BELLINGHAM - A block of Cornwall Avenue was a blustery spot to sample all things Bellingham on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Hundreds turned out at noon for the food, music, food, beer, food and food at the seventh annual Bite of Bellingham.
For a $1 ticket, gastronomes could munch on some carrot cake from the Mount Bakery Cafe, snag a cornmeal scone from Cheese Meat(s) Beer, or sip on purple corn juice from Café Rumba.
Rocket Donuts was selling three donut holes per ticket. How many had they made for the event?
"Oh my gosh," said Sarah Elliott, taken aback by such an impossible question, before settling on 1,800 holes - maybe more.
Last year's defending champion of all three categories, Man Pies, was conspicuously absent. (This year, there were five categories.) So was foodie favorite Dashi Noodle Bar, to the disappointment of attendee Ben Sanders.
"That's just shocking to me," he said. "I know (Dashi) is in transition, but ... "
Instead, Sanders sampled India Grill's mix of veggie and chicken curries (an old standby, he said); the beet caprese from The Table ("more of an accultured taste,"); and Bayou on Bay's smoked tasso-stuffed rosemary biscuit with slaw ("I'd go for another one of those").
His son Josiah, age 2, wasn't as easy to please.
"He's fickle," Sanders said. "It wouldn't be a good data point."
In the background a local band strummed lazy tremolo guitar rhythms. Kids wore balloon hats. Someone moseying past Diego's canopy was saying, "I've heard good things about these tacos."
Lines of people curled around corners as they waited to sample Boundary Bay's signature salmon chowder, and also-signature mac and cheese.
Shawn Solomon was scribbling notes on her menu - a pamphlet with every dish the Bite had to offer - so she could remember who to vote for in each category: Best Bite, Sweetest Sweet, Dreamiest Drink, Best Local Bite and Best Gluten-Free Bite.
"Good, almost yummy," Solomon wrote beside the Dungeness crab tostada. Another dish, which asked to remain anonymous, got the unenviable grade of "not for me."
As the wind picked up at 1:30 p.m., a gallon jug of water anchored the main ticket booth and kept it from sailing away.
Justin Boland, a Western Washington University alumnus in town for a wedding, cradled his plate of curry from a strong gust as he waited in line. The dish could've been a little spicier for his taste, he said, but it made sense for the chef to cater to the masses.
"So what's the headline?" asked Boland. "Cloudy with a chance of flying samosas?"
Reach CALEB HUTTON at email@example.com or call 360-715-2276.