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Thousands come out for a 'Taste'

Proceeds benefit Santa Clarita's Child and Family Center Foundation.

Posted: May 5, 2008 2:14 a.m.
Updated: July 6, 2008 5:03 a.m.

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There was no harm in being indecisive about what to eat for lunch on Sunday afternoon at Valencia's Mann Biomedical Park, as more than 40 of the Santa Clarita Valley's most popular restaurants offered a sampling of their finest specialties under the mild sun and pleasant breeze.

For the 20th consecutive year, Santa Clarita's Child and Family Center Foundation hosted "Taste of the Town," presenting a smorgasbord of aromas and fare for the enjoyment of more than 5,000 visitors.

Friends, families and local movers and shakers alike strolled through the campus-like atmosphere, enjoying food and wine from a variety of regions, including America, Italy, China, India, Thailand, Japan and the Caribbean.

The vast array of edibles were consumed amid the sound of music, as a variety of bands played jazz and soul throughout the afternoon.

As restaurant owners and chefs went out of their way to please the customers who lazily strolled from tent to tent, a deserving group of people benefited with each bite, swallow and gulp.

"The lion's share of today's event income goes directly to the children and families in care and treatment at the Child and Family Center," said Lois Bauccio, executive director and president of the Child and Family Center Foundation.

According to its mission statement, the center "helps build a healthy Santa Clarita Valley by providing mental health, behavioral and educational services to children, adults and their families."

With several thousand people from the SCV and surrounding areas filling their stomachs with a variety of pastas, meats and ethnic foods while drinking wine and enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon, the Child and Family Center ensured that it will be able to continue providing for the people it serves.

In the meantime, the local restaurants who participated in Taste of the Town were more than happy to serve guests with dishes they believed to be their best.

At The Oaks Grille, executive chef Daniel Otto treated seafood connoisseurs to a lobster cocktail. A few spots down at An Affaire Extraordinaire, Sondra Allen and her colleagues created an eco-friendly, green-effused menu with items such as organic Thai lime chicken skewers, Florentine capers with Bearnaise sauce and grilled Portabella mushrooms and asparagus with Meyer lemon olive oil.

Allen and her colleagues even dressed the part, wearing organic cotton chef's jackets.

Serving a delicious Italian fare was Robin Woodside of Cavi at The Big Oaks, who served bow tie pasta with pesto sauce or penne and meat sauce.

Over at Clarice's Cake & Candy Supplies, Nanci Olmos served several types of cupcakes, as well as chocolate-covered strawberries.

On the other side of the park, a penne pasta mixed with a porterhouse steak and sauce was a popular dish, while Tandoori Grille a few spots over served traditional Indian chicken and rice dishes.

A few wineries, such as Loose Goose and Leona Valley Winery, brought out the best of their cellar collections. Nardone's served wine as well, complimenting its menu of pasta, pizza and meatballs.

In all, it was a day to let all inhibitions go without feeling guilty.

To put it in perspective, one guest summed up why it was not such a bad thing to feast at Taste of the Town.

"We get to eat great, delicious food and benefit children at the same time," said Leonard Davis of Canyon Country. "It's hard to go wrong combining a good cause with delicious food."

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