By Peggy Taylor
“Bring your appetite and enjoy!” That was the order given by the nonprofit Columbus Avenue BID to Upper West Siders last weekend as it hosted its 14th annual, two-day fundraiser, Taste of the Upper West Side. I, who had missed its first 13, wholeheartedly complied and on Friday, under a clear autumnal sky, joined hundreds of other Upper West Siders at the William O’Shea public school campus at 77th and Columbus for a delightful, delicious, fun-filled, festive good time.
For two hours, I got out of my culinary rut (always returning to the same restaurants) and sampled the cornucopia of cuisines offered by the 60 plus (over the two nights) vendors. They regaled me with their signature tacos, burritos, mezes, pizzas, ribs, grits, sliders, sandwiches, cookies, and tarts, plus all the crafted beers and exotic cocktails I could imbibe. So many different flavors, appealing both to the palate and the eye.
I wasn’t alone in my delight.
Maurine Klimt, a vegan and neighbor, surrounded by much chicken, fish, beef, and pork, was delightfully surprised to see “lines queuing up for the plant-based dipping bites. I was also pleased to find so many vendors who made adjustments for my vegan preferences,” she said.
Upper West Siders Jackie Rushworth and Jesse Rushworth attended for the fourth time. “I like the diversity of the restaurants and the fact that the event has such a local feel,” she said. She wondered whether or not the event would be maintained in the fall or return to its pre-COVID schedule in the spring. Jesse liked the fact the “they don’t skimp; the portions are really good; it’s really a good vibe.”