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Festival of the foods

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By: Mark Hancock

Art is great, right? And the community is important.

Starting Tuesday and running daily through April 28, the Festival of the Arts, put on by the Oklahoma City Arts Council, is one of the city’s premiere events.

It’s a showcase for art, sure, but it’s also about letting people see how vibrant downtown OKC is.

But
if you’re going to look me in the eye and say that you’re not going for
the food, then I’m going to call you a liar. We all go for the food.
The food’s amazing.

And this year, there’s some amazing new food to try with 31 vendors showing up to show off delicious treats.

The Indian taco ($8)? Still there.

The
gyro ($7)? The Indian sampler platter ($8)? Strawberries Newport ($6)?
All there. Every year. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.

But
wouldn’t you also like to try the food at Waffle Au Som (pronounced
“Awesome”)? The vendor will have savory options, like the chicken ’n’
waffle ($8) or the waffle club sandwich ($8), and some sweet treats,
including a waffle with Nutella and fresh fruit ($6). Waffle Au Som
comes from a festival veteran, Michael Pittman, who is already known and
trusted for The Nutcracker cart and Helmut’s Strudel.

How do you feel about chicken?

Because it seems like the festival’s food vendors are quite enamored with that particular bird.

In addition to the
Cajun-fried chicken with red beans and rice ($7- $8) from Cajun King and
the classic chicken-on-a-stick ($2), this year, another local favorite
is bringing some of the best bird in the city.

Inca Trail, a Peruvian restaurant, will have a good sampling of its fresh and feisty foods.

A light ceviche ($8) will help cool off a few festivalgoers, but I’ll bet the big draw is the famous Pollo a la Brasas ($6).

Local,
not to be outdone, is doing an avocado chicken cone ($7) with crusted
chicken, avocado, slaw and lime-cilantro aioli wrapped in a cone. And
for dessert, a gluten-free chocolate cake called a Buzz Bomb ($6).

It wouldn’t be any kind of
fair these days if there wasn’t some kind of bacon dessert, so Rodney
& Lisa will be selling a bacon and caramel apple. Salty bacon;
sweet, sticky caramel and a crisp apple? Probably going to be a winner.

We can all be winners, however.

Because
this food is, as always, pretty good. And to walk around and soak up
some art and some sun and maybe drink a little high-point beer — that’s a
heckuva day.

Your only real concern: finding a parking spot. Because the Festival of the Arts is always packed, and for good reason.

Fun festival food facts!

—Last
year, Harry Bear’s All- American Grill used more than 500 pounds of
peaches for fried peaches and 40 buckets of pickles for fried pickles.

—Strawberries Newport has been the festival’s top seller for 30-plus
years. Last year, the booth went through 12,000 pounds of strawberries
and 600 gallons of whipped cream.
—Brewer Entertainment sold more than
10,000 pounds of brisket.
—Sundae maker Guiltless Concessions used
enough bananas to go around three city blocks and more than 250 pounds
of Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

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