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It's been a decade since we first did our first Taste of Downtown in 2006! It's usually held on a Thursday evening for four hours, giving you freedom to choose which places you want to go. This year didn't seem too busy or maybe we managed to beat the crowds! I think there were 40+ restaurants participating this year! There were also several locations that served alcohol samples as part of the taste! It was already sounding like a fun night before we began!
One of the best samples was from Tender Greens. They always come up with very creative bites like this duck confit on brioche toast with a savory sweet pepper jelly and pickled fennel! What a glorious bite!
Whiskey Girl got their wings down pat with the sweeter Thai Chili sauce.
Oh hello lovely berry mojito. I'll take a bite of that bread and creamy bisque as well. Thanks Dobson's.
The pasta (strozzapretti?) from BIGA didn't look like much but my was it tasty! Second, really loved the smoked gouda truffle mac & cheese with bacon lardon from the now closed Blush Ice Bar East + West Kitchen... At least they went out with a bang!
Gourmet India had this delicious potato fritter item. The meat sausages could be paired with a choice of sauces which were very spicy!
Blind Burro has nice fresh bite with the meat and corn.
At Tilted Kilt, this simple looking shepherd's pie was piping hot and so addicting that I didn't want to share with Dennis. I enjoyed the pizza served at Coyote Ugly. The sausages reminds me of the meatda from That Sicilian Thing!
I remember having four flavor options at Donut Bar during Taste of Downtown in 2014 and this year's options just blew me out of the water. ANY DONUT YOU WANT. Freedom of choice is beautiful people! Dennis picked a fabulous pistachio creme brulee and I decided on a simpler, blueberry meyer lemon one. Since it was packed in a to-go box, we saved these for breakfast the next day! SCORE.
Bread pudding at The Field, which we reviewed last year. Now THAT is a keeper! I can't remember the cocktail that was served here.
Ciro's Pizza with their basic but satisfactory pizza slices. The right pizza had buffalo sauce on it!
The meat on the duck wings at Searsucker were meager but at least the seasoning was nice. I still hate the syrupy sweet chicken and waffles sample from Tin Roof. Sorry. Here's a sandwich bite from Henry's Pub. Moonshine Flats will always be my dancing spot but they serve food at The Deck. The pork meat was savory but there was too much biscuit!
Street tacos from Carne Asada Bravo.
At Rei de Gado, the filet mignon wrapped in bacon was delish. Parq's item was too saucy sweet and kind of icky after sitting out for a bit. Bubs at the Ballpark had chicken wings and tator tots! The next place had seared tuna.
The tacos at Time Out Sports Tavern had plenty of creaminess from the avocado mix and the meat was flavorful. The drinks contained grapefruit juice, adding a bitterness to each sip.
Analog had some kind of cinnamon type drink. We came too late for the food.
Rustic Root had bite size porcini dusted scallops as well as a mini mai tai drink. Don Chido had mako shark ceviche on a homemade tortilla chip. it was tiny but a great little bite! Crab cakes from the Sixth Avenu Bistro had been sitting out but still had some crabbiness to them. Ocean Pacific Grille has spoon size bites with marinaded octopus. Some pieces a little chewier than others but nice overall.
Bice had their mushroom ravioli, same as our lunchtime review. There was also a refreshing pineapple flavored drink being served here. By the time we hit Royal India, I could feel the weight of the food in my stomach. Luckily the restaurant had healthier options like tikki masala and vegetables. There was a cute little dessert bite from Le Parfait Paris. We picked up two desserts from Cute Cakes. One was eaten inside but I lost the other one (accidentally) on our way to the next place. =(
Last stop of the night. Chillbox is a greek yogurt chain from the LA area that has recently opened in San Diego! These pre-mixed flavors started with the greek yogurt base (either vanilla or chocolate), then mixed in appropriate combinations like smore or birthday cake, etc.
We missed a few spots in the East Village side and Seaport Village but we didn't have room for additional eats! As always, a good way to explore a neighborhood and perhaps find a new restaurant that you love.
Disclaimer: We were provided complimentary tickets to this event. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.
Official Event info: Enjoy tantalizing tastes from more than 40 Restaurants located throughout the Gaslamp Quarter, Headquarters, Core District and East Village neighborhoods. Thursday, September 15, 2016 | 5 PM – 9 PM Tickets $30 in advance & $35 on the day of the event Complimentary Shuttle Service throughout the Taste