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If you're a foodie like us and prefer mixed drinks over beer, then Hillcrest's Taste 'N Tinis is for you! Pick up a ticket, walk, eat, drink, then take the free trolley to hit the other side of Hillcrest for the rest of the participating locations. I searched our calendar archives and we've posted Taste 'N Tinis since 2009! *gasp* How did I miss it for the first four years!? Better late than never!
This year, Hillcrest Taste 'N Tinis was on Thursday, December 12, 2013 between 5-9pm. We picked up our tickets, received a cute mini martini glass for sampling alcohol, then got our 21+ wristbands for alcohol access.
Our first stop was across the street from will-call: Kasi - Fresh Fast Indian Food. The sample they provided was surprisingly good for my expectations of a 'fast food' type of place. I would definitely try this place out in the future if I were in the area. Next we stopped by Buffalo Exchange for our first drink of the night - a chocolate martini. We also stopped by Babycakes expecting cupcakes but they were also serving chocolate martinis with a vanilla twist.
Next we crossed the street to go to Tractor Room. I remember trying pheasant sausage here last year during Taste of Hillcrest 2012 so I was happy to see it again for this event. This year, they paired it with fried polenta verses cornbread like last year but the sausage was the same fantastic meat as before.
We treked into a few other alcohol-serving locations including Jake's on 6th which looks like a very cozy place to hang out with buddies. Here our friendly bartender offered us a choice of a white or red wine.
At Harvey Milk's American Diner, we tasted sliders pictured on the left and meatloaf on the right. The sliders weren't anything special but I did like the meatloaf flavor.
Whole Foods always seems to have very tasty and healthy foods available. The item to the left was some kind of pancake and was really delicious. The strawberry salad had a vinagrette dressing and was very light. There were also some nuts for sampling.
We went to D Bar twice this year (birthday and revisit) but had never really ordered one of their desserts before. This sample was very sweet. The servers also handed out mini samples of one of their house drinks.
Snooze is next door to D Bar and always has a line out the door, kind of like Hash House a few streets down. We were curious what the buzz was about and after sampling the OMG french toast (brioche stuffed with mascarpone and topped with vanilla creme, salted caramel and strawberries), we want to come back! I asked for a second sample on my way out.
Bombay Exotic Cuisine does a buffet sampling (same as Taste of Hillcrest) so this place can easily fill you up if you aren't careful! I liked the masala pasta the most out of the selection here but it's all pretty good.
Brazen BBQ served us some cajon crawfish and grits which went together really well. Usually we see grits on a breakfast menu so this was different.
Further down the path, Fig Tree cafe had a tasty eggplant taco that was lightly fried and paired with leafy greens and feta cheese.
Luna Grill sampled their juicy chicken kabobs, simple yet satisfying basatmi rice, and mediterranean salad.
At Urban Mo's we were waiting in line for some chicken wings. I noticed that they were teaching line dancing out on the dance floor which is free between 7-8:30 on Thursdays and Sundays! I'm coming back for that!
Fiesta Cantina is a sports bar at one end of the Hillcrest taste events and was serving a santa monica roll, consisting of black beans, chicken and other cheesy goodness in a fried shell. Across the street was Edible Arrangements but they were already closed! Boo! Next door was Ortega's Mexican Bistro so we had a little more alcohol there.
It was getting late and Au Revoir (which I really wanted to try) was out of samples! Across the street we mollified ourselves with Pinkberry! Honestly, you can't go wrong with yogurt!
We also stopped by Crest Cafe which was serving samples of their soup.
At this point, we had to make our way over to the OTHER side of the map with less than 30 minutes left on the clock! We quickly hit a few more places including Gossip Grill with their tomato bisque and Hillcrest Brewing Company for some beer.
Heat Bar & Kitchen was our final stop (and the furthest point on the map) and we arrived right at 9 or so. Luckily they had four samples left, enough for everyone in our party! Another taster said it was one of the best samples of the night but I don't remember liking it all that much.
I thought we could hit more places but we always run out of time! Most places were relatively fast to get in and out of but Bombay tends to have a longer wait due to the buffet style sampling. At the end of the night, we were already busting at the seams so extra time wouldn't have done us much good! This is a great event though and we're planning on going next year!
535 Robinson Ave
San Diego CA 92103