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I admit I get consumed by the idea of sampling EVERY location at a Taste event. I've conquered a few neighborhoods over the years but Hillcrest has eluded me 3 times (2015, 2014, and 2012). Nevertheless, it was time for attempt #4... Official info about the event is here.
This year, our tickets came with a lanyard/clip which meant no worrying about misplaced ticket (and yes, that has happened multiple times). Each participating location was assigned a number which was marked off the ticket to receive your sample.
Our first stop was Napizza with their delicious truffle porcini and margherita pizza with a crunchy crust. We also had two thin crust pizza slices from Wine Steals.
Vom Foss handed us a fresh and unique blueberry salsa as well as the recipe on how to make it! Around the corner, we sampled a tasty pesto steak sandwich at Ike's Place. There was one other sandwich being sampled but the wait was too long for our mission...
One of my favorite samplers was from 100 Wines Kitchen: crispy cauliflower & brussels, chipotle hummus and pork belly flatbread. I LOVED every part of this sample.
Another ample sample was from Pardon My French. Pictured is Escargo with Pesto Butter, Flatbread, and Bacon Honey Bourbon Duck on a stick. The bacon/duck was too sweet but the rest were delicious bites!
We got extremely meat-happy at a couple of places. Pictured above are Rib Tips from Smok'd Hog and Moroccan Lamb Meatballs from TRUST Restaurant, two of the newest restaurants in the area. An oldie but goodie was Brazen BBQ with a wonderful Smoked Peruvian Pork with smashed potatoes.
Luna Grill shared chicken kabob over Mediterranean Salad, same as last year. East Coast Pizzeria had meatballs and we picked up more 'free slice' coupons for our next visit. Micho'z Lebanese Grill was new on the list and served chicken with rice.
The newest trend of sushi burritos landed us at the new Rolled Up. We preferred the Pokey (left) over the T.B.D. (right).
Cali "Q" Burger gave us a quarter of a simple but juicy burger!
Here's Drunken Noodles and an Eggroll from Veganic Thai Cafe.
Time for more thai food at Taste of Thai and Lotus Thai.
Dennis enjoyed the porky broth of the Tonkasu ramen from Tajima Ramen. The samples rotated at Rakitori Japanese Pub & Grill and ours was bulgogi over rice.
Once again Bombay gave everyone a mini buffet. We skipped it earlier while there was a huge line and had no wait near the end of the event! Crest Cafe had both pasta and minestrone soup samples. Oscar Wilde's shared a velveta style mac & cheese.
Seaport Oil & Vinegars sampled popcorn as well as any of their olive oils or vinegars. The Brew Project had pretzels with housemade mustard.
The Baby Brownies with white chocolate from Babycakes were delightful dessert bites. Bread & Cie had peanut butter bars that reminded me of Reese's. Uptown Tavern treated us to brown sugar cinnamon ice cream and a brownie with bacon pieces on top!
I was in sugar heaven when picking up these treats from Candy Depot. We had a few options at Pinkberry and chose pomegranate and chocolate hazelnut yogurt.
This year the map included several *beer & food tastings* locations. Baja Betty's had magnum margaritas and chicken or pork tacos. A few doors down T Lounge handed us a mimosa "with a secret touch" (per the bartender). Vinavanti Urban Winery had white sangria and a bread/cheese sample. Hillcrest Brewing Co. shared meatballs and beer.
On the west side, Urban Mo's served Pulled Pork Slider and some lemonade. Fiesta Cantina always provides margaritas with their Santa Monica Roll. Gossip Grill had cherry poppin lemonade plus chicken pesto alfredo.
There were non-alcoholic drink spots for this event as well. We were loving the coconut apple and cucumber mint lemonades from Lemonade plus there was a choice of three food samples. Rich's Refresh Station had some sexy staff serving "dry hump on the beach", which is the non-alcoholic version of "sex on the beach." Subterranean Coffee Boutique served a chai tea. Juice Crafters had their yummy East West smoothie with an apple, strawberry and banana mix.
Not all items are pictured in the post but we managed to hit ALL 40 participating businesses in the 4 hour time frame. We did it finally! Mission accomplished! Food coma inducing satisfaction or is it pain? Until next year... or the next food event...
Disclaimer: We were provided tickets for this event but all opinions are our own.