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Showing off the colours, the spirit and the beer!

Showing off the colours, the spirit and the beer!

What makes a good party? Plentiful tasty food and good quality drink, happy people, music, and fun. Another sign of a good party: everyone goes along.* Beau’s Brewery brings it all together at Beau’s Oktoberfest!

This year’s event sounds like it’s going to be even better than last year’s. They’ve added more beer, more food, and more activities like the who-makes-the-best-sauerkraut competition and a sausage-eating contest.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it—and envy those who will—but I had a great time last year. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store at the Beau’s Okotberfest-ivities:

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*Note the green hats!

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Absinthe at Taste of Wellington

Crazy line-up at Absinthe. It looked like they were serving a gourmet mini burger. No doubt delish, but I decided to pass.

Free food is guaranteed to attract a crowd. It’s no surprise then that the sidewalks were crowded along Wellington Street West for the 4th annual Taste of Wellington—smart marketing on behalf of the Wellington West BIA for the area also known as “Epicure Row.” It did a fabulous job of enlisting 36 eateries between Somerset and Island Park Drive to participate and promoting the event throughout town. Other businesses joined in with sidewalk sale items, giveaways or entertainment. Hintonburg’s Causeway Work Centre was collecting donations from visitors.

Il Negozio Nicastro and Caffe Ventuno at Taste of Wellington

The 36 eateries participating in Taste of Wellington are marked with balloons.

Parma Ravioli at Taste of Wellington

Crowd despite the rain.

I have the pleasure of living in the neighbourhood and being familiar with several, but certainly not all the hood restaurants and food shops in the area. Shortly before 1 pm, I braved the downpour and made it as far as the Bagelshop, where I wasn’t the only one seeking refuge from the rain. Despite the promise of free food samples, I had a bagelsub. I was hungry and didn’t want to depend on the samples for lunch.In hindsight, I could have.

The food bites were plentiful. Once the sun came out, the crowd got bigger and the line-ups longer. At 3 pm, the sampling was still in full swing at many places.

I walked to Somerset and back, stopping at the places where I haven’t had the chance to eat along the way. Here are my favourites:

Allium

Allium at Taste of Wellington

Serving organic smoked chicken burgers at Allium Restaurant. Behind the sign is the one of two boxes of herbs and produce growing in front of the restaurant. Fresh and local.

Allium is one of the restaurants I haven’t yet dined at. I had their duck schnitzel with crunchy cabbage on a soft pretzel at Beau’s Oktoberfest last fall and it was fabulous. Today, they were serving delicious organic smoked Mariposa chicken burgers with avocado mousse and mango salsa. Allium is definitely next on my restaurant-to-try list! Note the raised boxes in front of the restaurant are planted with herbs and tomatoes (supplied by Mariposa Farms). The people living across the street can probably witness the chef picking fresh greens and produce for the evening’s dishes.

Dish

Dish Catering at Taste of Wellington

Filling the serving boxes with caramel-gingerbread-curry popcorn. The mini lamb burger was nestled on top.

It’s too bad the new Dish Catering space on the corner of Fairmont and Wellington will be reserved for events and catering pick-up, i.e. not open to the public, because the exotically-spiced, perfectly grilled (not dry) lamb burger was full of flavour! It was accompanied by caramel popcorn that tasted of gingerbread enhanced with curry. I would eat there if it was a restaurant.

Thyme & Again

Thyme & Again serving watermelon marshmallows at Taste of Wellington

Thyme & Again serving watermelon marshmallows at Taste of Wellington.

Fun, light and delicately flavoured watermelon marshmallows served by smiling faces at Thyme & Again.

As it got warmer, I was grateful for the refreshing drinks I tried at Nectar Fine Teas (cool citrus oolong tea) and Siam Bistro (Thai iced tea made of a black tea from Northern Thailand mixed with condensed milk).

I didn’t drop in on my neighbourhood favourites The Wellington Gastropub, Three Tarts and Sushi Umi, but I’m sure their samples delighted those who had them.

Flowers Talk at Taste of Wellington

Flowers Talk had the most colourful stand at Taste of Wellington. Thanks for the beautiful rose ladies!

Art in the Alley during Taste of Wellington

Art in the Alley organized by Alicat Art Studio dresses up with fab canvases, lights and lanterns and livens up with musicians the alley next to Alison Fowler's studio.

In addition to the food samples, I was thrilled to get a long-stemmed rose from the ladies at Flowers Talk (I love the quote “earth laughs in flowers” on the business card—I just made myself a pottery plaque with same quote by Emerson for my garden). I was also happy to see Windhorse Yoga doing demonstrations on the sidewalk, and Art in the Alley hosted by the artist Alison Fowler of Alicat Art Studio. I spotted other local artist Andrew King stopping by the alley too. I took refuge from the rain a second time at the Cube Gallery. I love that the gallery is so unpretentious. Makes it easy to stop in and just admire the artwork.

A great and tasty afternoon in the village. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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