Ten Hits and Misses (Including One Thing That Really Sucked) About the Pretty Good Great Arizona Picnic

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival's signature event, the Great Arizona Picnic, is happening this weekend. And because this year features 100-degree temps along with picnic pickin's from more than 80 restaurants and beer vendors, it's probably a good idea for those who plan on attending the event's second day of festivities to have a solid game plan in order to make the most of the day.

Here are 10 quick ups and downs from Saturday's Great Arizona Picnic that should help -- or, just make you hungry.

1.) MISS: Not-Ready Vendors -- For an event that starts at noon and when the lunchtime hunger pangs are in full swing, it was disappointing to see many food vendors sans, well, food when the gates opened. I was told by Scottsdale's new SOL Cocina when I walked up to its offering-empty table, "We're keeping you in angst so that you'll be excited to come back and see what we have later." Really?

2.) HIT: The Layout -- Scottsdale's Civic Center Plaza made for a sprawling scene with plenty of walking room. For seating, grassy areas were available to park one's picnic keister and enjoy some live music and munchies, and a beer section with tables and chairs helped to party up the picnic, brewski-style.

3.) MISS: Waiting for Water -- Thanks to technology, an unseasonably hot day can be planned for in advance. To bad this wasn't the case at the picnic, whose guests could have benefited from additional water and beverage stations instead of sweltering in long lines.

4.) HIT and MISS: Cathy's Rum Cake- - After shuttering her Chandler location last November, it was sure nice to see the lovely Cathy Bua of Cathy's Rum Cake chatting with picnic guests. The now-catering-only Bua told me her friends wanted to make her famous. Too bad they didn't think to try her strawberry French vanilla cake they were serving -- the strawberries were frozen and rock solid.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld

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