or volcano sauce and 6-layer chocolate cake; PJ’s Bar & Grill sent a tray of tasty mac and cheese; and Rock ’N Coal Pizza contributed two pans of their famous chicken wings.
On a different note, Simply Sweet Bakery served samples of strawberry cream cake and triple chocolate cakes, and The Father’s Table offered cheesecakes. Uno Pizzeria & Grill served samples of a chopped power salad that features spinach, grilled chicken, tomatoes, carrots, feta, red grapes, goji berries, raisins, soy nuts, almonds, pepitas, dried cranberries and fat-free vinaigrette as well as their signature Rattlesnake Pasta entree. Whole Food Market had an assortment of cheeses and crackers, along with glazed pecans and cashew nuts.
To reciprocate for the restaurants’ participation, the BBA purchases a $25 gift certificate from each restaurant, which they raffle off along with other donated items at the end of the evening; the restaurants also receive a free year of membership in the BBA (a $75 value). All of the money raised goes toward the BBA scholarship fund and its other charitable causes.
Like a fine Gateway Liquors’ wine that improves with age, the Taste of Bellingham just keeps getting better and better.