Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bites on Bryant Street

I just got back from an interesting little side jaunt at the end of my workday.  A small outdoor street party was put together called Bites on Bryant Street in Highland Park.  The time for the event was a Thursday afternoon from 3 to 6 pm, so apparently the audience that the organizers were targeting was:
The Homeless
Senior Citizens
The Unemployed

I got there at 5 pm on a gorgeous Indian summer October, with the sun shining and the temperature in the high 70's.  The organizers could not have been happier with the weather.  The event was meant to highlight the restaurants and businesses along this stretch of Bryant Street, including Park Brugge, E2, Joseph Tambellini's, The Smiling Banana Leaf, Park Place Pub, and a few other restaurants that I can't remember.

The turnout was sparse, so it was tough to "melt into the crowd" like I prefer to do.  Each business participating had balloons out front and you would go in to see a tray of small samples awaiting you.  I tried to linger for a few moments before jumping on the samples like covering a live grenade in 'Nam, as it must be rude to the owners to come in, eat, and immediately leave.  Mostly I either picked up or asked for a takeout menu.

Some of the places didn't have samples, because they either ran out by 5 (the excellent Park Brugge) or didn't have any that I could see (E2, where a post-industrialist hipster was chatting up a local).  The food that I did sample was excellent.  When you walked into Joseph Tambellini's, there was a huge tray of eggplant parm and pasta just sitting there.  It was almost like a trap, as the other places had small bites, but I was assured it was OK, so I plowed a generous portion.

At The Smiling Banana Leaf, I sample a few of their dumplings which were outstanding.  The lady offered me some Pad Thai (which I should have taken), but I was ready to roll on.  At my next stop, at a bakery that I think was called Food Delicious Food, I had some fantastic raspberry torte bites.  I bought two regular sized tortes for DB~ and I to share later on, as well as a small decorative pumpkin for her that matches two others she already has and likes.  So I contributed to the local economy.

As I was walking up Bryant, I saw this Historical Society sign for a jazz musician that I had never heard of before.  Sadly, as I'm typing this and getting ready to download it from my phone, I see that it is blurry beyond recognition.  Bah.  It was marking his childhood home.  This gentleman's spirit lived on in the vacant lot down the street as an impromptu jazz band formed (guitar, trombone, bongos?) and gave a soundtrack for the event.

The Squiggle would have liked it, but she couldn't get there in time for it with her commute, so it was a solo trip.  We'll be back though, as we love Park Brugge and I've been trying to get her to try the Leaf for a while now.

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