Saturday, September 25, 2010

Viva La Vista

A big event they have here in the fall is Viva La Vista, an outdoor food festival with live music and retailers celebrating the restaurants in the Vista of downtown Columbia. One of the girl's friend's was going so we thought meeting them at this food fest would be fun.

Despite the calendar saying summer was over and that it was technically autumn, it was a muggy 94 degree day. Undeterred, we headed out to the Vista. Our first stop was the stand for Pearlz Oyster Bar--the Crab Bruschetta was messy to eat but delicious. It was a typical but well-executed tomato bruschetta tossed with some healthy chunks of crab. Their corn fritters were crispy hot--a wonderful savory sweet combo of the corn and bell pepper fritter topped with a light snow of powdered sugar.

Then on to the stand for Gervais and Vine. We enjoyed Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops and an Albondigas (Spanish meatballs) skewer. The meatballs won Best Savory of the festival:

The Sweet and Savory Zapmia Zeppolli from Blue Martini were good though I think they would have benefited from being a little larger and less dense. Paul enjoyed the Fried Green Tomato BLT from 300 Senate:

I enjoyed the Shrimp and Grits at the Blue Marlin enough that I'd love to check out the rest of their menu--in their nice climate controlled seated venue.

I was curious to try SakiTumi, a hip Asian fusion grill and bar. The Seared Tuna on wonton chips didn't disappoint and SakiTumi is also on my list of places to try seated and not drenched in sweat.

Perhaps due to the heat, the girl had little interest to try anything besides cold desserts like ice cream (from Marble Slab), a Sno-Kone (from Cromer's) and a mango ice (from Rita's). Though she and Paul did enjoy a mini lemon cupcake from Cupcake and a burger from Five Guys.

My favorite food from this food fest were these Bleu Cheese Chips from Liberty Tap Room. It was a simple appetizer, but the chips were housemade and they were crispy perfection. The melted bleu cheese was just enough to infuse its potent flavor without overpowering the wonderful chips or making them soggy. They were a bit salty, but in my head an ice cold hef would complement it perfectly. Add Liberty Tap Room to the list.

There were other vendors that we were game to try but the heat slowed us down a bit. Overall, it was a great event--well-sized and spaced, plenty of trash cans and recycling receptacles, free parking, and reasonably priced for gourmet grazing. We look forward to going again next year--we only hope it will be cooler!

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