One thing I’ve missed in the last two years I’ve lived here is the Taste of Peoria food festival that happens on the riverfront every summer. The last two years I had to work and I think it closed up at 10PM, which is when I usually get off of work. This year I see it’s open till 11PM, so that means we can squeeze in the last hour because I work within walking distance of where it happens. So come on, let’s go see how much food we can squeeze in, in this last hour of Taste of Peoria! Set your stopwatches and let’s get going!
10:00PM: Okay, I told you I work close by, the Taste of Peoria is just down Water Street here...
10:03PM: Here’s the entrance, time is ticking so let’s get inside and start tasting the foods of Peoria!
10:05PM: Wow, there’s still a lot of people here considering it’s a week night and it's the last hour, nice to see people coming out for this!
10:06PM: I was given this map upon entering, but I think I’ll just wing it...
10:08PM: See what I mean? Oof, sorry about that!
10:12PM: Next stop: Aleece’s Pita Chips booth which is a local business in East Peoria I never knew about. That’s Anthony on the left and the owner of Aleece’s, Alice.
10:18PM: After eating the first two selections I turned around and ran into Clay, the owner of The Country Club on Farmington Road. He led me over to their booth...
10:20PM: And here we are, very nice, but I told them I had no time to visit, I had to eat and run...
10:22: And so I was quickly served up their specialty of the evening, a barbecue egg roll, which sounds interesting!
10:23PM: It’s a deep fried egg roll with smoked pork and house-made chipotle coleslaw inside. It was so good and it won the 2nd place appetizer prize! Congratulations to Clay and the Country Club crew! Now we must keep moving along!
10:25PM: I was hoping to find this booth in my travels, it’s the Emily’s Tattoo Tamale booth! We just discovered this unique tamale eatery and if you missed that post, you can read about it by clicking right here. The three friendly females working the booth are, Sydney, Paula and the owner of Emily’s, Beth!
10:27PM: Love the tamales from Emily’s!
10:32PM: The Peking booth is so cool, look how sparkly it is!
10:34PM: This lovely lady served us up a chicken skewer with a fantastic smile! It was delicious!
10:39PM: And here’s yet another wonderful smile greeting us at the Haddad’s booth! It’s Rita, who owns Haddad’s with her husband, Andy! Always love to see her!
10:41PM: I told Rita the clock was ticking and she quickly served us up two tasty entrees: cabbage rolls and Italian beef. Both were so good and I’m getting pretty filled up at this point, but we still have about a quarter of an hour, so let’s soldier on and keep tasting!
10:43PM: Okay, let me take just a minute to bitch about one thing concerning the Taste of Peoria, I don’t think chain restaurants like Bob Evans should be included. They don’t contribute any kind of unique flavor to this city and they’re not a local Peoria business. I saw several chain restaurants while running around and avoided them all like the plague. I’m not running down The Taste of Peoria, I’m happy they do this every year and it’s a lot of fun, but maybe next year we can leave the chain gang out of it and have a true festival celebrating only local businesses. Okay, that’s the end of this rant and I’ve wasted too much time on it! We must try and squeeze one more tasting in before the hour is over!
10:50PM: It’s getting close to the end and a lot of booths are shutting down, let’s see if Hickory Catering has any food left..
10:51: I approached the truck and Andrea told me they still had rib tips left, so I ordered them up and minutes later, here they are!
10:54PM: I think this is probably the last taste we’re having tonight and it was a great dish to end on! The rib tips were fall of the bone tender and the sauce was spicy and zingy!
10:59PM: They took home the 2nd place dessert award, congratulations on that and it was great to meet both of them!
11:02PM: Okay, the Taste of Peoria is officially over. The booths and tents are all shutting down...
11:04PM: And all that’s left are remnants from a fun evening on the riverfront in downtown Peoria.
11:07PM: On my way out I ran into MBIP pal, Sean Kenny, owner of Kenny’s Westside Pub. He told me they sold out of all their food in the first two hours! Maybe next year I’ll take the night off of work so I can get Kenny’s Westside Pub into the mix! Great to see Sean as always!
11:20PM: Okay, time to hit the road and head back to...
11:37PM: The MBIP World Headquarters where we’ll end the night off with...
11:39PM: A Taste Of MBIP! Cheers and we’ll see you all tomorrow!