Taste Arlington at the Taste of Arlington

18 May
May 18, 2011

Northern Arlington is one of Washington, D.C.’s most rapidly developing areas. It seems that every day a new restaurant or store is being built.

The fast-paced growth means that it’s very hard to visit everything Arlington has to offer. Luckily for residents and neighbors alike, one day a year, you can find almost every shop in one location.

This Sunday, May 22, the Ballston Partnership, among other neighborhood groups, hosts the annual Taste of Arlington. What exactly is Taste of Arlington? It’s a street festival celebrating every great eatery Arlington has to offer.

Each year, Taste of Arlington sets up near Ballston Mall, closing down Wilson Boulevard, from the intersection of Glebe Road down to Quincy Street, letting pedestrians take over the roadway. The event goes on, rain or shine, from noon until five.

What started off as a relatively small festival is now quite large. The Taste was originally hosted by the Ballston Partnership and in recent years, the event has added sponsors from across the area. This year’s festival is co-hosted by the Clarendon Alliance, Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, Rosslyn Renaissance and Crystal City BID.

On Sunday, almost every neighborhood will be represented, with 40 of the county’s best restaurants whipping up their favorite bites.

Participation in the festival is easy. All you have to do is walk down to Wilson and look for the crowds. For those driving, parking is available at Ballston Mall.

The festival is free to visit, but to snack and sample on the many wares, tickets need to be purchased. Books of eight tickets can be bought online for $20 and are being sold up to the day of the event. If you want to wait to buy them in person, the price jumps up a bit, to $25 a book.

Tickets can be used to purchase goods from the restaurants, with most plates typically costing two tickets.

Whether you buy them in advance or on site, your ticket charge will be donated to charity. This year, the Virginia Hospital Center, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic and the Arlington Community Foundation will all benefit from your ticket purchase.

So what will your tickets get you?

Great food. At Taste of Arlington, every restaurant puts their best plates forward.

Last year, the Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo, in Crystal City, showed up with a six-foot wide iron pot. In it, they made a massive serving of paella, the Spanish rice dish with fresh seafood and meat.

Lebanese Taverna, in Lyon Village, brought numerous Mediterranean dips, from hummus to tabouleh  and baba ganoush.

New restaurants to the dining scene will be there as well. Bayou Bakery, in Courthouse, will likely be offering their signature beignets and Rustico will be bringing treats from their wood-fired oven.

Throughout the day, five local musical acts will be performing.  Among them are the Constituents, who play a blend of acoustic Caribbean rock and the Resistance, an indie rock band.

The forecast this Sunday is calling for perfect weather, so instead of spending it at one restaurant or inside, experience 40 of Arlington’s finest under the clear blue skies.

- David

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