Taste of the Towns
"Taste of [Insert Neighborhood Here]" events are now common around the area, but Taste of Bethesda and Taste of Georgetown are a pair of the longest-running and most well known. In action for 19 and 15 years (respectively), the festivals are a way to try-before-you-really-buy, offering samples of restaurant fare for a fraction of the cost. Since the fests are on tap this week and next, here's a quick rundown of what to expect.
Taste of Bethesda
Who's There: Fifty-two restaurants including BlackFinn and Mia's Pizza will set up shop in downtown Bethesda on Saturday. According to the Bethesda Urban Partnership, 40,000 hungry folks are likely to show up for the event.
What's for Lunch: I'd look out for eggplant parmesan from Bice, samosas from Saveur India and paella from Jaleo's big paella pan. Finish your meal with a Just Cakes cupcakes. (The bakery just earned a decent average score of 6.8 in our Cupcake Wars). BGR and LebTav, two of my Bethesda favorites, will also be participating, but I probably wouldn't spend my tasting tickets on something I could get for just a few dollars more any day of the week.
Non-Edible Entertainment: Reverb and Junkyard Saints are among the bands on the lineup. Kids can get their faces painted or decorate cookies. There's also a family-friendly festival at the nearby Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.
How Much: Tasting tickets cost $5 for four tickets and servings will cost one to four tickets. Tickets are for sale in white tents on site.
Taste of Georgetown
Who's There: Mie N Yu, Baked & Wired and . . . Third Edition are among the restaurants slated to dish out samples on Oct. 11. The Georgetown BID estimates that 8,000-10,000 people show up each year.
What's for Lunch: Mendocino Grille plans on offering wild boar and black-bean chili and squash soup with pumpkin seeds and curry oil. Ancho- and maple-braised pork belly and a caramel-chocolate pecan tart are on the menu at Agraria's tent. Bangkok Joe's will have spring rolls with carrot sauce and pad thai with chicken and veggies. The fest also features a wine pavilion, which will offer samples from nearby vineyards and shops, along with beers and ciders from brewers around the country.
Non-Edible Entertainment: Blues Alley organized a jazz program for the event. The Blues Alley Orchestra and Jacques Johnson and Friends are on the bill. Trek north on Wisconsin Avenue that day for the Fall Fete, an outdoor event in the Book Hill section of Georgetown featuring champagne tastings and shopping specials.
How Much: Each ticket is good for one tasting. You can buy one tasting ticket for $5 or five tickets for $20 -- either online in advance (order by Oct. 7 if you want them shipped), or at the Eagle Bank parking lot on the day of the event. The wine pavilion has a different pricing structure. Patrons who are 21 and older can purchase a $10 band to gain admittance and then taste until their hearts' content.
Quick Bites: Cafe du Parc and the Willard host the Vendages festival tomorrow featuring live music, grape stomping and tasting stations with 40 wines and cheeses, crepes and raw-bar selections. Tastes cost between $2 and $14. For those with deeper pockets, the French Wine Society hosts the Taste of France, a festival of French wine, foods and culture -- with an $85 price tag.
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