The 35th annual Taste of Bloomington music and food festival will run from 3:00 – 11:00 p.m., Saturday, June 17 at Showers Common. Make sure to do it right with Weekend’s guide.
Food not to miss:
Amrit India - The only restaurant in town specializing in authentic North Indian cuisine. The restaurant’s must-try dish is Kadai Paneer, which is basically blocks of Indian cottage cheese made in spicy curry with vegetables. Utterly scrumptious.
Smokin Jack’s Rib Shack - With more than 25 years of experience in southern barbecue, Smokin Jack’s serves what might be the best pulled pork sandwich in Bloomington. And like any quality rib joint, the sides are just as good; make sure to try whatever they bring along for the Taste crowd.
The Big Cheeze - A righteous institution of Bloomington’s food truck scene, The Big Cheeze made its grand opening at Taste of Bloomington five years ago. It’s since set up residence on Kirkwood, where it’s found success serving late night grilled cheese sandwiches to bar crawlers too discerning in taste — or too drunk — to walk to Taco Bell. Be sure to sample its standard sandwich and, if it’s available, the macaroni and cheese-infused Mac Daddy.
FARMbloomington - Known for its locally grown, farm fresh ingredients, FARM serves everything from artisan pizzas to bison steaks. The menu rotates depending on the season, but no matter what time of year it is, expect top notch quality. Be sure to try their garlic fries if you want some deliciously intense flavor. Looking for something more exotic? FARM also serves unusual dishes like poutine.
Baked! - Bloomington’s dedicated cookie shop, Baked lets you customize your cookies however you like, letting you choose from multiple types of dough as well as mix-ins like M&Ms, nuts and cinnamon sugar. But if you want simple chocolate chip, that’s fine, too. And if Baked makes a good impression on you at Taste, their biggest perk is late night delivery, making it a perfect midnight snack whether you’re with friends or alone — no shame.
Janko’s Little Zagreb - Established in 1973, Little Zagreb has amassed an impressive reputation as one of Bloomington’s finest steakhouses. But with steaks and seafood that frequently cross the $20-per-dish threshold, Little Zagreb can deal some damage to college students’ meager budgets. With Taste of Bloomington’s modestly priced, small-portioned plates, Little Zagreb’s famous steaks can finally be enjoyed by all.
The music: Taste of Bloomington isn’t just a mecca for foodies. With three performance stages — one of which is dedicated entirely to jazz — it’s a great place to see live music. Headliners include singer-songwriter Jake Dodds, jazz quartet the Tom Walsh Power Trio + 1 and ‘90s cover band Saved by the ‘90s.
Admission: Pay $8 at the gate or $7 in advance. Advance tickets can be purchased at the BCT Box Office or on its website.
Parking: Metered parking can be found almost anywhere downtown. Parking garages are located at 7th and Morton — this one’s the closest to Showers Common — 7th and Walnut and 4th and Walnut.