But The Hope Heart Institute figures food festivals are the perfect place to take a bite out of heart disease, the number one killer disease in America.
Nearly 40 vendors at this year's bite took Hope Heart's challenge to offer at least one healthier option on their menu, with fewer calories and less fat. I joined KOMO Radio's Gregg Hersholt and Manda Factor, Warm 106.9's Mark Christopher, and the new Mrs. Washington, Amy Clark, in judging the entries to choose a winner.
The offerings are both creative diverse, including Hawaiian noodles and chicken, spring rolls with shrimp, oyster sliders, boiled potatoes with dill sauce, whole wheat halibut tacos, turkey sandwiches and a variety of salads.
To be clear, the goal is "healthier" options, which in is not necessarily the same as "healthy." For example, the folks at Bumpus Burger told us their hand made veggie burger was made of rice, oats, cheese and vegetables. It was served with more cheese on top in a bread bun. A tasty alternative to a big fat greasy burger, yes. But questionable if you're concerned about carbs. The halibut in the halibut taco at Edwardo's Famous Tacos is deep fried (and delicious!) but it's a healthier option than a much larger serving of fried fish with french fries.
During the judging, two salads were top picks: A grilled asparagus arugula salad from California Pizza Kitchen (also a crowd favorite) and a spinach, arugula, garbanzo bean "cone salad" from Relish Burger Bistro in Seattle's Westin Hotel. The greek salad from Azar's Gyro Station was also a contender. But after all the bites were tasted and all the ballots were tallied- the winner, by a heart beat- was a light and tasty veggie crepe from a company called Crepe Tyme.
The judging, of course is subjective and a matter of personal taste among us 5 judges. You might prefer the lightly-dressed, pulled Chicken Ceasar Salad at Warthog BBQ, or the fresh Turkey Sandwich on wheat with leafy greens, from Goldberg's Famous Delicatessen. The point is, if you want to do "The Bite" with your heart and health in mind, there are many more alternatives this year besides already fattening foods rolled in batter and deep-fried. Just look for the signs that say Hope Heart Right Bite- and ask about their "healthier" options.
And if you just can't resist trying the deep-fried lasagne or deep-fried peanut butter and jelly, just remember the magic word- moderation!