Taste of Downtown 2014 - recap

Apparently October is "Taste of <SD area>" month. There's Taste of Downtown (Oct. 2) and North Park (Oct. 11) plus some new ones we hadn't heard of: Mission Hills (Oct. 14), Bankers Hill (Oct. 22), and Point Loma (Oct. 23). These events are a great way to sample and discover new restaurants in various neighborhoods. OSY was able to attend three of the above but our stomachs wish the events were more spread out, especially after Vegas last week where Dennis insisted we try 2+ buffets!

Anyway, this year's Taste of Downtown was on a Thursday from 5-9pm. Yep, FOUR hours to roam around downtown with bellies to fill. So what did we find this year?

Taste of Downtown 2014 - farmhouse meatballs at Union Kitchen and Tap

First stop was Union Kitchen & Tap which had Farmhouse Meatballs made from Brandt ground beef and ground pork. The lighter Italian and parmesan flavor was delicious and an excellent start to our tasting adventure!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - fish taco, shrimp and garlic bread at Rockin' Baja Lobster

Across the street was Rocking Baja which sounded familiar. I realized we sampled its sister restaurant at Taste of Old Town! I enjoyed the bright flavor of the toppings and crispy battered fish of the taco though the side shrimp was just alright. The crusty garlic bread was beautifully done.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - brownie at Dick's Last Resort

Fun prop alert! I thought the hilarious face was better than the brownie at Dick's Last Resort. Too much Hershey's chocolate made the dessert taste like sugary frosting.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Guiness beef stew at The Field Irish Pub and Restaurant

At The Field, they served Guiness beef stew. The consistency is a little thinner than I prefer but our favorite part was soaking the earthy nutty bread!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - margarita or pepperoni at Ciro's Pizza

At Ciros Pizza, make your pick of pizza by the slice: margarita or pepperoni. "Healthy" me leans toward the veggies. Typical implementation.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - BBQ brisket nachos at Henry's Pub

Henry's Pub (also the home of the amazing CLUCKMOO) served . I noticed that their bbq was on the sweet side.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - duck a l'orange meatball at Florent RestaurantTaste of Downtown 2014 - chicken and waffle nugget at Tin Roof

I prefer a meatier inside but the outer crust of the duck a l'orange meatball from Florent Restaurant was nice. Tin Roof had a chicken and waffle nugget but it was way too sweet! Maybe they left it in the syrup too long...

Taste of Downtown 2014 - thai chili wings at Whiskey Girl

Whiskey Girl had thai chili wings but it did taste a lot like the sweet chili sauce you can find in a bottle. They also had sliders.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - pizza and artichoke dip at Lucky Bastard's Saloon

Bastard Saloon had little pizza slices and artichoke dip. Dennis was a fan of the chips and dip.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - saddle bar seats at Lucky Bastard's Saloon

This is me being silly at Bastard Saloon. I blame it on being a transplant from Texas. Plus the seats were freaking saddles! Giddyup ya'll!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Doner Mediterranean Grill

We liked the semisweet berry lemonade from Doner Mediterranean Grill. The rest of the food (yoghurt sauce, falafel, hummus, pita) wasn't too bad. The bulgur (yellow rice looking item) was a little dry though.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - viva las vegas roll at RA SushiTaste of Downtown 2014 - Sixth Avenue Bistro

The Viva Las Vegas roll at RA Sushi has crab mix with a little bit of spicy raw tuna mix and cream cheese plus a lotus root chip. It's slightly sticky from the sweet sauce. Sixth Bistro Avenue's jambalaya had a bit of kick in it.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - mud pie, creme brulee, cake batter and maple bacon donuts at Donut Bar

I've heard so much hype about Donut Bar and we finally got to try some! The Mud Pie is the yummy flavor you'd expect but in a donut! The Creme Brulee had crystalized glaze on top with a vanilla bean type filling. We didn't get to try the other two choices of Cake Batter and Maple Bacon.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Tender GreensTaste of Downtown 2014 - Tender Greens

I didn't know Tender Greens had a location in downtown! Katie the rep used a blow torch to melt the cheese fresh for tasters. This is CHEESY goodness along with the contrasting balsamic glaze and jam.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Pizza Studio

At Pizza Studio, it only takes 2 minutes to cook after assembling the pizza. These were premade and at room temperature so you don't get quite the same experience. Try these thin crust pizzas fresh off the rack.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - mussel bisque en croute at Dobson's Bar and Restaurant

Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant is somewhat hidden on the Horton Plaza circle drive (or at least I've never seen it before). Their mussel bisque en croute was on the saltier side but paired perfectly with the subdued flakey pastry. Yummy.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - salciccia and pear pizza and beet juice at Pinzimini

Pinzimini was part of the hotel at Horton Plaza. Their Salciccia Pizza had italian sausage and pear in great proportions, a little salty but delicious! I'm soooo not into beets but I was surprised by how much I liked their drink sample, a mix of apple juice, beet juice and lime. Too bad it's not actually on their menu. *sad face*

Taste of Downtown 2014 - ceviche at Spike Africa's

The ceviche from Spike Africa's was seriously black pepper overload (perhaps a fluke?)

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Spike Africa's Chef Kevin Bryan and wife

I did appreciate that Chef Kevin Bryan and his wife were out there greeting guests personally. I'm always a fan of things like that.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - buffalo popcorn chicken at The Commons BarTaste of Downtown 2014 - sweet chili popcorn chicken at The Commons Bar

We hit our first line at The Commons Bar. Five minutes seemed forever since we hardly waited elsewhere. They sampled buffalo and sweet chili popcorn chicken. Of the two, I preferred the latter. The former was not spicy and a little stale.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - twisted mac and cheese at Hard Rock Cafe

I thought immediately "Carbs! Oh no!" at Hard Rock Cafe. The twisted mac & cheese was a bit undercooked and stiff but otherwise the three cheeses and parmesan bread crumbs made the flavor ok.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - fried rice at Mint Thai

The fried rice was pretty tasty at Mint Thai.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Royal India

At Royal India, we sampled food similar to the downtown preview. Their tikki masala chickens is yum!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - bacon wrapped hot dog and taco at La Puerta

Dennis is a fan of La Puerta already and their bacon wrapped hot dog with caramelized onions and peppers makes me a believer too. The taco with vinegared red onions was still good even as leftovers the next day.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - cupcakes, cake pops and macaroons at Heavenly Cupcakes

At Heavenly Cupcake, we had choices! Yay! I'm not into cupcakes much so we grabbed some cake pops and some macaroons. The lemon cake pop was a bit too lemony creme inside but the other (like cookies and cream?) had a balanced flavor inside. The macaroons, especially the pistachio flavor, were my favorite dessert!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - chicken kabab at Meze Greek Fusion

We also had succulent chicken kababs from Meze Greek Fusion, one of the items sampled during the preview.

The Blind Burro - Braised Pork Potstickers

(picture from preview event) Unfortunately we got leftovers at Blind Burro but my friend confirmed his freshly made Braised Pork Potstickers with Achiote were just as good as what we had sampled a few days before.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - beef corndog at Moonshine Flats

Moonshine Flats was HUGE! The map marked it incorrectly so we ended up going across the whole building from the back, past a dancefloor with linedance lessons! I was so tempted to join but we were on a food mission! Next time though! They served an all beef corn dog with their homemade batter with whole grain honey mustard for dipping. This tasty sample was pretty much a full sized corn dog. We decided to take home for later!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - elote at Comun Kitchen and Tavern

Comun Kitchen & Tavern actually changed up their menu throughout the night. At the preview we had acai but this elote was their third sampler. The roasted corn was fabulous and I nursed it for a few more stops so I wouldn't waste a bite.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - ballpark slider at Bub's at the Ballpark

(picture from preview event) At Bub's at the Ballpark we knew the ballpark sliders with chipotle aioli were excellent so we took those home for later (and they were great as leftovers too).

Taste of Downtown 2014 - pork slider at East Village Tavern and Bowl

At East Tavern & Bowl, they served a really awful pulled pork slider. What were they thinking? Too hard bread with a strong sesame flavor took away from the meat, which was tender but lacking a decent sauce.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Alex and Vanessa from Lotus ThaiTaste of Downtown 2014 - Lotus Thai to go

Next door was so much better. Alex and Vanessa from Lotus Thai served us food in a to-go box. So perfect when we were about to burst out our seams!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Mike Hess beer and homemade beer cheese at Knotty Barrel

At the Knotty Barrel, I tasted the Mike Hess beer, which was on the fruitier side so I thought it was pretty decent (this coming from non-beer drinker). They also had homemade beer cheese. Say what? It was cheddar flavored with the texture of hummus.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - grow a pair juice at Juice Saves

I just have to say WOW. The Grow a Pear juice from Juice Saves was AMAZING! It contains carrot, pineapple, orange and pear but is a great blend of fruity yet mild sweet. Plus, it looks really cool with a pineapple top!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - the juicer at Juice Saves

THAT'S the machine they use to juice. Looks kinda like some cannon from far away! The machine is unique and is able to juice a fruit more completely than other machines in the industry.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - garlic roasted chicken wing at Zanzibar

Oh Zanzibar! We love you because of your wicked selection of dessert and sides bar but the garlic roasted chicken wing ain't so bad either.

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Oh So Yummy creations at My Yogurt

We finished the night right with dessert at My Yogurt. For their "sample" they gave each customer a small cup and allowed them free reign on any and as much yogurt and toppings you could pile!

Taste of Downtown 2014 - Ticket

So I'm proud to say we hit every spot except one restaurant that was incorrectly listed as participating and the two located at Seaport Village. Eddie V's and Gelato Paradise are just a bit too out of the way and the shuttle map didn't really seem to show them as part of the route. This event still rocks, even though there are less restaurants than in previous years. Not like you have room for them all anyway! We hope you enjoyed our recap and that you'll try out some of the above restaurants for yourselves!

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Comments

Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 10:46pm

You guys are always so hardcore, hitting up every. single. spot. Damn! I went to this last year and somehow missed it happening this year. Oh well. October is too busy for us for all of these Taste of Events - they need to spread them out some more! Looks like they had some new places participating this year, too, so that's always fun that's it's not just the same places over and over again.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:00pm

we were SO CLOSE to finishing. how else would ya'll know about new places and stuff? the only downfall is that since there are so many, my blog is drowning in recaps... sorry, hope ya'll don't mind too much... i do have a halloween post and some vacation ones coming up soon though! stay tuned! ;)

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