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Tasty time of year Richard Pena | Sat, Jul 14 2012 12:00 PM

A couple of weeks back I read an article in one of the daily papers that sort of piqued my interest. It seems that the New York Public Library is displaying a replica of an automat in one of its spaces for the education and edification of all.

Before we go any further we might have to do a bit of educating of our own.

For those in doubt, an automat was a method of merchandising ready-made meals in some of the Eastern cities such as New York and Philadelphia.

This came about nearly 100 years ago and lasted until about the 1930’s. One would enter this enticing place where food was deliciously displayed behind glass enclosures. Each one had a small window that would open when the necessary coins were inserted in the slots and, voila, one had anything from a snack to a full meal. They were very popular and attracted all classes, even some of the prominent show-business folks of that age.

Now to our knowledge Bonita or Chula Vista never had an automat. They did not need one.  They had something as unique and somewhat better. They had Taste of Bonita. This highly popular festive affair will be staged on Monday July 16, 2012.  The location will be in the dining area of the Chula Vista Golf Course.

We have written of Taste many times in the past. Because of its storied history, however, many of the details of the affair need repeating. It, originally, was the brainchild of the late Diane Cousino. Diane, a local activist, and her husband, Don, were interested in a couple of the local charities. So she dreamed up the concept of Taste of Bonita to raise a few bucks for the good of the order, as they say.  Little did she know that she was spawning a tradition that has taken on a life of its own.

Taste was idle for a couple of years but then another local activist, Carol Hammond, latched on to the notion a few years ago and resurrected it, once more to make a few bucks, this time, for the benefit of the Bonita Museum.  As a result, for a mere $20 the diner can partake of the best of some 15 or more of the local eateries. They include such South Bay favorites as Applebee’s, and both the Bonita Golf Club and the host establishment, the Chula Vista Golf Club.  As one walks around the dining area he will see the offerings of Costco Wholesale, Maye’s Dessert Bistro, Mamelas & Thai Bistro and Starbucks Coffee.

You are not through yet.  You have to sample the contributions of Subway, Bonita’s fine restaurants, Romesco and Via Lago Trattorie.  And there is also Trader Joe’s, Villa Bonita Senior Living and Vons Market of Bonita.

We have learned that Bob Bell will reprise his role as the master of ceremonies.  The local guitar virtuoso, Aaron Wooton, will entertain with classic Latin and jazz favorites.

Bell will officiate at the awarding of prizes which, this year, are quite attractive and numerous.  There are, for example, tickets to Legoland, the Midway, SOHO Museum, the S.D. Repertory Theater, Hornblower cruises, the zoo, the Birch Aquarium, the Natural History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum.  There will also be many gift certificates to many local restaurants.

I have received an e-mail from Julie Gay, the museum’s director, who reminds me that there might be some folks around who are not familiar with the Chula Vista Golf Course.  It is directly across Bonita Road from the Vons Shopping Center.  There is ample parking in the course’s parking lot as well as the space next to the County Library and the Bonita Museum.  There is also ample seating in the clubhouse.

There are three reasons for coming to Taste of Bonita. You are helping the museum, you are getting better-than average food, and you are renewing old acquaintances. What could be better than that?

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