A Taste of Downtown: The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide to Manhattan, Kansas

A Taste of Downtown Manhattan Kansas

Yesterday Steven and I took part in the 6th Annual Taste of Downtown here in Manhattan, Kansas. Eleven downtown restaurants prepared a special tapas-like dish from their regular menus for participants to enjoy. It was the perfect way to sample some good food and a stroll through historic downtown Manhattan, Kansas.

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  1. The Hits
  2. The Misses
  3. My Favorites
  4. The Program Menu
  5. The Misses
  6. Event Details

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Taste of Downtown

Participants picked up their brochure/map at the discovery Center between 4:30 and 7 pm. The brochure served as a ticket to each establishment. Because all the restaurants were still open to regular patrons, most restaurants had a greeter who checked off your ticket and directed you to the tasting station.

The program also listed the featured dish and or drink for each eatery. Many, like The Poolhouse, offered a free refreshing mini drink with their yummy interpretation of a (beef) pig in the blanket. Others like The Chef created a mini basil margarita could purchase along with your pancake topped with Grand Marnier infused cream cheese topped with crispy bacon.

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The Hits

Although all the food was good, there were three clear winners. And as it turns out, I had never eaten at any of them prior to last night’s event. We did pass on two of our favorite spots—El Patron and Tall Grass Brewery because their featured dish contained pork. Incidentally, each of my favorites featured beef as a main or minor element to the dish.

My Favorite Dishes

The Wine Dive Kitchen’s beef tenderloin served carpaccio style on a toasted baguette with a pesto cream cheese and horseradish aioli.

Harry’s chicken chimichurri on a skewer was served on a bed of BBQ beef.

Five’s German meatball with slaw on a crostini. They also served a Caprese pop—cherry tomatoes, a cube of buffalo cheese drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

As a side note, all three of the above restaurants had a server on-hand as opposed to the food under a heat lamp or out on an unattended table. This attention to detail could have made the mahi-mahi fish taco served at Blue Moose much better than it was just because it was cold.

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The Misses

My least favorite dish was last night’s most imaginative. The grilled watermelon (something I love) was topped with crushed pistachio and cheese and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I really wanted to like this Bourbon and Baker dish, but the weird combination missed the mark for me.

AJ’s pizza offered a choice between three pizza toppings: Manhattan Margarita, pepperoni, and their Big Apple Pizza. Our last stop was Radina’s Bakery because we didn’t want t walk around carrying a whole baguette. However by 7 pm, it was so hard, my only option to eat it is making croutons. I love homemade croutons, so I’m happy.

Event Details

A Taste of Downtown is sponsored by the Little Apple Optimists Club & Downtown Manhattan Inc. The proceeds support kids in the Manhattan community through local service projects. The event takes place from 4:30 to 8 pm and costs $45 per person. A shuttle bus service is available for those that don’t or can’t walk.

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