The New Bite

Jul 19, 2010

It was a quarter century ago, during my first summer in the city, that I made my initial forage to the Bite of Seattle. I recall a sprawling, rather laid-back event with a choice of many exotic cuisines. Believe I ended up sampling some Ethiopian-style food.

Unfortunately, like seemingly all Seattle traditions, the Bite has become more commercialized and slick. Though now touted as the “Northwest’s Premier Food Festival” (brought to you by Comcast!), many selections are hardly worthy of the name, catering to such run-of-the-mill American tastes as steak sandwiches (two booths), barbecue (two locations), pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. Instead of Ethiopian fare, present-day visitors are encouraged to explore a “Taste of Chicago”. Wow, what an am-brosial experience! And what will it be next year, I wonder. A “Taste of Tacoma”?

Despite the shortage of foreign dishes, I nevertheless made the most of the three day affair (conveniently being held in the Seattle Center just a few blocks from my hotel). I began Friday afternoon with some passable jambalaya and a dessert of strawberry shortcake. Saturday, while waiting for friends to arrive, I snacked on an interesting “Korean Taco”, then an ear of sweet corn before doing a lunch of (ho hum) salmon and rice. Sunday I succumbed to the mundane with a barbecue sandwich, though I livened up the lunch with some tasty Russian potato dumplings that were perhaps the highlight of my culinary adventuring.

All things considered, it was a pleasant enough finale to an event that has been a small, but regular part of my years here. All those Fridays at work when I’d take an extra long lunch with a fellow employee and stroll over to the Center for an exotic meal enjoyed under summer-perfect weather.

An aspect of Seattle I’m going to, at least in some ways, miss.

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