BY: ELIZABETH SCHMIDT AND JAZMIN A. ARREOLA
The juices of chicken tawook drip down your mouth, while the smell of exotic spices infringes your nostrils. Ribs so tender thatthe meat slides off the bone and smooth, sweet frosting touches your lips, as you bite into a fluffy wonderland of cupcake.
No, this isn’t a dream! These are the sensations you will feel at this year’s Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor.
Open Sesame, Lucille’s BBQ and Frosted Cupcakery are among the 40 local restaurants that will be featuring their specialty dishes to the public May through August in the “taste of Belmont Shore” event.
Live bands and an array of entertainment invade Second Street, while locals and newcomers adventure through the variety of food. According to Dede Rossi, the executive director of Belmont Shore Business Association (BSBA), Stroll and Savor has been a tradition in the Shore for 20 years, after an expansion of the sidewalks in Belmont Shore that was meant to expand the outdoor dining scene.
“It’s a great event and gets bigger every year,” Rossi said. Rossi said the May Stroll and Savor tends to attract Cal State Long Beach students during finals week.
“I think it offers a chance for people to get out at night with family and friends; it’s like a festival,” Rossi said. “I pretty much do everything and like Stroll and Savor, to have more a festival feel where you can push a stroller, walk a dog and come down with friends.”
Rossi added that Stroll and Savor has historical roots with the Belmont Shore community.
“The BSBA wanted to promote the restaurants on Second Street,” Rossi said. “It started with about 12, and then other restaurants decided to get involved.”
Now, there are about 45 businesses that participate annually in the festival. There are ticket books available for purchase, in order to take part in the food tasting. Ticket books are $10 and have 12 tickets in each book.
“We give everyone a map of restaurants participating and people decide where they want to use their tickets,” Rossi said.
Stacia Hanley, owner of Frosted Cupcakery, has been involved since the business opened eight years ago. She said people are still finding out about Frosted Cupcakery, and Stroll and Savor is a great outlet for business to introduce their product.
Hanley also has Frosted Cupcakery locations in Hermosa Beach and Hollywood, but said the Belmont Shore community is distinctive.
"There is no community like this, it’s super unique,” Hanley said. “I realize how lucky we are in the Long Beach community to have businesses helping each other out.”
Every restaurant participating offers a small portion of their food for a certain amount of tickets. Lisa Ramelow, owner of Italian restaurant La Strada, says it is a fair taste, not a full portion.
“I try to make it fair, it’s a win-win for both sides,” she said.
“All restaurants have benefited greatly because people are given the opportunity to try the food at the event and come back to eat at our restaurant,” Ramelow said. “The community loves it, it’s a wonderful event that people look forward to every summer.”
Tantalizing taste buds is not all that happens at Stroll and Savor. Local bands from the community are involved in the event, as well as street performers.
“We have performers who show up on their own,” Rossi said. “We just let them stay and they play for money.”
Rossi said that although the event starts at 5:30 p.m., she encourages the public to come a little earlier to avoid a long wait.
Stroll and Savor is May 15-16, June 19-20, July 17-18 and August 14-15.Ticket books can be purchased in front of Chase Bank on Second Street and Corona the day of the event. For more information, visit this website.