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.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.