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Taste of Iowa City

BY BEN VERHILLE | AUGUST 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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Forty restaurants, two hours, one name — the Taste of Iowa City.

This adventure into the culinary scene of my favorite college town held a variety of venues and cuisine, one that would imply there are more locations than just the after-bars options for good food in Iowa City.

From Aspen Leaf to Z’Maricks, the turnout this year was one that impressed even snooty food critics like me. Even Eggstravaganza, one of the food carts on the Pedestrian Mall, participated.

Why is this event hosted? Some of you unappreciative and non-food lovers may ask.

The Taste of Chicago is a very large outdoor food festival that showcases restaurants of all kinds. Renowned for its success and popularity, there is only one place I know that offers better food.

And you go to school there.

Despite the temperature, I still found a way to go out and sample the majority of the locations participating. Luckily for you, most of the pictures can be found on our Twitter page. If you missed the event, definitely check those out.

That being said, let me just highlight a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

Up north on Linn Street, there was a remote section of restaurants that I normally prefer to go to on a fancy night.

Devotay offered some delicious turkey and pastrami sandwiches on pretzel rolls, a lunch-menu feature maybe?

Right across the street, an old favorite of mine, Motley Cow, featured grilled flank steak with salsa verde, a delicious and light summer evening meal.

But the winner of Beaver’s plate on this section had to go to Linn Street Café for its New York Strip sandwich. The open-faced, tender cuts of meat made me think about calling it in early.

But that’s not me, and you know it. If there’s food, I have to try it.

For the foreign-food realm, Takanami impressed me with its new teppanyaki  plates with chicken and shrimp. It was pretty impressive to include its entire sushi lineup along with its new items.

El Banditos came and brought some of its hot tamales, muy delicioso.

I can’t decide on my favorite though, I’m stuck between Basta’s margherita pizza and Formosa’s Iowa City rolls.

The dessert options are good enough that the dinner beforehand is unnecessary.

Date or otherwise … My first stop was at Molly’s Cupcakes, a place that makes me feel at home. All these cupcakes just looked too good, but the cookies and cream were probably the best.

Yotopia was showcasing some of its new flavors, and I’ve not met an individual who would turn down FroYo.

The standout for me on the dessert section had to be Eden Lounge. Two words to persuade you, chocolate decadence.

The restaurants and bars had an impressive showing too, Donnelly’s Reuben and sweet potato fries stand out to every red head, and I’m not excluded this time.

Quinton’s jalapeño poppers left a bite in my mouth, stronger than I expected.

And Summit boasted an impressive spinach artichoke dip, a favorite of my mothers.

Now I miss home, but that may just be the food coma talking.

Look for these restaurants in the coming weeks, I feel that they deserve more than just a couple sentences, but that’s all I had to work with this week.

If you didn’t make it, better make sure you can next year. The food scene in Iowa City is only getting better.

Check out all the food from this year's Taste of Iowa City by following @DailyIowanArts.


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