Not what it seemed: Taste of the City

Ever since first wind of a sampling food festival with offerings from 25 of Vancouver’s best restaurants (that is, the Taste of the City event), I was eager to go. Having sample sizes at sample-size prices particularly calls to the heart of a novelty-seeking foodie like me!

Upon arriving at the event, all my illusions of blissfully sampling ten new items flew out the window. Immediately, also, it was re-inforced how exuberant-but-nutty Vancouverites are to deal with seam-busting events like this (or the Celebration of Light fireworks).

First off, you buy a panel (or half-panel) of 20 tickets for $10.00. Each food ticket is consequently worth $0.50 and hypothetically the samples cost between $0.50 up to $3.00. Was anything really priced $1.00 or $1.50? I noticed that everyone was charging the maximum of $3.00 for their little dishes – case in point, the beef bouillabaisse from Cassis cost the maximum number of tickets. So did the butter chicken from Maurya. Couldn’t Maurya scale back the serving size and simply charged less?

We arrived around 6 p.m. – with two hours to go for the festival – to a third of the booths empty because they had run out of food. I was truly disappointed.

Finally, I was less than impressed with the wild line-ups for most of the stands that were still serving. Imagine the food booths along the edges of the plaza and their line stretching across the square. Granted, the lines did not stall and actually moved along at an acceptable speed. Still, the exaggerated line-ups combined with litter strewn about all the “dining area” that was the center of the square, it really felt as if you were wading through a garbage can.

Should I visit this food festival again (the sensible route is just to go to the restaurant), I believe some strategy should be employed involving a group of people to disperse into line-ups at different booths with cellphones to communicate and re-group and perhaps enjoy the gourmet meal!

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