16th Annual Taste of Eastie is Set for Jan. 19

As in years past Spinelli’s carving station is sure to be a big hit at this year’s annual Taste of Eastie on Thursday, January 19 at the Logan Hilton.

Despite many of us making a New Year’s resolution to drop some weight, an upcoming East Boston tradition may be putting those post-holiday diets on hold.

On Thursday, January 19 at the Logan Hilton, East Boston Main Streets will host its 16th Annual Taste of Eastie will kick off from 6 to 9 p.m.

This year’s culinary extravaganza will include music, auctions, raffles, and, of course, lots and lots of food.

“Entertainment will be provided by DJ John Dudley,” said Main Streets Director Clark Moulaison.  “Food and fun will highlight this wonderful evening that will include raffles and auctions. Over twenty-five local restaurants will showcase their delicious cuisine from South and Central American favorites to Mediterranean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian and American.”

Last year’s Taste was nearly canceled due to a regular New England winter occurrence. A major blizzard that week two days prior to the 2011 Taste of Eastie had cars snowed in, businesses shut down and residents and restaurant owners contemplating whether or not they’d make it to the event.

“It was a nightmare,” said Moulaison. “I remember getting phone calls the morning of the event from restaurant owners doubting they would be able to get their food and supplies over to the Hilton.”

However, despite many businesses being closed due to weather the day of the event, Main Streets and restaurant owners were able to come together and pull off a successful Taste of Eastie last year.

“I had to hand it to the participants last year, they really pulled through under difficult circumstances,” said Moulaison. “But that’s what makes East Boston a great community–people pulling together. The previous day’s snowfall made it difficult for the participating food establishments but as usual they arrived with their delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts.”

With a mild winter so far and no forecast for snow in the near future, Moulaison is sure this year will go off without a hitch.

“I expect it to be a great turnout,” he said. “While last year we only got 200 people to come out I think we will be back to our normal numbers of 300 to 400 guests.”

We he took over Main Streets several years ago, Moulaison set out to make the annual Taste of Eastie an event the entire community looks forward to.

Before Moulaison, attendance from local restaurateurs dwindled at the yearly event and Main Streets was forced to rely on outside eateries to fill the gap. In some cases, restaurants from as far away as Saugus showed up to entice guests with culinary treats.

Moulaison wanted to change this trend and successfully attracted dozens of new Eastie restaurants to the event.

“We start in June meeting with restaurant owners,” said Moulaison. “The name of the event is ‘Taste of Eastie’ and I want the event to reflect that each year.”

Out of the 20 plus restaurants in attendance, only two or three were from outside the neighborhood.

For restaurants relatively new to the Eastie dinning scene like Ecco, Angela’s Cafe, D’Parma’s Restaurant and Dough East Boston, Moulaison explained showcasing their food at the Taste of Eastie is always beneficial.

“The return is usually good for owners,” said Moulaison. “You are helping out Main Streets and at the same time potentially getting new customers.”

Last year, restaurants that were a big hit with the crowd included Dough East Boston’s homemade sandwiches, Victory Pub’s marinated steak tips and the numerous other participants that served items ranging from pasta dishes to roasted meats to deserts.

Taste of Eastie’s yearly fixtures like Meridian Market’s six-foot sub and Great Chef’s food was also a big hit. Sonny Noto’s and Carlo’s Catering also wowed the crowd .

“There’s always a good cross section of food,” said Moulaison. “If you like Italian there is Italian, if you like Chinese there is Chinese, if you like Latin food there is Latin food…and I thank all the restaurants ahead of time for what is going to be a great event.

Tickets are $35.00 and can be purchased at MP&CO or the Main Streets office at 146 Maverick Street or Online at www.ebmainstreets.com  or by calling 617.561.1044.

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