Headed to Taste? Here are 9 must-eats

Headed to Taste? Here are 9 must-eats
Posted at 5:15 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 17:15:40-04

It's Taste of Cincinnati time again, and this year there are even more options than usual.

As always, restaurants from around the city will offer their best dishes, and some high-end restaurants will have limited-run offerings. For this edition, local caterers will show off their talents, too, on Monday in three-hour increments.

RELATED: Download WCPO's guide to Taste

There are so many choices that picking only nine is a challenge. As always, I'm looking for things that are a little more difficult to get -- there are no chains in this list.

Expand your horizons! Here's what I'll be trying at Taste of Cincinnati this year.


Kate's Catering and Personal Chef Services: Pork Belly and Blue Cheese Gougeres

Gougeres are a combination of pastry dough and cheese that puff up into airy bites. Combine crisp, cheesy pastry and savory pork belly? I want to start every meal with these.

Urban Vistro: Porkopolis Sweet and Sassy BBQ Rinds

What is more Cincinnati than pork? Throw in a nod to the classic local chipmaker Husman's flavor, and you have a winning, munchable, crunchable combo that is great for walking around Taste.

Alfio's Buon Cibo: Buffalo Chicken Empanada

Served at Alfio's sister restaurant, Che, these Buffalo Chicken Empanadas are great. It's a taste of Argentina with an American flair, spicy with a cool kick of homemade blue cheese.


Forno Osteria: Pork Milanesa Panino

Featured on Forno's brunch menu, this breaded pork cutlet with arugula, tomato and lemon-caper mayonnaise on Blue Oven "Bad Boy" bread sounds like more than a bite -- it's something good to share with friends.

Jeff Thomas Catering: Colorado Lamb Spare Ribs with Honey Chipotle Apple Coleslaw

Lamb spare ribs? Yes, please. Jeff Thomas Catering always has unique offerings. (If you've been to any food-related events in town, you've likely had his food.) Spare ribs are a perfect dish for Taste: You can walk around with them, and it's a nice-sized portion. Sweet-spicy coleslaw is a fine accompaniment to rich lamb ribs.

Empanadas Aqui: The Hairy Arepa

An arepa is a flat, thick pancake made out of masa, which is similar to cornmeal. These pancakes are fried to a golden brown and topped with all matter of things -- in this case, carne mechado (simmered steak with seasonings, onions, peppers and leeks) and gouda cheese. They're a little messy but classic street food.


Bella Luna: Blueberry Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

This Best of Taste award-winner is one for a reason. Imagine a generous portion of soft, custardy bread pudding studded with chocolate chips and blueberries and a rich caramel-y sauce. Save room for this one.

The Jaded Fork: Buckeye Brownie

The Jaded Fork is a fixture at farmers markets around the city and also has a catering service. Try the rich, chocolate-and-peanut-butter take on a brownie. This is the kind of item I'd wrap up in a napkin and save for later. (But if you need immediate gratification, I'll understand.)

streetpops: Thai Basil Lime pop 

I'm hoping that Memorial Day weekend will be hot, considering the cool weather we've had lately. If it is, you will want a streetpop, and the Thai Basil Lime is like a margarita in popsicle form. It's a great complement to the delicious Asian fare at Taste of Cincinnati!

Bonus: Taste Experience

Though each restaurant is featured only for a limited amount of time, you have some prime opportunities to taste some of Cincinnati's best. Try some Firey Lionhead Meatballs from Huit, a Samosa burrito from Melt in Northside or any of Jenny's Homemade Cookies.