Somehow, I actually hadn't attended this annual gathering of the 02134 in many years. Last time I went, it was held in Artesani Park, and appeared to be nothing more than a mishmash of tables and people. This year's meeting of Allston's eateries took place at a courtyard adjacent to Harvard Stadium, a far more convenient setting for the event.
The White Horse Tavern (full disclosure: I work there) offered deviled eggs, prepared by chef Matt Bailey. These reminded me of Thanksgiving growing up, when my dad would wolf them down and then pass gas at the dinner table. I don't myself care for the consistency of yolks when deviled, but I tried one anyway, and was able to surmise that an egg lover would enjoy them.
Upon suggestion from a White Horse colleague, I next sampled Garlic and Lemons, a Mediterranean eatery on Harvard Avenue. They offered a combination plate of couscous, rice, a Greek salad (green peppers, tomatoes, and feta cheese), and spicy chicken in a small pita. The sample was hearty, and was followed nicely with a sweet tabouli.
The $20 admission included beer and liquor, the former courtesy of Sunset Grill. Ommegang Brewery of Cooperstown, NY made a case for first-ballot candidacy with Witte Belgian-Style wheat ale. I've acquired a taste for Hoegaarden and for Allagash, but somehow, those two have lost a lot of their initial novelty to me. The Ommegang Witte had a sweet pleasant taste, one I haven't enjoyed in a Belgian since I tried Boston Beer Works' elusive offering.
Chicken Bon Chon (which recently returned to Brighton Avenue after the closure of Privus, which previously housed the franchise) was represented as well. They offered a bland chicken wing, as well as a spicy one. The lady working the table told me that the spicy aftertaste would linger...she wasn't kidding. It took not only a bottle of water, but also a dessert bar from Blue State Coffee of Commonwealth Avenue to chase the zest. The chicken was not the once-in-a-lifetime culinary treat that it's been touted as, but Bon Chon is a good play if you seek a chicken wing that lingers on your palate.
Tavern in the Square made a solid debut at their first ToA, offering risotto fritters with tomato sauce and white truffle mac and cheese. Getting full, I didn't sample the latter, but the former was serviceable, but certainly nothing that will make people forget arancini from any North End eatery.
The neighborhood may be much maligned for its petty crime and its lack of cleanliness, but for three hours yesterday, Allston's denizens came together for a great community event that highlighted the diversity of great places to eat. It's great to enjoy a food festival in Boston that doesn't have the Phantom Gourmet's corporate fingerprints all over it.
"and yes, an autistic kid is right." - MCA
"I didn't threaten your sister. It would be the time of her life. fucking unicorns would come out of the sky and start singing and shit." - B Luc to Basket