Last Saturday (September 25), Columbia’s largest block party rocked the Congaree Vista from 2:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. Columbia families flocked to the third annual VIVA LA VISTA on that sunny hot afternoon, in search of the tasty cuisine promised by a group of popular restaurants in this downtown area.
The food was definitely the highlight of the day, as you can tell from the photos. The streets were lined with restaurants preparing tastings – sushi, rare lamb chops, pizza, grilled steak, chocolate cake, deep-fried brownie bites, sliders, burgers, pasta, cheesecake, ice cream, pork BBQ, corn fritters. Whatever you could possibly dream of was being served that afternoon!
Thirty popular Vista food establishments participated. Favorite food items could be purchased with tokens, easily found at central locations. There was a beer and wine tent, several venues for live entertainment and booths that included handcrafted items, local goods and Gamecock souvenirs. Several area businesses passed out quality favors, including toothbrushes and mirrored compacts.
The food went fast; some customers waited in long lines for a taste of their favorite items. There were so many tempting foods to try, but my choices included Blue Marlin’s famous shrimp and grits, a piece of organic pie from Z Pizza and a slice of Nonnah’s fabulous chocolate cake topped with ganache frosting. The servers even allowed me to have a drizzle of raspberry sauce over the top. All that, plus an adorable red velvet mini cupcake from Cupcake! I wasn’t disappointed – every bite was outstanding! The BBQ was especially tempting, but alas, so much food – so little tummy space! I’ll just have to go back again.
One of my favorite art finds was the booth with Jam-Art and Re-Form Jewlery. Talented artist Jennifer Miner brings about, “radical change through the artful rehabilitation of trash…..” She explains, “From the debris of everyday objects, I transform old rubbish into one-of-a-kind uniquely crafted wearable art.”
Jennifer displayed the most beautiful, intricate hand-made fish with recycled can lids carefully tacked on as the scales. She said, “Each one is hand-painted and unique. She coats the fish with an outdoor spareurethane for shine and protection.
Jennifer also offered drop earrings made from recycled bottle-caps, each pair displaying a unique design. There were many pairs to choose from and she even offered to do custom designs. For more information on Jennifer’s work, visit her website at, http://jamart.shutterfly.com. She has great items for holiday gift-giving.
Adluh Flour sold bags of sweet potato flour mix for cobblers; Cromers had candy apples, popcorn and boiled peanuts.
Photos are worth a thousand words so I will let mine tell the story. I have more to share, so click on the link below to see part two of this post. It includes the delicious Shrimp and Grits recipe I enjoyed from the Blue Marlin. If you missed this year’s event, there is always next year. Better still, you can visit the participating restaurants anytime of the year to enjoy another delicious taste of this popular Vista event!
Click here to view part two of this post series.
Photos copyright – Susan Fuller Slack & Taste of Carolina