We had a ton of fun and food at the 5th Annual Taste of Loveland, held on April 22 at Embassy Suites. This year’s theme was Foothills Wine & Food Experience, but it could have been called the Foothills Wine, Beer & Food Experience.
Not only did 30 area restaurants attend, so did 34 wine distributors, as well as a large number of local breweries and national beer distributors.
It’s hard to pick favorites at an event such as this, but of course, I had a few. When we first arrived we were overwhelmed by the vast array of choices, and Ryan decided to start in the middle of the room. So we started the night with an elegant and beautifully plated dessert from Chimney Park Restaurant and Bar. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, but it was scrumptious.
One of my favorite foods of the night was the fish taco from Island Grill. The secret of this fish taco is the homemade wasabi dressing. If you haven’t been to Island Grill’s new Loveland location, you should definitely give them a try. They are currently running specials on TodaysDiningDeals.
In addition to dessert, Ryan loves beer and this event was a beer-lovers dream. From Odell’s to Stella, there was a beer for every person’s taste and Ryan tasted them all. He liked Odell’s Brewing Co. the best because they were serving the biggest pours and they were giving away really cool 90 Shilling key chains.
The guys at Fort Collins Brewery were the most informative, explaining each beer, as well as advertising their new location. The three biggest Fort Collins’ micro-breweries (Odell’s, New Belgium and Fort Collins Brewery) will now be within stumbling distance of one another. Fort Collins Brewery’s new location will also include a brew pub, set to open in June.
Perhaps ironically, with so many expensive wines represented at the event, my favorite wine was a $7 zin from Barefoot. We picked up SWAG everywhere we went; items included coupons, key chains, stickers and magnets.
My award for the most beautiful table arrangement of the night went to King Soopers. The ladies from the King Sooper’s store on the northwest corner of 402 and Taft in Loveland, really out did themselves. Plus they had tons of olives, always a good way to bribe the Mayor into a good review.
We tasted and drank and tasted and drank and eventually made our way back to the dessert tables, where we indulged in my favorite desert of the night from The Melting Pot – a mini brownie, a strawberry and a mini rice crispy treat drizzled in chocolate – sometimes I’m very easy to please.
The night ended with a live auction. The most desired auction item was a wagon full of wine. It went for $500. That, however, was not the highest bid of the night. A New Belgium cruiser bike, with a retail sticker of $300, went for a whopping $1,000 dollars.
The Taste of Loveland is the annual fundraiser for Foothill’s Gateway, Inc. and Namaqua Center. The Foothill Service League is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and exists to aid and assist in the improvement of the quality of life of the cognitively disabled individuals and abused children in Larimer County.
Make sure you keep an eye on HeidiTown for details of the 6th Annual Taste of Loveland coming in 2011.