The Taste of Hillcrest

April 19, 2018

By Veda Frumkin

The 17th annual Taste of Hillcrest event took place on Saturday, April 14, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. At $30 a ticket, the entire event was well worth the value and more.

With over 35 Hillcrest restaurants and bars participating, the event was built for foodie’s everywhere to sample exquisite and signature dishes from the best restaurants in the area. From French bakeries and Italian-style bistros to five-star dining experiences, this was the most anticipated culinary walking tour in all of San Diego.

At each unique location, restaurants offered petite, delectable bites, while bars and pubs offered generous samples of beers and high-end cocktails. Upon check-in, patrons were given wristbands and a little check-off “Hillcrest Passport” that each participating location could sign-off on.

Groups were also given a detailed map, and customized glass beer tasters that read “Taste of Hillcrest” in black text on the front.

La Prensa San Diego made its first stop on Sixth Avenue, at Lotus Thai Cuisine.

The restaurant had a huge buffet-style serving station with a waiter passing out petite, take-out containers filled to the brim with Pad Thai, and a crispy wonton on top.

Next stop was Sasha’s Bags, where a refreshing glass of sparkling rose awaited us.

Downing the crisp liquid, we went next door to Tajima Ramen and enjoyed delicious samples of the creamy Tonkotsu signature ramen dish. With bright vegetables, thick noodles, and rich, full-bodied broth, this dish was a fan favorite amongst the group.

Crossing the street, Swami’s passed out little cups of refreshing acai bowls with strawberries, blueberries, coconut strips, and granola. Each restaurant and bar had its own unique styles and themes, which created such a wonderful mix of cultures and tastes.

Moving on, we visited Babycakes, a high-end bakery and bar. They offered delicate chocolate cake with thick frosting, and a miniature sampler of sparkling champagne.

Combined, the two items complimented each other quite nicely. We soon made the long trek to Bombay.

One of the nicest restaurants included in the event thus far, Bombay also offered the biggest portions. With three huge buffet-style serving platters and spoons set out, patrons were allowed to serve themselves jasmine rice, a spicy meat dish, and garbanzo beans.

The dish had the perfect amount of heat and everyone seemed to enjoy the spicy combination. For dessert, Bombay offered mango yogurt cups in quaint, little shot glasses. From there we ventured to the Candy Depot for a complimentary sour belt and gummy bear.

Candy Depot had a giant, gummy bear structure outside, with an even bigger candy sculpture next to it, glistening in the sunlight. We walked through the candy store with big eyes and happy bellies.

We then sauntered over to Taste of Thai for a delicious Pad Thai dish complete with spicy chicken, and a thick, creamy, white garlic sauce. At this point, all the amazing delicacies were beginning to catch up with us, and we were full beyond measure.

With so many different varieties of food, it’s hard not to eat everything available. The different samples were the perfect taster size, and we were enjoying all of the different options.

We finished the wonderful event off at Fiesta Cantina for complimentary whisky shots, and chocolate strawberries on skewers. It was the perfect ending to a day filled with nothing but good food and drinks.

For $30, Taste of Hillcrest takes patrons on a unique journey through the many rare tastes in the area. Restaurants open up their doors and welcome guests inside to sample their menus, but it is so much more than that.

The experience of perusing the quaint streets of Hillcrest on an uncanny, self-guided walking tour is a prize in its own right. One can discover new eateries and new menu items that wouldn’t normally be on the radar.

This event allows for true discovery, and pushes people to stray from their comfort zone. With over 35 restaurants and bars, people have plenty of opportunities to stumble upon something new and different.

Foodies can explore through different restaurants and bars, and literally taste their way through Hillcrest. With tastes, treats, and drinks, there is absolutely something for everyone.

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