Taste of Old Town 2014 - recap

The past two years, we attended the Tequila Trail (2012/2013) but this year the event got a new name! So welcome to the Taste of Old Town everyone! With so many other events under the "Taste of" branding, it was sure to draw an even bigger crowd than before! The event had designated driver tickets (food only) and regular tickets (food and tequila/beer) from 16 participating restaurants.

Here's the flyer by the fire. Ha, that rhymes a bit! The event was on Thursday Sept. 18 from 6-9pm in fabulous Old Town San Diego.

The event had a raffle that included Old Town restaurant gift certificates, tequila, and more prizes. More good reasons to come back to Old Town!

We had been waiting all day for this event. We met up with our friend Jon and as soon as we had our tasting guides, we hit our first stop at The Patio. Their delicious mexican mole had a flavorful sauce that was especially good with the super tender meat! There was also Pacifico beer served here for those drinking.

We like Barra Barra Saloon due to their samples from the previous two years. This year they served Sea Bass Ceviche again with a mango twist and a light citrus zest. The Colorado Chili meat was oh so tasty too. The rice was really broken up and soaked up the flavor.

The Milagro Tequila ladies are here to represent! That blue color is so pretty! They served a tasty cocktail instead of shots of tequila.

Rust General Store wins best themed participant, at least in my book! Don't these uniforms feel so old-timey!? I love the friendly servers who were outfitted in them!

Rust General Store served us mini sandwiches - two types of sausages served in their soft pretzel bread. What was cool was that there was a PART TWO as well! In the back of the store, they were serving delicious drinking chocolate with the slightest bit of spice and some special cookies.

Casa Del Reyes had something a bit different: ensalada de nopales (cactus salad). I'd say it was interesting but slimy. Dennis was okay with this dish since it was a whole lot less slimy than any other version of catcus we had tried. The Mar y Tierra (surf and turf) had skirt steak and crab stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon! Of course delish! I also enjoyed the sweet pineapple empanada dessert with cinnamon vanilla ice cream.

Herradura Tequila was the favorite event drink per the guys. It's got a intense flavor profile.

This shrimp ceviche on a tostada from The Pinada was also light in the citrus department, which is actually the way I prefer mine. So far, ceviches had been pretty good at this event.

Tres Agave Tequila was too strong to me but I'm not so great with tequilas.

We hit our first big line at Casa Guadalajara. But OMG one of our top samples of the night! The shrimp taco was awesome and had a bit of sweetness in there that seemed to work. They also served some grilled mahi mahi on the side. Mine was a bit dry but Dennis's piece was really good.

The bartender created a cactus pear margarita using Grand Leyendo Tequila. A very good cocktail, just what I like!

At The Cosmopolitan Hotel, their sample was stacked! The beef was a little overcooked and greasy (the cooking area was covered with oil). Dennis thought the churro on top was really good.

I've been seeing advertising lately for the new Roca Patron, which is to be their new sipping tequila. Compared to the original though, the old is more mild and a bit smoother in my opinion.

We had to go UPHILL for Old Town Tequila Factory but at least the slow roasted carnitas with smoky sauce was super tender there! Dennis also noted that the plaintains and crispy fried hot apple chimis were excellent and worth the walk.

Espolon Tequila was smoother than the new Roca Patron but still a little rough for me.

Dennis said the BBQ pork shooter at Los Locos was tender but he didn't care for the sauce.

Dos Equis had both beer flavors (red and green bottle) available. The ambassador makes for a nicer picture than the beer taps though!

Cold Stone Creamery came out with a few new creations just for this event. Here we have the margarita sorbet which was mild like the original and quite nice. The other contained a coffee flavor and came with a yummy churro.

Unfortunately Miguel's Cocina wasn't as good as last year. For the same item, this year's shrimp was a little spicy, very salty and very chewy. We also didn't like that there was a line to get in yet the food wasn't fresh (had been sitting in a catering pan).

A tequila named after Frieda Kahlo! I love it just for that! I didn't hear any commentary about this one from the guys. They were just enjoying their tequila shots throughout the event.

Cafe Coyote always holds their tastings upstairs! This year the meat in their carnitas taco was a bit stiff and their complimentary margarita tasted like watered down lemonade. Seemed a little better last year.

The guys took some shots of the Correlejo Tequila and liked it.

Old Town Mexican Cafe fared better. The carnitas and pollo asada street tacos were decent and their chocoflan dessert was so yummy.

The special coconut flavor of 1800 Tequila was out when we got there but the girls were able to shake out a few "empty" bottles enough for me to have a tiny sample. Thanks ladies! I could definitely taste the coconut flavor but yep, still packed quite a punch by itself!

Oh boy. Time was running out and at The Alamo we got the last two pieces of the chicken and rolled beef tacos from the bin. And unfortunately they tasted that way too, colder cheese and a bit stale. I hope it was better at the beginning!

Another shot for the guys... here was Casamigos Tequila which was alright.

We finally finished the night at Rockin' Baja Lobster Coastal Cantina! This was the first really citrusy ceviche (in a shot) so I wasn't a fan of it. I did love the beef and shrimp on top of roasted corn on the cob and their churro dessert. I think it was a big improvement from last year's samples too. We also got seconds and thirds... shhhhhhh!

(picture from previous year's event) There was also Azunia Tequila served here and they made it into a tasty pink cocktail!

(picture from previous year's event) We only missed Fred's Mexican Cafe but they were serving chingadera which was the same as last year. I'm not sure what tequila they were pouring.

We love meeting fellow foodies and happened upon Dunia and Mike who also attended the Latin Food Festival the weekend before. Lots of fun events going on ya know? Maybe we'll bump into them again in the future.

This event had a lot of great food and drinks with friends so of course we really had a good time! Also, since there are fewer places, we didn't have to rush between stations like we do at the big taste events. Highly recommended for next year if you are in town for this one!

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J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats's picture
Submitted by J.S. @ Sun Dieg... (not verified) on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 7:55am

So much food and tequila! I imagine you can get quite full/drunk as this event. I did a tequila tasting once in Old Town and even though I could tell it was really good tequila I could not just drink it on its own. I kept chewing on the ice cubes in my drink as chaser haha.

And yum chocoflan! That is something I need in my life.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:51pm

sometimes even just 10 samples can fill you up at an event! i prefer mixed drinks over drinking any kind of alcohol straight. i do appreciate a very smooth tequila though. you should do a chocoflan recipe to fix that craving!

leanne's picture
Submitted by leanne (not verified) on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:23am

That's a lot of food! That shrimp taco looks amazing.

I'm also impressed by how many tequila offerings there were. Who knew tequila could be so varied and plentiful?

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:00pm

we were stuffed after this event! this event had 14 tequilas but there were also a good number at this year's latin food festival and over 50+ at the Spirits of Mexico grand tasting last year. those tequila masters take great pride in their products!

Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 2:52pm

Woo, lots of samples! I think I never want to go to this event because I find parking in Old Town to be incredibly difficult (unless you follow someone like a hawk back to their car). Loved the tall, stacked sample from the Cosmopolitan! Lots of great stuff here!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:03pm

we've been relatively lucky when we go but it could also be because it's in the middle of the week or during the fall/winter when there are less tourists! i think there are some great restaurants in the area so hope you tackle parking to make it out one day!

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