It was a feast for the eyes, mouth and soul at Saint Patrick’sParish Church School, where the 15th annual A Taste Of The Ridgefundraiser was held Sunday.
From the moment people began lining up around the corner,straining their eyes to get a glimpse of which restaurants weredropping off food, and finalizing their food-tasting strategy -assembly line vs. whatever looks good vs. new restaurants first -the event had an excited, enthusiastic air, tinged with the soundof stomachs growling in anticipation.I came out one year in the pouring rain because I thought therewouldn’t be many people, but it was mobbed, said long-timeresident Florence, who decided to tackle Chinese food and newrestaurants because she eat[s] Italian food all the time.Thirty-seven restaurants participated in this year’s event,including Ridge stalwarts Sofia’s, Chadwick’s, Circles Café, BallyBunion and Gino’s, and newer arrivals such as Beebo and SweetieFrozen Yogurt.Spread across eight long tables was everything a food-lover coulddesire. Kettle Black’s buffalo wings were spicy and meaty, Sancho’spaella valenciana was full of saffron rice made flavorful by theperfectly cooked clams and mussels, Trace’s mac and cheese wassmoky and creamy, and Arirang’s vegetable stir fry was tangy.On the pasta front, Bay Ridge Manor had a great version oftortellini carbonara, Casa Calamari brought some amazing penne withspinach and sun-dried tomatoes, and Sofia’s had two types ofdelicious tomato-based pastas – penne and orecchiette – withpancetta.There was also dessert. The pomegranate frozen yogurt from Sweetie,Bay Ridge’s newest fro-yo shop, was refreshingly tart, and KrazyLady Cheesecake combined the most random of flavors into delectablemini-cheesecake form.Also present were three students from William E. Grady Career andTechnical High School’s culinary arts program. Under the tutelageof teacher/chef Mike Guida, the students prepared dessert crepes,nutty pecan tassies, carrot cake and red velvet pops, not tomention a chocolate fountain for fruit fondue.I feel like a kid in a candy store, declared Pat Quinlan of BayRidge. I want a taste of everything and don’t know what to tryfirst. Eileen McFall agreed, joking, I’m glad I had my blood[glucose] test yesterday.Monsignor Joseph Nagle of St. Patrick’s Church said the turnout wasvery good. We get a lot of people from outside the parish whocome to this, he said while making a beeline to Grady’s chocolatefountain. We get some parishioners, but a lot of them are workingthe event. So the word of it has spread wide and far.