To see the slideshow of scenes from the event, click here.
For a few brief hours last night, the ailing GardenWalk mall became the place to see and be seen, and the best place to eat in Anaheim. The lines got long (though not as long as those execrable luxe-lonchera "festivals"), but the crowd was mellow as they rocked out to tribute bands for the Eagles and Journey.
Gentle members of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce: please, please, reach out next year to Little Arabia (and while you're at it, why not recognize it as an official neighborhood?) and to Anaheim's other enclaves. We are--and I say this as a proud Anaheimer--the best city for eating in Orange County, but the event needs to reflect
the tastes of Anaheim.
Slater's 50/50 had a good burger (their proprietary bacon-beef mix) with guacamole and a fried egg; St. John's Greek Orthodox Church was there with trays upon trays of sweet, sticky kataifi, and Fullerton's Cantina Lounge served a "Mexican mac 'n cheese" that would either earn Gustavo's ire or his admiration.
Rich Mead's Anaheim Hills restaurant, Canyon, was serving seared ahi (slightly overdone--the perils of festival cooking) on an excellent salad with shredded papaya and a sweet-sour dressing.
The best bite of the event came from The Ranch, a restaurant opening in East Anaheim (no, not Anaheim Hills) this fall: perfectly medium-rare lamb "lollipops" with chimichurri and cowboy beans.
While the Yelp OC staff were pouring vodka shots (they experimented on us with blood orange vodka and diet Rockstar, then wisely switched to cranberry vodka), Noble Ale Works was handing out samples of their 6.5% Dark Sybian IPA--talk about a line--and TusCa had wine for those who prefer noble rot to Noble Ale.
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Taste of Anaheim ought to be a role model for other "Taste Of" events, in that one set price included all the bites of food. Compare this to the Taste of Newport which, while more popular, requires a gate fee and then requires money to be loaded onto an eScrip card. Given the size of the food samples being given out, $40 was a bargain--and discounted tickets were available through many avenues. All it needs is better line management and a lot more diversity.