Taste of Downtown San Diego 2006
San Diego's 7th annual Taste of downtown offers more than 50 restaurants for your tasting pleasure. The event started from 5PM and ended 9PM on 9/14/06. It's $25 per person but it's worth it for the price and large sampling. All the restaurants are within walking distance of each other in the Gaslamp and Little Italy area of downtown San Diego. We managed to hit a third of the restaurants on the list. Next year we'll split up and try to get them all!
List of Restaurants:
1. Crunch Time Popcorn
2. House of Blues
We reached this place near the end of the night and by then, the food wasn't piping hot anymore, not that it mattered much. The catfish was oddly flavored, as if they were trying hard to make it cajun style, but failed miserably.
3. La Gran Tapa
4. Le Cake Chateau
5. Le Fountainbleau
6. RA Sushi Bar Restaurant
This was the Viva Las Vegas roll. It looked appetizing and was tasty enough for us. The lotus root chip was very yummy.
7. Sixth Avenue Bistro
8. St. Tropez Bakery and Bistro
9. The Local
They gave out 7 different samples of local beers brewed in San Diego. Two from Karl Strauss: Red Trolley and another one of their brews, one from Pizza Port Solana Beach, and a few other local favorites.
10. Yard House
11. Buon Appetito
12. Cabo Cafe
13. Caffe Italia
14. Chi Chocolat
15. Indigo Grill
16. It's a Grind Coffee House
17. Sogno Di Vino
18. Sushi Fix
19. Vincenzo Ristorante Italiano
20. Zia's Bistro
22. Belo Restaurant and Nightlife
We all enjoyed the lovely plates and even rearranged them to complete the puzzle. The creole lobster 'mac and cheese' was pretty good, and one of us finished off the plate after giving the photographer only one bite. But don't worry, the photographer was offered more to make it up!
23. Blue Ginger
The food here was like Panda Express food, except pricier.
24. Cheese Shop Restaurant
They had some good desserts and sandwiches as samples. The signature sandwich tasted the best.
We thought this was one of the worst samples. Not only was it tiny but it was also boring in taste: a cherry tomato atop of (?) cream in a custard cup.
The sample here was a mini-version of a pizza from their regular menu. Some of us liked the taste and some didn't.
27. Dick's Last Resort
This place is where the waiters are rude to you on purpose and it's kind of entertaining. Just make sure you know that before going to this place or else you won't like the service too much. This was kind of like a peanut buttery custard pie and you can really taste the peanut butter.
28. Dussini Mediterranean Bistro
This was easily agreed upon as one of our favorite places on this trip. The server graciously gave each of us a huge piece of lobster in our Lobster Ravioli sample. It was so soft and delicious. We give it two thumbs up!
29. Fred's Mexican Cafe
The Fried Calamari and Beef Chimichenga sample here was so-so. The calamari was a little tough and the chimichenga was not memorable enough to remember.
30. Gaslamp Tavern
Many of the people we talked to between restaurants talked about how they really liked the food here. I can't exactly figure out what the food is called from the menu online though. When I called the restaurant, the person on the phone had no idea what was served on Wednesday.
32. Henry's Pub
This restaurant offered us their Finnish Peppered Salmon. The salmon was a little bit dry when we had it but if you ordered it fresh at the restaurant, rather than food that sits out waiting to be sampled, it may be more pleasant.
33. Jolt'n Joes
We tried all three of their samples. Hai declared that the chicken quesadilla was the best of the three. The other two were beef empanada and another that we've forgotten the name of.
34. La Cantina Restaurant and Lounge
35. Masala Spices of India
This place offered two different types of curry, a banana curry and a chicken curry. The chicken curry was the best tasting one. The banana curry was a little too sweet for me, so I didn't like it too much. The curry was served with a side of saffron rice with peas and raisens.
36. McMillan Realty - Wine Tasting
Despite this NOT being a restaurant of any kind, there were four samples of fine drinks, one champagne and three wines, including a dessert wine. Also available were chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate for the dessert wine.
37. Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge
38. Ole Madrid
The chicken had a weird tofu consistency and fairly bland. The paella wasn't anything special and really had no distinct flavors.
39. On Broadway Night Club and Event Center
On the outside were rainbow rolls (salmon, tuna, and yellowtail). They also had a crispy eel roll on another platter. This place was great because the samples were all you can eat. The chef gave us a fresh plate because he said the others have been sitting for a while.
40. Rei Do Gado
We managed to get lucky and make it to this place before they ran out of food! The fried bananas are very popular and quite a treat. This place was also buffet style, with multiple types of food to choose from. No wonder they had to shut the doors 45 minutes early.
41. Sammy's Woodfired Pizza
42. The Field
These are actually OTHER dishes you can get from the Field but they gave out mini cups of shephard's pie. It was mediocre but how accurate can you judge this kind of food with just a tiny sample cup?
43. Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar
44. Buca Di Beppo
45. Cafe Chloe
46. Lotus Thai Cuisine
48. Taco Del Mar
50. Beach City Market
52. Panda Inn
53. Samba Grill