Taste of Downtown 2016 - recap

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!

Tender Greens at Taste of Downtown 2016

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 at Taste of Downtown 2016

Whiskey Girl got their wings down pat with the sweeter Thai Chili sauce.

Dobsons at Taste of Downtown 2016

Oh hello lovely berry mojito. I'll take a bite of that bread and creamy bisque as well. Thanks Dobson's.

BIGA at Taste of Downtown 2016   Blush at Taste of Downtown 2016

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 at Taste of Downtown 2016

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 at Taste of Downtown 2016

Blind Burro has nice fresh bite with the meat and corn.

Tilted Kilt at Taste of Downtown 2016 Coyote Ugly at Taste of Downtown 2016

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!

Donut Bar at Taste of Downtown 2016

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.

The Field at Taste of Downtown 2016

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 at Taste of Downtown 2016

Ciro's Pizza with their basic but satisfactory pizza slices. The right pizza had buffalo sauce on it!

Searsucker at Taste of Downtown 2016   Tin Roof at Taste of Downtown 2016

Henry's Pub at Taste of Downtown 2016   the Deck at Moonshine Flats at Taste of Downtown 2016

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!

Carne Asada Bravo at Taste of Downtown 2016

Street tacos from Carne Asada Bravo.

Rei de Gado at Taste of Downtown 2016   Parq at Taste of Downtown 2016

Bub's at the Ballpark at Taste of Downtown 2016 Social Tap at Taste of Downtown 2016

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. 

Time Out Sports Tavern at Taste of Downtown 2016

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 at Taste of Downtown 2016   Don Chido at Taste of Downtown 2016

Sixth Avenue Bistro at Taste of Downtown 2016   Ocean Pacific Grill at Taste of Downtown 2016

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.

Rockin Baja Lobster at Taste of Downtown 2016

Rockin' Baja Cantina. We've seen THIS before at Taste of Old Town! :)

Bice at Taste of Downtown 2016   Royal India at Taste of Downtown 2016

Le Parfait Paris at Taste of Downtown 2016   Cute Cakes at Taste of Downtown 2016

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. =(

Chillbox at Taste of Downtown 2016

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
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Soo@hungryones.com's picture
Submitted by Soo@hungryones.com (not verified) on Sun, 10/23/2016 - 7:35am

That's awesome you went to so many places and sampled so much food! Did you get there right when it started and power walk the whole event?

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sun, 10/23/2016 - 7:12pm

we started about 30 minutes in due to traffic, parking and ticket pickup. still made very good progress that day so nothing to complain about. =)

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table's picture
Submitted by Laura @ Sprint ... (not verified) on Sun, 10/23/2016 - 11:46pm

I'm so sad I was out of town for this! It sounds like a great one - we go to Padres games all the time and I'm forever trying to think of new places to have dinner nearby.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 10/25/2016 - 11:44am

Blind Burro and Bub's have some good treats and are very close to the stadium!

Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Mon, 10/24/2016 - 4:42pm

I'm always blown away by the amount of stops you two manage! It's unreal. Donut Bar is so awesome - I can't believe they let people choose ANY donut!!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 10/25/2016 - 11:46am

well it was only 30ish stops haha. having donut choices makes that one of the best stops ever. =)

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