Friday, May 13, 2011

Terrific Night at Taste of Anaheim

16th Annual Taste of Anaheim
Anaheim Garden Walk
321 West Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802

One of my favorite food events every year is the Taste of Anaheim. Unlike, other Taste of... , (insert city name here), your admission to the festival is also your passport to trying all of the samples you can eat. I was fortunate enough to be given a press pass for this event, but Katie was very happy to pay the $40 entrance fee, and we both felt this was more than worth it.

The Taste of Anaheim features food from 50 restaurants, ranging from fast food to fine dining. Although the crowd was large, everything appeared to run smoothly. Lines for food booths went pretty quick. There was definitely enough food to go around. In addition to the food, the TOA also had three bands to entertain the crowd, local artists, and many exhibitors from the local community.  So, without further ado, let's checkout the food.

Of course one of my favorite Anaheim restaurants is Mr. Stox, so that is one of the first booths we hit. They were sampling their Crab Cakes and Chocolate Macaroon cookies. Both were great, and of course I did go for seconds.

Fire and Ice Restaurant was hosting the VIP party and were offering the above items. This Mongolian-style grill  had slider hamburgers, sausage pasta, and a beef dish. The drink above is their signature Scorpion drink, made with two kinds of rum, gin, brandy and other juices. Very smooth, even with all of the alcohol in this.

Cantina Lounge was handing out Carne Asada tacos and Mexi-Mac and Cheese. Both of these had a decent flavor.

Canyon Neighborhood Restaurant, a place that will be on my list of places to try now, sampled a BBQ Beef Quesadilla and a Tuna Salad. Both were very tasty, and the presentation was good here as well.

Last year I called Concourse Bowling Center's food the worst at the the TOA. This year they were a lot better than the veal meatballs and chicken curry dish they had last year. This year they went with more traditional items for a bowling alley, a Roast Beef Slider, and Beef Chili. Much better choices.

Another on my worst list last year was Alcatraz Brewing Company, but the rib above was tender, and the light beer they were sampling was smooth and had a mild flavor to it. Much better!

Taste of Anaheim is not just for restaurants already in business, but for restaurants introducing themselves to the community before they are even open. This is the case for The Ranch Restaurant. This place, located on Ball Road, will be open in the fall. They offered three samples, a Lamb Chop, (tender and flavored well), Tortilla Soup, (nice flavor but too runny), and a light dessert that I did not catch the name of, (refreshing). I will definitely give them a try when they open in the fall.

Old Anaheim stalwart rolled out three offerings as well. The cheesecake was light and fruity, the shrimp salad was okay, and the spicy shrimp ceviche was excellent and bursting of flavor.

La Brea Bakery also made my list of worst booths last year, but they offered a Turkey-Bacon Panini that was much better than last years samples.

Another of my favorite restaurants was in attendance, Slater's 50/50. They sampled their Signature Burger, and a burger I have been dying to try, The Peanut Butter and Jealousy Burger. The signature burger is always a good bet, and the peanut butter and jelly burger was tasty, but needed more PB and J on it. I still want to try it at the restaurant though.

The above is an actual sample at one of the busiest booths of the night, Ruth's Chris Steak House. They were giving out full versions of their Prime Burger. At the restaurant this sets you back $13.50, and here you can eat three of these and about pay for your admission to the TOA.

 I have many more pictures of other foods I consumed on my Facebook page, which you can find here: While you are there, if you could "like us", I would appreciate it.

As for the Taste Of Anaheim, another job well done by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce that puts this event on. The food gets better and better each year. I could not even compile a list of best and worst, because nothing really stood out as worst. I always look forward to this, like Christmas, and I can already not wait until next year.

For more information about Taste of Anaheim, click here:


  1. The dessert from the Ranch is panna cotta with berries and pistachios. They've served it at every "community meeting" with the local residents near the new building.

  2. Dave - Thanks for the heads up on the panna cotta. It was a great meeting you the other night at the Generous Pour event. Thanks for all the tips!