Gwen Fowler



Taste of the Town showcased Grand Strand dishes

Posted 11/8/2010 7:58:00 AM
Myrtle Beach area residents have long turned out for Taste of the Town to sample foods from restaurants along the Grand Strand and to see their friends.

It is one of the most popular social events of the year, and it comes at a time of the year when area residents are ready to celebrate another successful summer and take life a little slower for a few months.

This year, 54 restaurants served more than 8,200 hungry visitors in a packed Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Those attending buy tickets for $1 each that they can trade in at restaurant booths for samples. Most of the samples cost two to four tickets.

We started by sampling chateaubriand from Sea Blue in North Myrtle Beach. It was tender, delicious and a great sample for two to share.

In front of the Fiesta Mexicana booth, we watched dancers in colorful costumes show off a few steps in the crowd.

We sampled delicious steamed dumplings and a pineapple, shrimp and rice dish at the Blue Elephant Thai Cuisine booth. Dr. Paul Byington, executive chef and owner of the Murrells Inlet restaurant, was there greeting customers and answering questions for those who weren’t familiar with Thai food.

One restaurant that won’t even open until February participated. Lulu’s Café, which will open at 1903 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, was serving a Lowcountry eggroll made of collard greens and country ham and served on a black-eyed pea salad. That’s my kind of food, and it was really tasty.

Divine Dining Group, which owns six restaurants at 15 locations along the Grand Strand, usually makes a big splash at Taste, and this year was no exception. The area for its restaurants was surrounded by curtains, which gave the effect of being in a private tent.

Sea Captain’s House Restaurant is one of Myrtle Beach’s oldest and most popular restaurants and also is a frequent award winner at Taste. This year was no exception. I sampled the banana cream pie, which was named first-place winner among the desserts. It was fluffy and creamy with a nutty crust.

Awards are given for the dishes by a panel of judges, and people attending also get to vote for their favorites. Awards also are given for best-decorated booths. Here are the restaurants that won awards for their food:

Judged best entrée: Loki-Loki Tuna Poke from Tommy Bahama's, first place; 12-Hour Short Ribs from Bovine's, second; and No Name Roll from King Kong Sushi Bar & Grill, third.

Judged best dessert: Banana Cream Pie from The Sea Captain's House, first place; Bananas Foster from Liberty Tap Room & Grill, second; and mocha espresso pot de crème from Sea Blue, third.

People’s choice (ages 13 and older) awards: churrasco plate from Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse, favorite entrée; and Boston custard cream cupcakes from Cakes by the Sea.

Kids choice awards: negamake from Nakato Japanese Steakhouse, favorite entrée; and dark chocolate ganache truffle cake from Canipe’s Chocolate, favorite dessert.

This was the 27th year for Taste of the Town, which raises funds for St. Andrew Catholic School.