New this year to the Taste of Buffalo was the invasion of the food trucks
. Four of them were parked in a "food truck alley", and they seemed to be doing well. Outside of this past weekend, the food trucks are very innovative in a "new-school" restaurant kind of way. These days they are leveraging going where the people are, as opposed to the "old-school" restaurant routine where people have to the food... now the food finds them! Food trucks certainly get "ease of use". Buffalo's world continues to change very quickly.
The food trucks are also being quite innovative in creating completely new foods. What great risk taking! Pictured above is Lloyd's version of "Krazy Korn." Ingredients include garlic butter, chili powder, cheese, cilantro, and a secret ingredient (I can't tell you everything!) Roaming Buffalo has a "What Burger", which includes peanut butter and bacon jam. My personal Taste favorite was the reliable Carmine's Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms with Lobster Sauce. I came back later for seconds but they were sold out. To see the preview of this year's festival, please see Taste of Buffalo returns
The Fast Lane and the Slow Lane
These are the two ways to move through the Taste. Most folks will walk in the middle of Delaware Avenue. This actually is a rare privilege as there is no vehicular traffic to deal with, and this lets you view every food booth as you pass by it, albeit slowly. If you like the shade, to hide from Mr. Sun, or need to get to any specific spot in a blur, then use the sidewalks that are behind the food booth, and you will get there in a flash.
^ These volunteers were chanting!
Great spirit and enthusiasm here as these non-alchohol drink booth volunteers chanted "Ice cold drinks --- five drink tickets!" Their song was much more pleasant than what was coming from the Mohawk Street Karaoke Beer Tent that sounded more like a Buffalo Idol competition. In the enthusiasm department Dinosaur Barbeque was a close second, but they had the advantage of a Mr. Microphone in their booth. Interestingly, I saw them trading their food with Bravo. Wonder who got the best of that move?
The best bathrooms at the Taste
Relief. One of the best moves of the day was entering Mark Croce's Statler City lobby to escape the sweltering Buffalo 85 degree heat. Relief from the heat, yes, but also washroom relief. The restrooms at the Lobby Bar won my 1st prize for best restrooms at the Taste. Loved the decor, and yes, the ladies had to wait longer then the gentlemen. Sorry ladies! Also, I wonder if the Eye Chart at the Lobby Bar was being used as a test of sobriety. 2nd prize for best heat relief goes to the Buffalo Fire Department with their misting fans that sprayed water at festival-goers right by Niagara Square.
^ Our kids keep finding new ways to play KanJam
^ "Fun By The Forkful"
Chris Hitchcock, chairman of the Taste of Buffalo 2012, as quoted in the official program. Chris told me that one of his goals this year was to put the fun back in the Taste of Buffalo, not just for the volunteers and attendees, but for everybody. We're talking about entertaining street actors, dance companies and even break dancers. Judging by the record attendance of the rain-free two days of the festival, most of the people I talked to thought this was the best one yet. Perhaps this is even the best event of its type in the world, and that might be due to great Buffalo leadership.
^ Can't beat their great outfits and group choreography
As always, there was lots of great music at the festival! It was nice to see the Old School B-Boys again doing their old school Motown at the Niagara Square music stage. Stage left had a lot of "Do Not Stand" signs, probably left over from Friday's pre-Taste setup. But Buffalo crowds are polite and obedient crowds, and folks complied by sitting down, most of them bringing their own chairs. Unfortunate last minute musical cancellation at the other Live Music tent on Huron Street: Buffalonian Caitlin Koch of television's American Idol and X-Factor fame. Rumor had it that Paula Abdul whisked her away to a European gig.
What do the restaurants do with my tickets?
They weigh them. At the end of the festival each food restaurant takes the tickets that they have collected from you and me for food and drinks, and they get weighed on two different scales by the Taste committee. The average weight is then multiplied by a dollar amount and a total is then paid out to the restaurant, provided they have cleaned up their booth area. This is most brilliant. The more a restaurant sells, the more money they make (as does the committee). The less they sell, the less they make. Reward achievers, and don't reward the restaurants whose food the public didn't care for. Its great to see a free market in action.
BRO reader, what did you love about this years Taste of Buffalo?