Tasting the Northside

Taste of the Northside 2016 – Event Review
By Meredith Kay

For some of us, Fiesta is an exciting time of year. We pull out our colorful clothes, and mark our calendars with the events that we want to attend. Fiesta in San Antonio is synonymous with spring time, and the spirit of revelry can be felt all over town.

For others, however, Fiesta signals a ten day, self-imposed house arrest. The anti-Fiesta crowd steers clear of downtown. You won’t catch them donning a signature flower wreath halo, and neither will you find them sporting a pageant sash sagging under the weight of Fiesta medals.

April is a month of celebration in the Alamo City. It is full of festivals and river parades, as well as cascarones and anticuchos, but whichever side of the sword drawn line you take, there is no argument that Fiesta is a beloved tradition here in San Antonio, and for most, it’s all about the food.

For those with a predisposition toward mollusks and stifling crowds, there is Oyster Bake. For the Cajun food lovers, A Taste of New Orleans is a must on the Fiesta calendar. If you are looking for street food from around the world, mixed in with some toe stomping and beer spilling, then NIOSA is the place for you, but if you are looking for an event that embodies the spirit of Fiesta and focuses on the gourmet side of the palate, then the quintessential Fiesta event is Taste of the Northside.

What started as a cozy, Stone Oak area gathering of foodies at Canyon Springs Golf Club, has morphed into a gigantic event that literally takes over the grounds at The Club at Sonterra. This year marked the 17th Taste of the Northside, and was attended by over 6,000 hungry and thirsty festival lovers. The event was another astounding success for the organizers at Outside the Box Events, and raised over $575,000 for the Brighton Center, a local organization which ” provides family and community education and developmental services to children with disabilities or delays, empowering them to achieve their individual potential, making them successful in every community.”

The event began on the shuttle ride from the VIP lot, as it does each year. The excitement was palpable as everyone boarded the bus with their colorful attire and gaudy hats and Fiesta medal displays. Arriving at the venue is a bit overwhelming. There are cattle guard style barriers leading to the entrance of the event, and guests are shuffled through the appropriate line, based on the type of ticket purchased. It may look confusing, but it is very well planned and organized, as the lime green shirted volunteers usher you through. It’s as if they know how badly you need to get your lips on that first drink to start the night.

Once inside, we headed straight for the large ballroom and made a beeline to the Avion Tequila table, where a couple of gorgeous ladies were pouring a simple, yet delicious, Watermelon Rita, with Avion Silver Tequila and fresh watermelon juice, with just a splash of lime. Next door, my friend Joanne convinced me to also sample the Malibu Rum Fiesta Colada. Both cocktails were very refreshing, and just the primer we needed to tackle the abundant, and often decadent, food found throughout the event. A Taste of the Northside has become the premiere “foodie” event of Fiesta, and we were eager to see which chefs were ready to wow us with their culinary creations this year.

Right away we spotted Chef Heather Nañez, executive chef at Bohanan’s, offering a tasty pickled shrimp and representing the newest restaurant from Mark Bohanan. Peggy’s on the Green will open this summer at The Kendall Inn, right in the heart of downtown Boerne. Named after Mark’s late mother, Peggy’s will embody everything that is wonderful about Southern cooking, in a laid back atmosphere, reminiscent of lazy Sunday plantation dinners. It will definitely be on my summer bucket list, and there are many people anticipating its opening.

To read the rest of this story and others not featured here on the website pick up a copy of San Antonio Scene Magazines March 2016 issue today at the TWIG bookstore in the Pearl, or at Club Humidor at Heubner and I-10 in San Antonio.

To order a copy by mail contact us at: editor@scenepulblications.com