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Tacoma's Grub Crawl is back

Taste of Sixth Avenue returns to Art on the Ave

Legendary Doughnuts will have its dough-sant - half doughnut, half croissant - available at Art on the Ave. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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Art on the Ave Festival, Sixth Avenue Tacoma's annual street fair celebrating art and community with music, live art exhibitions and local vendors, is hosting its second annual Grub Crawl 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 14, with $6 special appetizer-sized menu items from participating restaurants.

"Grub Crawl is a fun way to try dishes from Sixth Avenue restaurants that aren't normally on their menus," says Jennifer Johnson, Art on the Ave's Grub Crawl organizer and vendor coordinator. "Priced at $6, Grub Crawl dishes are inexpensive enough to try more than one, and fun to share. As the organizer, I've enjoyed watching the chefs get creative and come up with their dishes."

An added bonus, the second annual Grub Crawl Challenge will take place at 2:30 p.m. on the Community Stage in the Walt's Auto Care parking lot where participating restaurants will battle to be King or Queen of the Crawl, submitting their items to be judged by a panel of judges, including Elisa Jaffe, television reporter from KOMO 4 News, and Tyrus Smith, executive director of the Tacoma branch of The Evergreen State College.

Entrants will be judged on the item's ability to represent each restaurant, and needs to incorporate at least one locally-sourced ingredient, as well as be portable and easily eaten by festival attendees. The winner and runner-up will receive prizes provided by US Foods.

Last year's Grub Crawl Challenge winner was Marrow Kitchen and Bar with its sumac grilled quail with celeriac apple slaw.

"It's important for us to be part of the event to join in with the community of businesses along Sixth Avenue," says Marrow co-owner Jaime Kay Jones. This year, they'll be offering a smoked Niman Ranch pulled pork doughnut dog with raspberry mostarda.

Other savory dishes offered include a pulled pork sandwich from Jazzbones, a Santa Cruz calzone from Medi's Pizza and Pasta, Asian BBQ pork from North China Garden, chicken kabobs from Gateway to India, an orange ginger salmon cake from Six Olives, a bleu cheese bacon burger from O'Malley's Irish Pub and smoky cheddar nachos from Dirty Oscar's.

To fulfill visitors' sweet tooths, Legendary Doughnuts will have a raspberry and apricot crème "dough-sant" - think half doughnut, half croissant, a current nationwide food craze otherwise known as a "cronut." Get local favorite Ice Cream Social's crave-worthy macerated fig and chocolate almond ice creams drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

Last year's event had a noticeable lack of vegan and vegetarian options, and event organizers and restaurants have more options this year. Ubi's Ubiquitous Journey will offer a Moroccan spiced grilled cheese with balsamic soaked strawberries and fresh basil that's vegan, and Dirty Oscars' nachos are another savory vegetarian option.

Restaurants will be selling their $6 Grub Crawl items from their brick and mortar restaurants, so it gives festival-goers a chance to visit each one as they walk down the Ave, but Ice Cream Social and Gateway to India will have booths.

Whose dishes will take home the Grub Crawl Challenge crown? Visit the festival to find out. One thing's for sure, festival-goers that take advantage of the great prices and variety of options offered will not leave hungry.

ART ON THE AVE, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, July 14, Sixth Avenue between Cedar and Trafton streets, Tacoma,

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