Taste of North Park 2014 - recap

I consider Taste of North Park to be one of the booziest "Taste of" events. There are multiple breweries that participate and a couple of my buddies attend for the BEER over the food! Dennis and I of course set out to sample as much FOOD as possible! That's just how we roll...

This year's event was on Saturday October 11, 2014. They did a new pricing tier where prices increased as the event neared: two weeks in advance was $30, one week in advance was $35 and week of was $40. They didn't even sell tickets day of event, only online. That was okay for us since we bought early bird tickets. I didn't like that that they wait until the event start time before handing out the paper tickets and alcohol bands but we just did our best to avoid crowds nearest the ticketing area.

IT'S FOOD TIME!

The fries from Redwing Bar and Grill were tasty with the extra pow of bacon and onions!

We tried the Southern Fried Oyster Po'Boys at Urban Solace. This over-breaded dish was not quite my thing but the bamboo plates are cool.

True North Tavern served their roasted pepper tator tots which are a bit on the greasier side for me!

My sample of teriyaki chicken at Old Mill Cafe was a little dry but described as sweet and juicy for Dennis. Waypoint Public served corn pork hash from their brunch menu. The horseradish onion sauce made it distinct and worked well with the potato, corn and pork.

West Coast Tavern had a beef meatball with strawberry marinara paired with pinenut forbidden rice.

Here's a meatball from the Smoking Goat and beef and pork chili from End Zone which needed a little bit of salt.

Bazinga Eatery is newer in the area and replaced Sea Rocket Bistro. Their first sample was french onion mac and cheese which was a little flat in taste. The second sample was a mac and cheese ball which was crunchy enough but could use a brighter sauce like marinara.

Underbelly Ramen opened their second location in North Park recently and served a sample of their tonkasu ramen. It was a bit plain and meat would have added more dimension. Safehouse just opened the day before the event and had an asian influenced menu. They were making fresh samples and changing it up. We got their duck wrap bun which was decent.

Coin-Op Game Room had basic nachos and ground beef. I was surprised that they even served food there since it was filled with video game machines!

Average edamame and tuna tartar on a chip at Zensei Sushi.

Tacos Perla served a yummy baby octopus sample freshly prepared with avocado. They also served a refreshingly delicious cucumber mint drink.

At Wang's North Park, we had to wait in line for a while and finally got this mini taco-like item. It was full of stuff (veggies and either meat or tofu) but the proteins had no presence in it. It really tasted like a mess... At Queen Bees their shrimp ceviche was ok, but they don't actually serve food normally.

Ritual Kitchen and Beer Garden served spotted bass ceviche.

City tacos opened a few months before the event and served yummy yummy tacos! The mahi al adobo taco had very tender fish and mango habanero jelly while the pollo asado chicken was flourished with fresh greens and toasted almonds.

Rancho Cochina's tacos had a spicy kick but was on the saltier side.

At El Comal there was cochinita pork (little pig) where the sauce was good but meat was a little dry. They also served smoked marlin tacos which was different but interesting.

We've tried the beer battered fish taco at U31 in previous years which is decent with a twist of lime.

U31 also had a new sample of the house smoked pastrami slider with its yummy bread, tasty meat and good meat-bread ratio.

The deep fried eggplant pizza with parmesan and basil was yummy at Urbn Coal Fired Pizza. I would order that! The spring splash pizza at Splash Wine Lounge & Bistro was a very delish pizza with a crisp and thin crust.

The pizza at Calabria had cute sized sausages and wasn't greasy.

Lefty's Chicago Pizza was overall ok. Their al capone pasta with bacon and artichoke was slightly better than the the deep dish ricotta and spinach supreme, which had too strong of an onion taste.

Claire de Lune served a yummy spinach mushroom quiche. We also really like their passion fruit iced tea. Claire Sunset Temple had veggie lasagna made from scratch which was pretty good too.

Venissimo Cheese sampled cheese with fig jam and pistachio on top!

I like the "toothpick heaven" basket!

Heavenly Sent Desserts had samples of flourless chocolate truffle cake and carrot cake with pecans with their nice and lighter frostings. Wow Wow Waffle soaked one of their waffles with syrup so it was a bit sweet plus my piece was overcooked. Their other flavor, 50/50 nut butter was a bit thick to me so I wasn't too impressed overall.

The bread pudding from Cardamom Cafe and Bakery was creamy and fluffly but it was thick in the middle which isn't my thing in general. We got a swirl mix of strawberry fields and pomegranate raspberry at Yog-Art Yogurt.

Hammond opened in June and we tried three of four available flavor samples. The tahitian vanilla and raspberry sorbet were great but our favorite was the chocolate coconut with macadamia nut with its slight coconut infused flavor and a softer textured nut here and there. Yum!

Swami's Cafe ran out of food. I've had bad luck with whatever restaurant is located in this particular building because we've missed out several times it seems!

There were multiple beer samples available for drinkers. Rip Current Brewing had a really cool prop which I liked. We also tried a few beers from The Lost Abbey Brewery. The Avant Garde beer was more malty while the Red Barn Spices beer almost has an orangey taste but decent. We had a few options at Toronado and I really enjoyed the Radler beer sample.

This guy won some homebrew contests and he was here in person pourins samples of Stone To Go IPA and Stone Coffee Milk Stout from Stone Brewing Co.

They also had craft cocktail tastes available for purchase ($1) but I mainly saved my stomach for the food. I did try Wang's cocktail, which won awards but was not my kind of flavor. Maybe the sweet and sour is what I tasted? I heard Bar Pink had a really good drink (not sweet this year) and have enjoyed them in the past.

They had non-alcoholic drinks at this event too. Subterranean Coffee Boutique had a vegan iced coconut chai. Influx had their banana chocolate expresso.

The map wasn't very good this year and had a few misplaced locations. It's also a bit hard because they don't show side streets. Luckily we are a little more familiar with the area based off previous events and dining around here. We hit all the food places (except Swami's) and the guys had plenty of alcohol. It did seem a bit less busy this year and we hardly had to wait in lines. I still think it's a fun event and with the coming and going of restaurants, you never know what you'll find!

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Comments

Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Mon, 01/05/2015 - 9:30am

Seriously. You NEED to lead one of these Tastes of 'X' one day for a bunch of us. I am in awe at how much you are able to sample, take a pic, and remember the details of what you ate. Did you say the $30 ticket includes beer tastings as well? Were all these restaurants within a decent walking span of each other? I bet you were there for like 3 hours! The ceviche sample looks divine !

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:49am

Dennis and I could lead a small pack but don't slow us down haha! I usually take notes or wait for the food while Dennis takes pictures. Teamwork! The $30 includes alcohol samples so you're definitely gonna fill up between beer and food samples. It's all walking distance, mainly down 30th street and university ave. This event was four hours long so we were able to cover the majority of it.

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