With a fistful of tokens, Emily and I took on the Taste of the Marianas last night.
It wasn't really what I expected. I've been to Taste of Orlando and the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. Both were very different from this event. At those events each food booth gave you a small sample of food usually matched with some type of wine or beer. This wasn't the case at the Taste. This wasn't so much the Taste of the Marianas, as it was the Gorge Yourself Silly in the Marianas.
I expected small portions, but most of the stands were selling whole meals. Not to say that the food wasn't excellent. I stuffed myself silly with chicken curry and naan from the Hyatt Regency Saipan booth. Twice. It just wasn't what I was expecting from the Taste of the Marianas. That's all. Not really a complaint. More of an observation.
On my second go around the Taste though, I did find a few booths selling smaller items. One of the hotels was selling individual fish tacos and chicken quesadillas. Yum! You could also buy apigigi (Saipan no mochi) for cheap at one of the stalls. I wish more of the stalls had been like that so that you could get a taste of something from every booth...then go back for seconds at the booths that you really enjoy.
The adult beverage setup was pretty convenient. Instead of each booth giving out or selling drinks, there was one booth selling all of the drinks for the whole event in one central location. They had beer, sodas, and mixed drinks, among other things. The Mangoritas were by far the most popular drink. The bartenders couldn't make them fast enough.
As you went around buying food and drinks, instead of paying with cash, you paid with yellow Saipanda tokens worth $1 each. Who ever thought to use tokens instead of cash is a genius. Although you could sell the tokens back to the token people, I think you end up spending more money when you have them. Who wants to stand in line to get a dollar back when you can just go get another taco? They make good (if not expensive and useless) souvenirs, too.
Speaking of souvenirs, I noticed that there were tourists milling around. How did I know they were tourists? I saw them exchanging paper receipts for tokens. Those tour operators are brilliant. They probably charged the tourists a flat rate, gave them a reciept that they could trade for X number of tokens, and told them to go have fun. So even if a tourist only wants to have a single taco and a bottle of water, they end up spending as much as the guy eating 3 plates of ribs and drinking 4 beers. Like I said, brilliant!
As for Angelo's Best of Show, my favorite two things at the Taste this year were the roast pig at Herman's Bakery and the chocolate fondue fountain at Aqua Resort Club. I thought both were really unique, and the pig in particular really showcased local cuisine. Tight work, Herman's Bakery!
Oh yeah, the mangoritas weren't bad either.
This picture is for all those vegetarians out there:
The Taste is going to happen again every Saturday this month. I'm sure we'll go to all of them. It is a great place to run into people. We usually end up hanging out with the people that work for the other government agencies charged with protecting the environment, but we run into plenty of cousins, too. It's a good time.
OK, so now how about some big round things? Here's the moon:
Then after the Taste of the Marianas we went out for a few adult beverages and poke at Neo-Remington (affectionately referred to as Rem's by the local populace). I played darts. I learned that my head is apparently as large as a dartboard.
And that, my friends, was the Taste of the Marianas.