Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Students get a second ‘Taste of Portland’ at a now annual event

Taste of Portland featured food trucks and vendors from around the city who gave free samples to wandering students on Thursday evening.
Bruce Raymond | The Free Press
Taste of Portland featured food trucks and vendors from around the city who gave free samples to wandering students on Thursday evening.

Posted on September 08, 2014 in Arts & Culture
By elledavis

This was Derrick Anderson's first time at Taste of Portland and said he thought the event was great exposure for his business, the Little Jamaica food cart.
Bruce Raymond | The Free Press
This was Derrick Anderson's first time at Taste of Portland and said he thought the event was great exposure for his business, the Little Jamaica food cart.
William Grubb, an employee at Glickman Library, has helped organize the event in hopes that free food would lure more students into the library.
Bruce Raymond | The Free Press
William Grubb, an employee at Glickman Library, has helped organize the event in hopes that free food would lure more students into the library.

Last Thursday the lawn outside of Glickman Library was filled with tables and food trucks of various culinary styles during USM’s second annual Taste of Portland event. The event was so popular and well received last year that it’s back for a second time, proving yet again that an event that features free food will most likely draw in a crowd.

Students and teachers gathered in between classes to sample menus ranging in fare from Italian to Jamaican. While the food selection was eclectic, other foods like pizza and cupcakes continued to hold their place in taste popularity.

While grabbing a bite for free was the general motivation to attend amongst the event-goers, the event coordinator and Head of Reference and Instructional Services at the library William Grubb had a different motivation for starting Taste of Portland. By strategically placing the event in front of the Glickman Family Library, he said that he hopes students will notice the library more and utilize all the educational features it has to offer.

“Students think they can find articles and other study material with the click of a mouse on Google, but it’s the use of a library’s databases and books that are better tools for helping students learn,” said Grubb.

Grubb said that an event centered around local food relates to the Glickman Library’s origins as Huston’s Bakery, built in 1919. The building itself still has the concrete columns that once encased brick ovens.

Grubb mentioned that while Taste of Portland gives exposure to the library, it’s also important to celebrate and in some cases introduce Portland’s diverse culinary culture to the community. The welcome team that helped Grubb set up and run the event for the day agreed with him on this perspective. They believed it was an essential tradition to be started at USM for Welcome Week.

“This [event] is unique to USM and Portland as a city,” said Samantha Ireland, a graduate assistant at the Wellness Resource Center. “While there are other events in Portland that give people a look into what’s on the menu for local restaurants, Taste of Portland gives attention to the up-and-coming craze of food trucks and street vendors within the city.”
Lauren Ostis and Derrick Anderson, who run the Little Jamaica food cart, participated in Taste of Portland for the first time this year.

“We’re really trying to go to all types of events so we can meet people around the city and get exposure for our food,” said Ostis. She said that the jerk chicken and goat curry are two of the most popular sellers with USM students.

The opinion amongst event goers was that Leonardo’s Pizza was the tastiest. They participated in Taste of Portland last year, and have been affiliated with other university events.
“We enjoy getting involved with the community and having this relationship with USM,” said Phil George, creator and founder of Leonardo’s. “We like seeing local food vendors getting attention, and it’s just fun for us to be here.”

This event creates exposure to both the Glickman Library and the food trucks. Taste of Portland serves as an opportunity not just to eat free food, but to hang out amongst peers. Andrew Kiezulas, a junior chemistry major, feels as if events like these are important to USM because it gives people a reason to connect with others.

“I know a lot of people here. I can come to these events and network with strangers and also see my friends,” said Kiezulas. “Let’s put it this way: I come for the food and I stay for the conversation.”

Taste of Portland is only on its second year and, according to Grubb, the head count for attendance appeared to be the same as last year. There weren’t many complaints about the event, except for the observation of student Mia Bogyo that it might be “better during the day.”

Despite the later scheduled time of 4:30 p.m, the hope is that more students will catch onto Taste of Portland for next year and find themselves drawn to an area of the campus that they otherwise might not have explored. This will allow students to see what Glickman has to offer for their education, to bond with their peers, and to sample some of Portland’s delicious food.

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