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We often attend the Taste of North Park around October so I was surprised to stumble upon a less publicized event called "Tuesday" Taste of North Park. This was a special 'mini' taste held Tuesday June 9, 2015 from 5-8pm in celebration of the HomeBrewers Conference that week! Curious, I picked up tickets for Dennis and me to check it out!
Will-call was available between 3-6pm in front of the North Park Main Street building located at 3076 University Ave. The sweet Dani and Alli were at the table helping me and other event-goers get our tickets! This smaller event was only $20 pre-sale or $25 day of and had 19 participating locations, 15 with food and 4 with beer.
Our first sample of the evening was a Mini Mini Corndog from Coin Op. Yes, mini is repeated twice, according to the server! It was served with a IPA mustard for a sharp kick of contrast to the pillowy dough and meat inside.
Next door we were able to sample the Spinach & Mushroom pizza from Berkeley Pizza. The thicker crust tastes really good and somehow this simple two-vegetable deep dish slice manages to kick flavor butt against all the other slices we've tried here, at least in our opinion! They also have a location in downtown.
We hit up Swami's Cafe next for their acai smoothie sample. The sample isn't too tart or sweet and tastes the way we'd expect it to. I'm glad we hit it early though because attempts in years past, they always ran out of samples before we got there (maybe they don't prep enough?)
At one edge of the taste, we grabbed the bluefin tuna nigiri sample from Saiko Sushi. I'm no expert but felt the fish could have been a little fresher. We do love the random rubber godzilla out on display though!
The ahi poke tacos at West Coast Tavern were like bites of happiness. The crisp shell held together the silky seaweed salad and tuna nibbits, although the fish was a tiny bit salty from the sesame aioli.
Waypoint Public sampled their BLT Deviled Egg. We loved the bacon flavor infusion in the yolk mixture and the way the spicy notes of cayenne hit you at the end.
Here's Tomato Basil Soup from Subterranean Coffee Boutique. It's on the sweeter side with a medium chunky consistancy. I'm not sure if they had spoons for the event but we ended up drinking it out of the cup!
The True North Tavern loaded tator tots with carne asada corn relish turned out to be fantastic! The roasted vegetables were great add-ons to the flavored meat and fried spuds below.
We find lamb hard to master but Urban Solace once again proved their kitchen skills with this Slow Braised Lamb Taco. It was savory, tender and popped with the pickled red onions and almonds.
The samples from Venissimo Cheese are always beautiful. This was the Dutch Girl Goat Gouda cheese, a drier aged variety that was paired with some sticky yet delicious jam.
Rancho Cocina served a multitude of samples. Ms. rancho cocina was out there telling us how she had roasted the zucchini and corn just that morning!
My favorite was her roasted zucchini and corn in the quesadilla. They also served a vegan soy chorizo, a bit spicy and quite different, as well as some chicken taquitos, adequate meat without dryness.
We decided to try the Taro yogurt from Yog-Art Frozen Yogurt. This had a tart similar to the one you get from almost ripe mango.
City Tacos sampled their Carnitas Taco. This was the only place where we had to wait in line, both for food and to receive our order. Despite that, I loved the play of mango and lime against the succulent carnitas meat. That means we've tried at least three of their tacos with success (one and two were featured in Taste of North Park 2014)!
While I was waiting in line at City Tacos, Dennis pushed ahead to the next food stop at El Comal. They were sampling their sopas with chicken or beans. The really thick shells had a slight sour to the dough though I found the chicken sample to taste quite a lot like beans anyway. Go figure!
URBN Coal Fired Pizza had the BEST plates, which were really just coasters but quite creative! I believe this is just a cheese pizza (can't see any other ingredients) but it was toasted to a nice crispy undercrust with a great cheese and sauce blend above.
There were also a couple of beer stops on this taste. From The Lost Abby Brewery, we tried their Judgement Day beer. I can only describe this dark beer as reminding me of a chocolate-like type of flavor without the sugar. Works for me. The second beer sample of the night was the India Pale Ale from Mike Hess Brewery. It had a slight edge of bitterness for me, which I think is typical of a pale ale anyway.
The third place was sampling the Festina Peche from Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. Unfortunately I didn't write down notes for this so pictures will have to suffice.
The last beer sample was Modern Times Beer Hoppy Tropical Wheat. This was light like a pilsner. I have to admit I liked this beer partially because of the location it was poured in... Red Brontosaurus Records. This has to be one of the coolest shops we've been to in a while. The walls are lined with games and the middle rows with records. Gamers and music lovers paradise.
Don't forget about the people working the event! It's a mix of hardworking restaurant staff as well as volunteers for the beer sampling! Give them a smile and say thanks!
After making the rounds, we still had at least 30-45 minutes left before the event was over. We were able to easily make it to all 19 stops and it was plenty of great food and beer samples. The full Taste of North Park is super filling so I did like this simple, just-enough version, especially since there weren't any crowds. Who knows if this is a one time thing or if they will consider doing more 'mini' tastes of North Park!
Official event info:
A special Taste in June in celebration of the HomeBrewers Conference happening on June 9th and 10th! Come sample, sip and shop at some of North Park's best restaurants and boutiques at this self guided walking tour of the well-known 30th Street craft beer corridor. Stop and enjoy bite size samples from North Park breweries and restaurants and samples of craft beer in North Park's finest boutiques and galleries.
- You can redeem your tickets for the punch card on Tuesday 6/9 at 3076 University Avenue between 3:00-6:00pm.
- You will be given a map with all of the tasting locations identified.
- You will need your ID to sample the beer.
- You will be walking around a 1 mile area (not too much but don't wear heals!).
- Your punch card will be marked off at each tasting location. You will sample food from 15 restaurants and sample beer from 4 different breweries which will be located in our shops and galleries.
- You will have 3 hours to eat and drink your way through a great neighborhood so come hungry!
Once you've purchased your tickets, come to the North Park Main Street offices at 3076 University Ave, San Diego, to pick up your map, and get to goin'!