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Posted on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Foodies sample flavors during Taste of Ann Arbor 2013

By Daniel Brenner

This story has been updated with the list of winners.

Churros, curried goat, skewers of swordfish, carrot cake, hot dogs and much more were available downtown during Taste of Ann Arbor on Sunday.

Nearly 45 local restaurants occupied Main and Liberty streets and supplied a wide-variety of food selections. Tickets were sold for 50 cents and most food items cost three to eight tickets. Along with tasty treats, a handful of bands performed on a stage in the middle of downtown as well. "It's culture at its finest," said Matt Altruda host of Tree Town Sound. "Pulling everyone together to enjoy what they love."

Bands started playing at 11 a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. Many of the groups were not local but all are from Michigan.

"I looked at the opportunity to bring in the hottest bands in Michigan and give Ann Arbor a taste," Altruda says. "They crushed it."

A panel of Taste of Ann Arbor judges, including Mayor John Hieftje, Downtown Development Authority director Susan Pollay and food writer Jessica Webster roamed Main Street awarded accolades to some of the restaurants in a variety of categories.

Best dessert: the panna cotta with rhubarb sorbet and caramel mousse with pea tendrils at Vellum.

Best appetizer: Ecuadorian Humitas (fresh corn cakes with lemongrass-tomato stew) from Lena.

Best entree: fish tacos from The Black Pearl.

The People's Choice Award: Frita Batidos

Best of Show: Arbor Brewing Company photographer Daniel Brenner was there to capture these images.


Jessica Webster

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

I've updated the entry to include the list of winners for this year's Taste of Ann Arbor. What a fun event! As a judge, I had the enviable task of tasting food from each of the vendors. What a treat! Ann Arbor has some great food. Aside from the winners listed, I was really impressed with the beef brisket sandwich from The Carlyle Grill (tender, flavorful meat, a perfectly toasted bun), the carrot and tahini wrap from Arbor Brewing, everything I tasted from Blue Nile, and the portobello burger with smoked mozzarella from Gratzi. Oh - and those swordfish skewers from Real Seafood were incredible.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

The Carlyle's ribs were delicious. Frita Batidos is definitely deserving of the People's Choice award too.

John Hritz

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

Nice job on the photos Daniel!!


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Two photos of "Outer Vibe bassist" show him playing a 6-strung guitar, not a bass.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Ditto. My comment exactly.

John Hritz

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

The winner for bang for the buck (or ticket) is Cupcake Station. Two tickets got you a mini cupcake of your choice. Following close behind was Firehouse Subs with three tickets for a sub sandwich sample. Several vendors were offering bbq pork and beef sandwiches which ranged in size from sliders to full-size sandwiches. In keeping with the theme (Taste of Ann Arbor), portion sizes ought to be set a little smaller. We had a lot of new faces at Taste of Ann Arbor this year. Looking forward to the next one.

John Hritz

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

The bang for the buck category was just my personal opinion, but might be a good addition for the judges...


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

I found the pricing to be extremely fair. My girlfriend and I ended up spending $30 in tickets and by the end of the day were extremely full! To think about how much food we had not be able to put one more bite in our bellies for just $30 is a great deal.. and no gratuity!!

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

This is a really cool event. It's nice to be able to try food from restaurants I haven't been to. The line for fish tacos at Black Pearl was crazy long the whole time!


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:49 a.m.

Black Pearl always has a massive line for the fish tacos. Well, I guess every year they've done it.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

Fortunately all of the longer lines I was in still managed to move pretty speedily. The vendors are to be commended for that, and of course the delicious fare.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

Good to see Outer Vibe there today. I wish they'd deal with some of the food lines blocking the walkways though. This is the second year I've been to Taste of A2, and it's always a chore shuffling through clogged-up Main St so I can drop $4 on a tiny slider. Food was good, but prices seem to always be extra Ann-Arbory during this event. It's my assumption that it's supposed to be a way to sample the variety of foods A2 offers, but the prices sometimes mean you get 2 or 3 things unless you want to drop some serious change.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Agreed! We were talking about how it should be mandatory that every participating restaurant has ONE 1-ticket item. Then they can charge whatever they want for their other items. But it seems silly to see food for the same price it always is. I want to taste something, not debate for five minutes if I should spend $4 on two bites, then stand in line for ten minutes to do it. We appreciated, last year, that Melange truly took the taste spirit to heart, and offered 1-ticket tastes. This year we didn't see Melange out there at all, but Kuroshio really stepped up with two 1-ticket tastes and two 3-ticket tastes.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

I agree. The portion sizes - and ticket prices - seem to keep getting larger each year. There were many items for 6-8 tickets. One beer cost 10 tickets. I'd like to see the portion sizes and prices reflect a true "taste" so I can try more food from the different restaurants. This should be a marketing opportunity for our community.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

That was partially hyperbole, I admit, but yes, there were things there for 8 tickets. Luckily the 8 ticket item I got was worth it.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : midnight

Maybe you weren't really there. I saw nothing for 8 tickets ($4). We had 4 ticket Thai, 4 ticket Indian, 2 ticket water, 3 ticket dessert, and a pork sandwich, bigger than the little slider, for 6 tickets. Your first point is a good one with unstructured lines clogging the middle.