2017 Taste of the Beach Best Yet

A great time and lots to try at the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown. At the Roosters booth.
A great time and lots to try at the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown. At the Roosters booth.

Now that was a Taste of the Beach to remember…perfect weather, great food, fun crowds. As the 2017 Outer Banks Taste of the Beach goes into our memory banks, we can look back on it as an example of what happens when things go right.

What Went Right

There’s no doubt that the weather helped this year, but that wasn’t the only reason things went as well as they did.

Sometimes things just seem to fall into place and there’s no clear reason why. 2017 seemed like one of those years.

As writers we tend to focus on the big events—The Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown, the Chowder Cook-off or the Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash that wraps things up on Sunday.

The Events
The Chowder Cook-off winner, Stripers.
The Chowder Cook-off winner, Stripers.

In many ways, that’s out of necessity. There are so many great events happening during the Outer Banks Taste of the Week that reporting on all of them—or even a small percent of them—just isn’t possible.

The folks at Sanctuary Vineyards at the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg always have some great events and this year they added a wine pairing at their new restaurant Thyme & Tide Cafe.

Trio in Kitty Hawk is always a blast with their wine and beer pairings; Wes Stepp at Red Sky had a session talking about his Tastefully Fit. The list goes on and on, but from a writer’s standpoint the best way to give a real feel for what the event is like, is to go to the majors events where 15 or 18 chefs are on hand.

We already talked about the  Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown—amazing pork, ribs and wings. We know we ate too much but that was just a warmup for the Chowder Cook-off at Southern Shores Crossing.

A record crowd was on hand and a record number of restaurants. Big kudos to the Taste of the Beach staff for having it so well organized.

The big winner was Stripers with their Corn and Clam Chowder that was the Judge’s and People’s Choice winner. It was excellent, but there were some other ones there that were a very close second.

At the Coastal Cravings table. Coastal Cravings won the Judge's Choice for their Rockfish Ceviche Taco.
At the Coastal Cravings table. Coastal Cravings won the Judge’s Choice for their Rockfish Ceviche Taco.

The Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash at Port O’ Call has become a great way to wrap things up. The chefs pull out all of the stops on their creations, the champagne cocktails are innovative and delicious. What is particularly nice is the organizers made the decisions to divide the day into two sessions. In the past, with one session, at times there wasn’t enough room to move your hand to your mouth to taste the food.

The Grand Tasting is a lot of food to eat—but at least it’s uniformly excellent.

The Judge’s and People’s Choice really seemed to be spot on. The Ceviche rockfish tacos that the Judges liked was perfectly balanced between the mildness of fresh local rockfish and the tartness of the citrus for the ceviche.

The People’s Choice was the Jolly Roger crab cake. Someone commented earlier in the day that it would be nice to have a basic good old fashioned dish. That’s what the crab cakes were.

By all means, look for the Outer Banks 2018 Taste of the Beach next year. It’s four days well spent and the extra time on the exercise bike is worth every moment.

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