By Polly Campbell
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The 18th annual food/music festival Taste of Blue Ash next weekend is the second biggest and oldest of the popular community "Taste" events.
It's surpassed only by Taste of Cincinnati. Over the years, it's become know for its oldie music acts as much as the food.
But even if you're going to see Al Green, Dion or the Go-Go's, be sure to make a meal of your visit.
A pre-event judging deemed the Bistro at Doubletree's blackened salmon salad, Copeland's shrimp and tasso pasta, Parker's cr╦me brulee cheesecake and Burbank's sweet potato casserole as "Best of Taste," but that just gets you started.
Among the items offered by 20 restaurants, the most popular seems to be barbecued ribs. You can choose from Burbank's, Chili's, Eddie's Southern Style BBQ, and the Bistro at Doubletree. Burbank's always have been good, but you might want to try all of them and compare.
There isn't a wide variety of ethnic foods, but one of my favorite Indian restaurants, Sitar, is in Blue Ash, and it's serving chicken tikka, subzi biryani and samosas, plus its nan bread.
Pacific Moon will be there for the first time. They're pros at these events, though their selections aren't too exotic: chicken fried rice and egg rolls.
If you always search out La Petite France at Taste of Cincinnati to try the snails and mushrooms, they'll be there, too.
Papa John's will have pizzas, but for something more out of the ordinary, Watson Bros will have reuben wontons and calamari.
This is the only "taste" event that Haute Chocolate shows for, and its brownies and caramel apples - especially the brownie sundae - add a luxurious touch to the dessert selections. I'm guessing the Iron Horse Inn chocolate chocolate beignets would be another good choice, and I know Parker's brulee cheesecake is.
Then again, this is an outdoor event, and if you haven't made it to a county fair or church festival this summer, maybe you just want to get funnel cakes from Maury's Lighthouse Cafe and roasted corn on the cob from Eddie's.
Or stop by the Wertheim's booth to try the item that is becoming practically required at Cincinnati food events: the goetta burger.
Hours: 6-11 p.m. Friday, noon-midnight Saturday and noon-10 p.m. next Sunday. It's in "downtown" Blue Ash at Hunt and Cooper roads. Shuttle buses will operate from parking lots around the area. Parking, shuttles and admission are free. For more information, call 745-8686 or check www.blueash.com
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Make a meal of Taste of Blue Ash
Get to it!