Taste of Greenville Avenue fattens you up before the Cedar Springs street party

It’s time for a good Halloween TOGA party  — and you don’t have to embarrass yourself to do it.

At last year’s Taste of Greenville Avenue (TOGA), even restaurateurs in the area will tell you, was kinda miserable. It was cold and rainy out, and if you weren’t getting soup or hot coffee, it was hard to wander around thinking of food. But the forecast for this Saturday — along Energy Square at University Boulevard, where it will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. — is for a high of 70 and fairly clear skies. It may be one of your last chances to enjoy the sunshine on a weekend before real autumn sets in.

And judging by the selections at a preview tasting yesterday, the food is a good reason to show up.

Nearly 30 restaurants, all with venues along or near Greenville Avenue, from Presbyterian Hospital down to the Lowest Greenville entertainment district, will have booths out, selling bites from $3 to $6 … plus booze. Gotta have the booze. Among the samples I tasted was bacon on a stick from Brian Luscher at The Grape. The Grape is known as Dallas’ most romantic restaurant, but there’s nothing romantic about this intoxicating thick slab of pork belly, glazed in a sweet-and-savory brown sugar concoction that’s addictive. It’s really the perfect Halloween treat: You look like a zombie scavenging for flesh while eating it. It’s that good.

Another favorite were the meat and dessert pies from The Original Fried Pie Shop. Bigger than Goliath’s empanada, these crescent-shaped treats just go to show that, savory or sweet, deep-frying dough makes everything better. The brisket and pulled pork are good, but try the apricot, cherry, vanilla, pecan and chocolate varieties. I did. Seriously. It’s not pretty in my full-length mirror right now.

The Blue Fish’s portable ahi tower, served in a sugar cone, is a spicy mix of tuna tartare and a seafood salad.

Other restaurants include Twisted Root, Rusty Tacos, Pinkberry and I Fratelli Pizza (some of the best pizza in Dallas). You can’t eat it all. But don’t let that stop you from trying.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones