JOPLIN, Mo. —
I need to clear something up.
When I eat at a restaurant and then say nice things about that restaurant, I don’t get free food. Every once in a while someone accuses me of trading nice words for food, and I sort of resent that. I guess I could see how someone might suspect that, but trust me, it doesn’t happen to me.
But now that I think about it, it would be pretty cool putting up a sign that reads: “Will say nice things for food.”
Back to my original point: I don’t get free food for saying nice things about something. I do, however, get the occasional free taste. Free tastes, to me, are not the same as free food.
About a year ago, Globe photographer T. Rob Brown and I were doing a story about a bar and grill that basically wrapped a cheeseburger up in a flour tortilla, deep fried it and then covered it with chili and cheese sauce.
Of course we had to taste it. Then we gave the rest to some customers in the place who were sitting at the bar.
A month or so ago, I did a story about the New Day Cafe, 1218 W. Seventh St. I was chatting with Ge Xong and Shye Kong, the owners, and mentioned that there are some restaurants that I can’t go to because the owners are always trying to give me free food.
“OK,” Shye said. “When you come here we will charge you an arm and a leg.”
I thought that was funny.
I bring all this up because I want to talk about the upcoming Taste of the Four States. The annual event, sponsored by the Joplin/Southwest Chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association, raises money to fund scholarships for local students who are seeking a career in the restaurant and hospitality industry. This year’s Taste of the Four States will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, in conjunction with the downtown Joplin Third Thursday event.
Taste of the Four States is a celebration of the local restaurant scene. Vendors and restaurants will set up tables inside a large tent that will be located in the 200 block of South Main Street, and for $15 per person folks will be able to wander from table to table sampling food and beverages. If you want to grab a beer, there will be a separate tent for that as well.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit many of the great restaurants in the Joplin area, and Taste of the Four States brings some of the town’s greatest chefs and their fantastic creations into one place. It’s pretty much a food version of the Major League Baseball All-Star game, but without the spitting.
My friend Jim West called me and gave me the heads-up on this year’s Taste of the Four States.
The reason Jim called me was to tell me that he needed to reschedule the Soul Food Cook-off, which also was set for Thursday, Sept. 20, in downtown Joplin. When Jim discovered that Taste of The Four States was set for the same night, he opted to move the Soul Food contest to Thursday, Oct. 18.
“We didn’t want to conflict with Taste of the Four States,” Jim said.
So those of you who were planning on competing or attending the Soul Food Cook-off, it will get under way at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the Community Service Center, 110 Main St.
For more information on the Soul Food Cook-off, call 417-782-0055 or 417-483-1752. Tickets to Taste of the Four States are available at Caldone’s, 218 S. Main St., and at Way Beyond Events, located above Caldone’s. You may also buy tickets at the event on Thursday.
JOPLIN, Mo. —
I need to clear something up.
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