Event serves up way to sample Homer

Oysters? Wine? Cardamom-scented braised short ribs? Get your ticket to the second annual Taste of Homer and toast the changing season with food and drink samples from more than a dozen local vendors.
“It’s a showcase event,” said Amy Martin, chief organizer and owner of the Vagabond Cafe. “Something where the culinary community can come and show who they are and what they do.” Although Martin has temporarily closed the café, she still does custom cakes and catering and is one of the vendors at Taste of Homer.
Part of the goal, Martin said, is to create a go-to event in the shoulder season, providing visitors and locals with a literal taste of what Homer offers.
Martin, who has been doing food for 20 years, said it’s great end of the season event.
Last year nearly 300 people filled Wasabi’s, where the Taste of Homer will again be held.
“It is a gorgeous, gorgeous venue,” Martin said, adding that owners Colt Belmonte and Dali Frazier donate the space, so there is no charge to vendors.
Frazier, who recently attended the Taste of Kenai, said that she and Belmonte are excited to host the event again this year. Last year was a huge success, and Frazier said they are hoping to duplicate it Saturday. She added that it’s a great way for people to catch up with each other and celebrate having survived the busy summer — and to show the rest of Alaska what Homer has to offer.
Sheryl Vitale, who owns and operates Red Bird Kitchen, along with daughter Anna Wall, is getting ready for her second year at the Taste of Homer.
“It’s fun, and they do such a fabulous job of organizing it,” she said, adding that having the venue provided without cost takes away a lot of financial pressure. Because she doesn’t do formal advertising, Vitale said the Taste of Homer is a great way to promote her mobile custom-cooking business.
And she agrees with Martin and Frazier —  it’s nice to have something at the end of the season, when things are slowing down.
“We enjoy it — and there’s nothing more fun than giving away food, right?” she said. This year, her “tastes” will include homemade ice cream and homemade marshmallows.
In addition to sampling and visiting, there will be an auction to raise money for the Homer Farmers’ Market — and just for the fun of it, peoples’ choice awards in four categories: appetizer, entrée, dessert and beverage.
As a thank you to the participants in last year’s Taste of Homer, an online food guide was created featuring participating vendors. The ultimate goal, however, is to create a Homer food guide that would be available in print for statewide distribution.
Tickets are available at the Homer Chamber of Commerce, Homer Bookstore, Wasabi’s, Farmer’s Market or at www.tasteofhomer.com.
The cost is $40 in advance or $45 at the door. A no-host bar will be available, and Homer Tours is providing transportation from the chamber to and from Wasabi’s between and 4 and 8 p.m.
Toni Ross is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.


Second Annual Taste of Homer
4-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20
Wasabi’s, 59217 East End Road
Taste of Homer participants include Bear Creek Winery, Boat Yard Café, Boss Hoggs, Coal Town Coffee & Teas, COOL Juicy Bus, Far Out Café, Fresh Sourdough Express, Homer Brewing Co., Homer Farmers’ Market, Jakolof Oyster Co., Land’s End Resort and the Chart Room Restaurant & Lounge, Red Bird Kitchen, Wasabi’s Homer, Vagabond Café, Vida’s Thai Food and The Fork Club, an extra curricular program which focuses on culinary arts for Homer youth.
$40 in advance or $45 at the door
Ticket locations:
Homer Chamber of Commerce, Homer Bookstore, Homer Farmers’ Market and Wasabi’s.
More Information:
www.tasteofhomer.com or www.facebook.com/tasteofhomer