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REACH's Taste of the Town set for Sunday

September 29, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • File photo Taste of the Town is a fundraiser for REACH Caregivers, a cold-weather shelter for adults in Hagerstown. Attendees can sample food from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, at Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center (ARCC) at Hagerstown Community College, 11400 Robinwood Drive, east of Hagerstown.
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The see-it-and-eat-it approach might work for some food festivals.

But there may be a better way to maximize each bite at this year's Taste of the Town & Benefit Auction, Sunday, Oct. 3, at Hagerstown Community College.

Taste of the Town is a fundraiser for REACH Caregivers, a cold-weather shelter for adults in Hagerstown. For $40 a person, attendees will have a three-hour window to sample food from 26 vendors at HCC's Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center (ARCC). This year's vendors are offering everything from doughnuts and gas station food to gourmet tapas and artisan chevre, according to a meaty list provided by the organizers.

So many samples. So little time.

We asked local chef Steve Weiss for some tasting tips.

What to consider

As a competitive chef and regular on "Food Network Challenge," Weiss is used to sliding dishes in front of panels of discerning judges. He's also been on the other side. Weiss is the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program Coordinator at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, W.Va. Although for Taste of the Town, Weiss is not one of the chefs involved.

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Weiss said if you're thinking like a food judge, you're considering the food's flavor, texture, appearance and eye appeal.

"If it's supposed to be brown, is it brown?" said Weiss. "And if not, why isn't it?"

To be clear, there are no score cards, no official judging of who's got the better what at Taste of the Town. This is a social food festival in which the hope is to fill in budget gaps or at least match the $34,000 raised last year, said executive director Jodie Stock. The shelter has accommodated nearly three times more people than prior years despite having to cut its budget by 16 percent, Stock said.

"We're really hoping to make up for some of that loss," Stock said.

The point is to keep it fun - even if you're thinking like a food judge.

Which is the better palate cleanser?

To reset your taste buds, try chewing on coffee beans or mint leaves, even nibble some of the parsley leaves you may find on your plate.

"They just usually throw them out, but it's a really good palate cleanser," Weiss said.

Ideally, you'll want to go with something that's acidic and won't leave an aftertaste, a reason Weiss said lemon water might work better than coffee or mint, which may be too strong. When in doubt, find something citrus. Almost everything goes with lemon after tones, Weiss said.

"You don't want something that's going to deter the flavor process," Weiss said. You could be tasting something that shouldn't have mint in it, and all of a sudden everything tastes like mint."

Weiss also recommended a swish of lemon water. "You don't have to drink it," Weiss said. "I would just swish it around in your mouth and spit it out."




If you go ...



WHAT: Taste of the Town & Benefit Auction, fundraiser for REACH Caregivers cold-weather shelter in Hagerstown.

WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3

WHERE: Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center (ARCC) at Hagerstown Community College, 11400 Robinwood Drive, east of Hagerstown.

COST: $40 per person. Call 301-733-2371.

MORE: To learn more about REACH, go to http://www.reachcaregivers.org .




Participating restaurants



Applause Caterers

Barefoot Bernie's

Bombay Peacock Palace

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar

Bulls & Bears Restaurant

Caf Italia Restaurant & Pizzeria

Edible Arrangements

Firehouse Grill

Gumbo-Elois Catering

Hard Times Caf & Cue

Holsinger's Meats & Deli

Krumpe's Do-Nut Shop

La Tolteca

Leiters' Fine Catering

LJ's & The Kat Lounge

Maugansville Creamery

Moe's Southwest Grill

Port City Java

Pure Bliss & The Sandwich Co.

Schula's Grill & Crab House

Sheetz Made-to-Order

Spriggs Delight Farm

Tastefully Simple

TGI Friday's

The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille

The Meadows Original Frozen Custard

Virginia Barbecue

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