Mar 06, 2007 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
More than 500 munchers, sippers and nibblers tread the faux grass on a converted indoor-soccer field at CNY Family Sports Centre on Jones Road Saturday night.
They were walking in circles, enjoying a cornucopia of cuisines and a bubbly batch of beverages at the eighth annual Taste of Baldwinsville, the major fund-raising event for the multi-purpose Baldwinsville Volunteer Center, 44 Oswego St. in the village.
The center, which serves a wide cross-section of the village’s non-profit causes, hoped to raise nearly $30,000 Saturday and brought in half that by selling out 500 tickets at $30 each. Two event auctions — one silent and one live — also produced a revenue stream as bidders vied for collectibles such as two framed and autographed Jason Grilli photos or a 14-carat sapphire and diamond necklace from Shamrock Jewelers.
Pizza and wings
For most folks, though, the focus was the food. Staffers from 17 local restaurants, pizzerias and delicatessens served a not-very varied assortment of foods. Pizza and wings dominated the menus, but they were slices with spices and wings with zing. In fact, Pizza Man, a village staple since 1983 at 50 Oswego St., won three awards for its delicious pies and superlative chicken wings. The judges’ panel of seven area hair-stylists gave Pizza Man the nod for best pizza and best wings, and the Man also took home a people’s choice award for its cheesy pies made on fresh dough with homemade sauce.
Tasters washed down those spicy sauces with an array of fine beers, ales and malt liquors donated by local macro-brewer Anheuser-Busch, the event’s major sponsor. Besides pizza and wings, there were two other award categories: best in bowl and house specialty.
The judges tapped Tabatha’s Family Tree for both awards.
Patricia Personius, Tabatha Babbitt’s mother, made both soups served at the event, a creamy baked potato soup and a thick-brothed beef barley, with meat so tender it practically melted in your mouth! She also baked Tabatha’s house specialty, a cinnamon-apple crisp.
“There are four generations of us at Tabatha’s,” Personius said proudly.
The family-style restaurant at 3160 Cold Springs Road is open daily from mid-afternoon to 8 p.m. weeknights and 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Rounding out the people’s choice award-winners were the best wings served by Lake Effect sports bar, 7 Syracuse St. The tavern’s garlic-parmesan wings boasted a crunchy skin and a savory taste worthy of winning. Lake Effect owners hope to be serving their prized wings at a new outdoor patio and bar whenever spring rolls around.
Manzene’s Greenside Restaurant gambled on a spicy Louisiana dish in the best bowl category and won over the people’s hearts . . . or at least their stomachs. While the lady judges may have found Manzene’s jambalaya a touch too tingly for their tastes, the people couldn’t get enough of the cayenne-fueled blend of rice, sausage, chicken and shrimp. Maybe the award will prompt proprietors Jeffrey and Elizabeth Manzene to add jambalaya to the menu at the restaurant at 3451 State Route 31.
The full-bodied Mexican coffee poured by Shamballa Caf (c) took people’s choice honors for house specialty. Coffeehouse owners Jean and Emmet Simpson also handed out free samples of store-roasted Brazilian, Kenyan and Javanese coffees. The caf (c) at 34 Oswego St. is a wi-fi hotspot.
More terrific tastes
While not everyone won an award, every one of the 17 servers spiced the Taste of Baldwinsville with variety.
Some other terrific tastes included chicken wraps prepared by Ramona Waldecker of Ramona’s Dressings and spiced with one of her three scrumptious sauces, Country Italian, Vinaigrette and her most unique, Chipolte.
Wegmans’ whole wheat penne pasta with roasted vegetable and garlic oil was good despite being good for you.
Make & Take Gourmet, from 15 E. Genesee St., served a creamy Cajun chicken pasta as well as with an equally toothsome chicken cordon blue.
Lock 24’s two best bowl offerings, a Manhattan clam chowder and a cream-based crab chowder, were perfect dishes for a cold winter night. Owners John and Pamela Sunderhaft enjoyed ladling out the seafood delicacies along with Lock 24 employee Amber Irving.
Canal Walk’s pulled pork
Meat lovers gobbled up the super-tender pulled pork served by Dawn Custer of the Canal Walk Caf (c) & Catering, which opened last July at 23 Syracuse St. on the Erie Canal. The pork’s marvelous moistness, Custer said, comes from slow-baking it, 18 long hours, along with fresh-sliced lemons and limes.
Even if you missed out on the 2007 Taste of Baldwinsville, there’s no need to wait a whole year to bask in gastronomical glory. Visit your favorite B’ville bistros today, and tell ’em The Messenger sent you!