Taste Walk Glendale is an LA food event like no other. While most culinary extravaganzas take place in remote locations, Taste Walk Glendale has the restaurants serve on their home turf, dishing out bottomless samples right outside [or inside] their doors. It’s the adult trick-or-treating of food festivals, with guests going door to door for the next sumptuous bite…and yes, there’s candy too.
This year’s event drew more than 40 food and drink purveyors from Glendale’s seemingly endless list of restaurants. The half-mile stretch along Brand Blvd, from the Americana at Brand mall to just north of the famed Alex Theater, was teaming with live entertainment and booths emblemizing Glendale’s ever-evolving food scene, featuring timeless icons and new players alike.
The historic Porto’s Bakery & Café served its legendary potato balls, as well as an enticing selection of sandwiches and sweet pastries. Just down the road were Rockbird’s ridiculous chicken sandwiches, coated in a just-spicy-enough sriracha glaze or a just-sweet-enough honey mustard. Mr. Furley’s Bar, new to town, offered up its signature pretzels, which were about good enough to make you rush through the door and order a dozen had it not been for the festival taking place.
Khinkali House served up its famous Georgian dumplings and Gauchos village made a rich Brazilian chicken stroganoff in garlic rice. The night, however, went to Rainbow Asian Taco Truck, where the panang curry tacos were nothing short of heaven in a tortilla, followed closely by its ‘geisha’ tacos, wrapped in crispy seaweed.
With a route that could easily entail 3 hours of walking, guests could feel a little better about themselves when indulging in custard from Shake Shack, assorted mocchi from My/Mo Mocchi, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Lolli & Pops many goodies, ranging from ‘crack cookies’ to bacon chocolate and the one-thought-extinct Jolt Cola.
Proceeds from Taste Walk Glendale benefit Glendale Arts and the Alex Theatre, with a portion of the proceeds going to support youth arts programs. For more information, visit TasteWalkGlendale.com
Nearly 50 restaurants and dozens of wineries, breweries and distilleries gathered together to wow guests at the 19th Annual Taste of Huntington Beach. The event, held at the Huntington Beach sports complex amidst the town’s Central Park, was about as SoCal as a food festival can get short of taking place with an ocean view. Full-fledged food festival on one side and concert venue with open seating on the other was more than enough to attract a jovial crowd, lawn chairs in tow, to enjoy a festive vibe amidst bottomless tastes and pours.
Many local hotspots—some native to Huntington Beach, others spread across Southern California—came out to showcase their signatures. Simmzy’s bleu cheese bacon burgers, flame-grilled to melty perfection and topped with fried onion straws, paid an early hellp to the summer bbq season. Bruxie’s fried chicken sandwich was right on par in its crunchy goodness. The Shorebreak Hotel’s diver scallops and black rice added an elegant touch to the afternoon, and 2nd Floor’s meatloaf added an equal dose of American comfort.
The wide array of food offerings each found a pairing with an equally extensive lineup of wines, beers and other creative libations. Honey Pot Meadery, Boochcraft Hard Kombucha and Tree Branch Cider House highlighted these off-kilter purveyors, with strong takes on their namesake drinks. The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Calidad Beer and Riip Beer Company, as well as Ascension Cellars, San Antonio Winery and Vinemark Cellars were just a few premiere beer and wine selections.
Sweets were of course a critical component to Taste of Huntington Beach. Café Cup’s cinnamon rolls, Whata Lotta Pizza’s dessert pizza, Mangiamo Gelato’s hula pie gelato and TeAria’s Thai tea gave dessert-seekers more than they could’ve asked for.
Live music and a fun display of old-school VW buses rounded out the afternoon. All proceeds from Taste of Huntington Beach go to benefit the children’s department of the Huntington Beach Public Library. For more information, visit TasteHB.com.
Master’s of Taste solidified its presence as one of LA’s elite food festivals this year, selling out for the first time and bringing in a record-setting crowd. More than 100 vendors, or ‘Masters’ as they’re called here, showcased an eclectic lineup of global cuisine, craft beer, wine, spirits and—an apparent crowd favorite—desserts for guests to enjoy. Taking place on the field of the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, this year’s Master’s of Taste couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather, and despite its infancy compared to other long-time food festivals, went off without a hitch.
Master’s of Taste saw the return of several past favorites, as well as some new players that took people’s breath away. Local eateries from across LA came out in full force, dishing out everything from American classics to worldly fusion to exotic dishes far-away places. Sticky Rice’s chicken khoo soi noodles, served in an absolutely addictive red curry, exemplified the latter statement. Mercado’s equally addictive tacos, Gus’s Bar-b-q’s brisket and cornbread, and LKSD’s dry-aged ribeye with smashed potatoes added to the day’s rich flavor.
Ascension Cellars, Kieu Hoang Winery and Navarro Vineyards were just a few of the event’s many wine providers. Local breweries included Indie Brewing Company, MacLeod Ale, Iron Triangle Brewery and Los Angeles Ale Works. The Raymond 1886, while serving an excellent porchetta, took the cake for killer cocktails with its ‘midnight pancakes,’ which bore no resemblance to its name but went down in spectacular fashion nevertheless. Making a strong presence as well were non-alcoholic beverage vendors, such as Humm Kombucha and East Imperial Superior Beverages.
The event’s ‘Sweet Masters,’ or dessert purveyors, proved yet again to be among the day’s highlights. Leading the way was Supercool Creamery, which put on a show by utilizing liquid nitrogen to make their ice cream on the spot. Fantasy Frostings had a new pastry on display every time you turned your head, with head-turning creations like salted caramel and confetti cupcakes, banana crème tarts and cranberry scones.
This year’s Masters of Taste was hosted by local Celebrity Chef Michael Hung of Faith and Flower, who could be seen conversing with guests while somehow simultaneously serving signature creations. Each year, Masters of Taste proceeds go to Union Station Homeless Services. For more information, visit MastersofTasteLA.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.