CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The 35th edition of the Taste of Cincinnati kicked off Saturday.
Local restaurants ladle up the food, fun and festivities over Memorial Day weekend: Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26, from noon to midnight, and Monday, May 27, from noon to 9 p.m.
Admission to Taste of Cincinnati, the nation's longest running culinary arts festival, is free and open to the public.
2013 Best of Taste Awards Recognize City's Top Cuisine
Nine local restaurants earned top prizes for this year's Best of Taste Awards in four categories: Appetizer, Crab Rangoon by Thai Taste; Entrée, Honey Sweet & Sour Shrimp by Arloi Dee; Dessert, Vanilla Bourbon Breda Pudding by Blue Wisp and Go Vibrant, Thai Fried Rice by Thai Taste.
Judges included some 200 area celebrities, chefs, professionals and foodies, and each served as "mystery diner" taste testing various dishes throughout the city for two weeks. Post-dining point evaluations for every dish sampled were submitted and tallied.
2013 Best of Taste Awards
1st Place: Crab Rangoon, Thai Taste
2nd Place: Cuban Black Bean Soup, Silver Ladle
3rd Place: Risotto Balls, Pompilios
1st Place: Honey Sweet & Sour Shrimp, Arloi Dee
2nd Place: Chicken Chili 3-Way, Silver Ladle
3rd Place (tie): Pulled Pork Sandwich, Giminetti's Bakery & General Tso's Chicken, Thai Taste
1st Place: Vanilla Bourbon Bread Pudding, Blue Wisp
2nd Place: Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Sweet Potato Ice Cream, Mahogany's
3rd Place: Crème Brulee, Market Street Grille
Go Vibrant (healthy dining options)
1st Place: Thai Fried Rice, Thai Taste
2nd Place: Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Arloi Dee
3rd Place: Greek Yogurt Spread "Labneh," Andy's Mediterranean Grill
Live Entertainment at Taste of Cincinnati
Some 70 live music performances representing music of all genres is scheduled on four stages (Food Truck Alley Stage, Kentucky Ale Beer Garden Stage, Christian Moerlein Beer Garden Stage and the Yuengling Beer Garden Stage) along Fifth Street from Fountain Square to the P&G Gardens. Also, on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 9:30 to 11 p.m., local comedians will perform at the Taste of Comedy Show curated by comedian Josh Sneed.
The full schedule of entertainment is available here: http://www.tasteofcincinnati.com/tasteentertainment.aspx?menu_id=268&id=8784
NEW: Veggie Races presented by Go Vibrant, Friday, May 24, 12-1 p.m.
Local media celebrities representing TV, radio, print and blogs will compete in the first-ever Veggie Races presented by Go Vibrant on Friday, May 24 from noon to 1 p.m. on Fountain Square. Similar to Soap Box Derby races, contestants will be provided vegetables from Meijer to build and race a veggie-fueled vehicle in a round-robin style tournament.
NEW: Taste of Cincinnati Experience
Ten of Cincinnati's signature restaurants will participate in the newly created Taste of Cincinnati Experience, located in the P&G Gardens at Fifth and Sycamore streets, to offer an intimate dining experience with seating and live music. Participating restaurants include: 20 Brix, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Daveed's, Orchid's, The Palace and Tano's in addition to Graeter's. Chefs from the participating restaurants will be on-site at the Taste of Cincinnati Experience for three-hour increments each day (schedule will be released closer to the event). Representatives from Les Chefs de Cuisine will also be in the area throughout the weekend with samplings, and cooking demonstrations.
NEW: Tastings, Tappings and Tours by Christian Moerlein, official beer of Taste of Cincinnati
Christian Moerlein agreed to serve as the Official Beer sponsor of Taste of Cincinnati and will create the Moerlein Beer Garden on Fountain Square during the event. The following specialty craft beers will be served: the Moerlein Original Golden Helles, Moerlein Over-the-Rhine Ale, Moerlein Exposition Vienna Lager, Moerlein Northern Liberties IPA and the soon-to-be-released Moerlein Seven Hefeweizen. Every two hours of Taste of Cincinnati, the brewers of Moerlein will tap specialty kegs "Pins and Firkins" of dry hopped cask-conditioned ales to offer samples and discuss beer and brewing methods.
Additionally, visitors to Taste of Cincinnati will be offered free one-hour tours of the Christian Moerlein Production Craft Brewery, located in Over-the-Rhine at 1621 Moore Street. Buses will run continuously to and from Fountain Square during Taste of Cincinnati USA. Guests can register, free of charge, at the Christian Moerlein Beer Garden on Fountain Square.
NEW: Food Truck Alley on North Broadway at Taste of Cincinnati
Local food trucks will take over North Broadway off of Fifth Street, downtown to serve as variety of cuisine in a new area called Food Truck Alley, which will also feature live music and seating. Participating food trucks include: Café de Wheels, C'est Cheese, EAT Mobile Dining, Gold Star Chili, Mellow Mushroom and Sugarsnap!.