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
Taste Walk Glendale is the ultimate package in food festivals. Not only are you tasting the best of Downtown Glendale’s food scene, but you’re doing so right at the restaurants themselves. Taste Walk Glendale takes a traditional food festival and turns it on its head in the best of ways…if you’re a foodie looking for an insider experience, best to get in the know before this annual event blows up in LA.
At Taste Walk Glendale, there is no one central location where restaurants drive in their food from miles away. Sure, there are plenty of booths where friendly restaurant staff hand out endless samples of signature items, but those booths are steps from the kitchen. Whether it’s Bacari GDL serving beautiful appetizers out front, Lao Sze Chuan inviting you inside for a display of Mongolian beef, or Damon’s Steakhouse dedicating a server to greet guests with a burger platter in hand, each stop adds a personal touch to the experience. And sure, there are a few centralized locations, but think of them as miniature block parties, where neighboring restaurants join forces in their shared alleyways.
The name says it all. This is a walking food tour of Downtown Glendale’s ½-mile restaurant row, where rules go out the window for one day and restaurants open their doors to anyone with a wristband and a signature blue bag. Guests wander the streets like high school freshmen, albeit savoring Electric Pussycat’s strawberry pop tart milkshakes and Porto’s potato balls while studying the event map. Live music plays every step of the way, livening the mood and alerting passers-by that something truly special is taking place.
40 eateries, drinkeries and sweeteries in all, from Georgina dumplings at The Khinkali House to chicken tikka masala at All Indian Café and Homemade Waffle Jack waffles. If that’s a lot to take in, you can justify it with all the extra steps you’ll get walking from place to place. Expect more amazing things at Taste Walk Glendale 2019. For more information, visit TasteWalkGlendale.com
Pink booths line the walls of the vast open-air dining room, which flows right into a broad patio that takes in the best of Glendale’s bustling Brand Boulevard and Americana at Brand, the elegant shopping mall that gives Frida Americana its last name. A labyrinthine menu, brightly colored margaritas and elegant tequila flights complement a bustling atmosphere quite nicely, allowing Frida Americana to integrate Mexican taste into a posh LA vibe.
Frida Americana plays to its audience quite well, showcasing all the amenities you could ever hope for in a stylish full-service Mexican restaurant. Hot tortilla chips with hotter salsas meet you about as soon as you sit down, making tableside guacamole a must. The challenge then ensues, as there are far more choices than the appetite can handle. Should you order a village Mexican salad, served in a grilled crispy cheese bowl, or opt for the zucchini and poblano chowder? Or do you skip on both, focusing instead on the street corn, sweet at heart with chile and cotija to bring out its full character?
Mexican classics are ever-present at Frida Americana, highlighted by a custom enchilada menu where guests choose their filling and their sauce. It’s always a tough call, but you don’t have to look back once the steak enchiladas, covered in a bold, earthy mole sauce, arrive at the table. And since you’re here to indulge, the sirloin and chicken flautas hold that desirable fluffy crunch that’s so rarely found in anything besides this deep-fried favorite.
Moving away from the tortilla and toward the more premium dishes, Frida’s steak, seafood and house specialties add a significant dimension to the menu. The camarones al ajillo, or shrimp in garlic butter sauce, are as just decadent as they sound.
While it will be hard to save room, dessert should not be missed. It rains caramel at Frida Mexicana, with crepas con cajeta, flan and churros made all the better with that ridiculous and addictive sauce.
Drinks, or course, are a staple here, with an alluring margarita selection that includes blueberry mint, tamarind, Jamaica and your classic mango, among others. The tequila flights are Instagrammable to say the least, as is the fun and eclectic crowd that keeps the party going until closing.
For those looking for a fun twist on brunch, Frida Americana offers a Sunday Mariachi Brunch, served weekly from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Frida Americana is located at 750 Americana Way, Glendale, California 91210. Open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Mon – Thu, 11 am – 11 pm Fri/Sat, and 10:30 am – 10 p.m. Sun. Avg. out-the-door cost for split appetizer, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$78/person. For more information, call (818) 551-1666 or visit Frida Americana online.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.