Open Wide for Bite Of Seattle

Leslie Kelly
Emmer & Rye chef Seth Caswell and chef Thierry Rautureau, right, at last year's The Bite Cooks!

It’s the 30th anniversary of Bite of Seattle (July 20-22, times vary. Free admission. Seattle Center) and for 30 years, food snobs have been pooh-poohing this egalitarian feast fest. Well, fine! Stay home with your truffle fries and sous vide steak. But you’re gonna miss out on some big fun.

OK, so maybe this event has strayed some from its original mission of showcasing the very best restaurants in the city. The fair fare now equals, or even outnumbers the legit restaurants that show up. Good news if you like alligator on a stick or heaping plates of bland stir-fried noodles.

But if you choose judiciously, you can put together an absolutely decent smorgesbord of snacks, which you’ll want to carry straightaway to one of the beer/wine gardens located within earshot of some sort of music, which is FREE!

My Bite strategy involves eating in courses, so I might start with an order of salad rolls from Green Leaf Vietnamese before wandering over to Famous Dave’s BBQ to see what’s smoking and then stopping for a palate cleansing fish taco from Eduardo’s. Just before the last button pops on my pants, I’m going to head over for a bowl of blissful creaminess from the fine folks at Old School Custard. (Love that stuff, and no, it’s not anything like the soft-serve ice cream it resembles. Try it!!)

If hunting for bits and pieces doesn’t turn your crank, get into The Alley hosted by Tom Douglas, where, for $10, various restaurants (the lineup changes daily) will fill a plate of sweets and savories. Oh, and, a portion of the proceeds benefits Food Lifeline. Take that plate right on over to the wine tasting area and for $15, you’ll get a keeper glass and five tastes from featured wineries. (Or come between 11 and 2 each day for the happy hour price, which is $12.) Fall in love with a new favorite and they’ll pour you a glass for $8.

Featured wineries includes Nicola’s Redmark, Milbrandt Vineyards, Nota Bene Cellars, Sozo, Waterbrook, Chocolate Shop, Silver Lake Winery, Orca Wines, Cranberry Road Winery, Pandora Cellars, Icon Cellars and Scarborough Winery.

For some post- or pre-meal culinary entertainment, check out the stellar lineup for The Bite Cooks! These demos are being staged outdoors this year, on the rooftop of the Fisher Pavilion and will feature a new daily cooking challenge, where chefs create a dish from a mystery basket, among many other demos and a few discussions from seriously respected soms, all emcee’d by that sparkplug, Thierry Rautureau. All for free!

Know what else is free? Some darned fine people watching.

So, what do you say? Will I see you there?