Local food blogger Donald McKenzie reviews the Tap In tour
Each summer the Downtown BIZ offers a series of tours to allow people to sample some of the many food and beverage offerings in the downtown. Last year, I was given the opportunity to go on the patio tour. This year I had hoped to go on the breakfast tour, but those are on Sunday’s and for some reason my parish expects me to be at church those days. However, when that didn’t work out, Emily Ormonde, the tour coordinator for Downtown Biz kindly switched me over to the Tap In Tour. You can find out more information on the various tours here.
The secret to making a tour like this a success is having a good tour guide. Susan, our tour guide, did an excellent job. In addition to getting us from stop to stop in good time, she took us along to a couple of other spots downtown, to see some of the interesting activities taking place.
It was an interesting evening. When I arrived I discovered that I was the only person on the tour who was not part of a group. This for me is usually a recipe for disaster. As an introvert among introverts, meeting new people is always difficult. This is especially true when I’m in big groups. However, as the evening went on, I found he various small groups to be quite welcoming which made the event quite enjoyable
Tap In Tour: Shannon’s Irish Pub
The tour started at Shannon’s Irish Pub. I was running a couple of minutes of late so I missed the beginning of the presentation. Our beverage for the stop was a Black and Tan.. Then we found out why we should never order a Black and Tan if we were in Ireland. For the snack we got a crunchy shrimp skewer along with a slice of goat cheese quiche. The quiche was the definite food highlight of the evening. It was smooth, rich and creamy with just a touch of sweetness. It would actually make a nice dessert as well.
Tap In Tour: Garrick Hotel
After Shannon’s we headed over to the Garrick Hotel. The Garrick is a classic throwback bar that is something of a downtown institution. In keeping with that idea, we were served Hot Rods and Old Dutch chips. The beverages were tourist choice, and I went with the Rolling Rock Extra Pale. While we enjoyed our food and drink, we were treated to a video show of local bands that appear at The Garrick.
Tap In Tour: Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub
Our third stop was a place I’ve visited before. This is the one spot where I didn’t manage to get any pictures. I decided to satisfy my inner hipster by ordering a PBR to drink. It was either that or wear skinny jeans, and nobody wants to see that. One of the reasons I didn’t get pictures here was that it was trivia night. Despite being on my own, I managed to attach myself to a table of people who enjoy trivia as much as I do. We played through the first half of the trivia game before moving on to the final stop on the tour. Naturally the food was pizza. I ate a nice thick slice of the meat lovers.
Tap In Tour: Rudy’s Eat and Drink
Our final stop was at Rudy’s Eat and Drink. I didn’t get the name of the beer, which was already in a pitcher on the table, but it was clean and fairly light. As the 4th beer of the evening I appreciated the light quality. Rudy’s offered us a nice variety of snacks. They had homemade crinkle cut kettle chips and dip, Chicken Wings, An asian perogie (gyoza), and finally some sticky ribs. All of the items were very good with the sticky ribs being a standout.
Once again, I switched tables when we got to Rudy’s and was able to enjoy the company of some of the other people on the tour. Thank you to Downtown Biz for inviting me along. Thank you to Susan for being such a great tour guide. Thank you to all the friendly people who turned this into a great evening out.
Read more of Dining with Donald’s great food reviews on diningwithdonald.com