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Taste of Santa Monica - - Go or No Go?

I see that the annual Taste of Santa Monica is going to be held on September 14 from noon to 4 p.m. on the pier. Forty bucks for all you can eat, and an additional 15 dollars for the wine tent. Has anyone gone before and is it worth it (both money-wise and fun-wise)? Someone posted a question last year about the event, but there were no replies.

If nothing else, it is a beautiful setting to spend the afternoon on the pier, eating food and drinking wine!!

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  1. Here's the list of participants from the web site: http://www.tasteofsantamonica.com/

    Acadie Hand Crafted French Crepes
    Angelato Cafe
    Barney's Beanery
    Bon Mélange Catering
    Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
    Buddha's Belly
    Cezanne @ Le Merigot
    Chef Eric's Culinary Classroom
    Chez Jay
    Duke's Malibu
    Edible Arrangements
    El Cholo Mexican Restaurant
    Enterprise Fish Company
    Evergreen Tea House
    Fairmont Miramar Hotel
    Hotcakes Bakes
    i Cugini Restaurant
    Il Fornaio
    La Vecchia Cucina
    Locanda Del Lago / Caffe Bellagio
    Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
    Louise's Trattoria
    Ma'Kai Lounge
    Ocean Avenue Seafood
    The Organic Panificio
    Panera Bread
    Panini Garden
    Rusty's Surf Ranch
    SPN For Mahatma Rice
    Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica
    Stefano's New York Pizza
    Tengu - Santa Monica
    The Lobster
    The Victorian at Heritage Square
    Whist @ Viceroy
    The Yard
    Featured Nonprofit: The Wellness Community - WLA

    For me, I don't see too much to get excited about.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kevin h

      How many of these restaurants would you even care to try any of the food, and especially the cheapest item they can offer to still say they participated?
      This list is SO sad - adding a few good names to an otherwise dreadful list.
      Truly the best of Santa Monica would be one thing - yet this list is closer to the worst of Santa Monica, with a few exceptions of course.

    2. I'm going -- but only because I got my tickets at Goldstar for $20 ($20 for all you can eat is a pretty good deal ..)

      Although now that I see the LA BBQ festival is also that weekend, I'm wondering what I should do ...


      1. We went last year, it was awful. It is not exactly all you can eat, you have a 'passport' and have to have it 'stamped' by everyone before you can get seconds so people get stuff they don't want and toss it. We were "sneaking" seconds and shares. If you spring for the wine it is in a separate area than the food so you can't pair your favorites. The food itself is mostly dumbed down and not good. The "seating" is all standing tables with little or no shade. Very uncomfortable. Save your money or go out for a nice dinner instead.

        1. I went (or rather, got tricked into going) 2 yrs. ago.... It sucked big eggs. Never going back.

          1. I agree with the other posts - everything sort of tasted the same. The restaurants seemed to offer the easiest and least expensive dishes to prepare. There used to be a Taste of L.A. at The Santa Monica Civic. That was amazing but I think it's been gone for years. I love the concept - if anyone knows of a better "Taste" please let us know.

            3 Replies
            1. re: flowergirl

              Taste of the Nation - changes cities every year. Was in Culver City a couple months ago - quite good, I recommend it

              1. re: wasabica

                Taste of the Nation has been at Culver City for the last four years.

              2. re: flowergirl

                Food Faire at the SM Civic Center. I think it's in March. It's a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, and is more expensive, but the event is great. Most of the city's top restaurants (with the chefs actually in attendance), lots of wine. Highly recommended.

              3. I went also - and thought the wine garden was the best part. Some really good wines to try. I thought it the food was okay - nothing really stood out, although I didn't wait in any long lines (like the one for Acadie Crepes or Ocean Seafood). And, I thought it was kind of lame that a lot of the restaurants ran out of food by 3pm and closed shop.

                1. I saw this event advertised through CitySearch, loving Santa Monica and good food, I eagerly paid by credit card the $40.00 fee. Within ten minutes I discovered I could have paid $20.00 on Gold star. Upon arriving there were hundreds of confused people with three very long winding lines, those for will call, those who want to purchase, and like me i already had my paid confirmation and stood in the wrong line. Staff did not have signage to direct efficiently. Long, long lines by 1:30pm. With 40 restaurants to choose, by the time I left only visited half or about 20. I did not want to wait in line for a cookie, or Mexican, a cup of white Mahatma rice, or inexpensive cheap pasta, bread, green weird tasting tea...ect. I would say only about 3 -4 restaurants had high quality tidbits, like one large shrimp on a cracker, or Oysters, I think one of the three had a miniature scallop with a shaving of proscutto, and one served a tuna sashimi about 1 ounce or less. Other than those three or four, none of it impressed me, very disappointed. I could not go back to them for seconds either. I waited about 15 minutes for a cracker with horrible white gravy, yuk, I threw it out. I'd prefer a juicy Fat Burger than what was served at this event. This venue is advertised as a taste of S.M, however not one of these nice restaurants served real food, on their real menus, in their restaurants, other than Hooters fried Chicken wings, and Chili. I thought they would. Standing for nearly four hours was painful, in the hot sun. There were only about 25-30 folding chairs directly in front of the very awful loud Jazz band. I could not sit down, they were all taken the entire four hours, and rested on table booths of restaurants that ran out of food and folded up by 2:30pm Enterprise Seafood company never showed up. Oh, the ‘Pizza Slice” was the most memorable, and excellent, as I was really hungry for something that tasted good. Angeleto's gelato was wonderful and refreshing as with the other ice cream vendor.. As the vendors ran out of food I asked why, one remarked they were told to have abut 2000 servings, but 2500 booklets were sold, and copies were made to allow too many people for the amount of servings planned for. The event was still selling and did not cut off or limit the attendees so food was gone, how unfair. I might go next year If I could pay only $20.00 for a ticket just to be out on the Pier and enjoy the festivity. Hopefully they will be more chairs to sit and rest next year for those who need them. Two women I saw fainted and required medical treatment and taken out on a stretcher by paramedics. You won’t get $40.00 value of food, just think of making a contribution to pay to help fund the event, security, city services, staff, insurance, that’s where the money must go, and if you’re okay with that then go next year. Definitely not worth $50..00 I paid plus extra for water and one beer. I would rather pay a small entrance fee, and buy $3.00/$4.00 tickets to present to those restaurants that had worthy food I would only enjoy.. That’s how I would see it working out best.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ocean_Breeze

                    Yikes about them overselling!! That is extremely ...I don't know, greedy-money-grubbing behavior there!

                    I went there right at noon and have bought my tix from Goldstar for $20 so my experience was more pleasant. I also only visited about half, but had some pretty good items.

                    I posted my experience with lots of photos of the food here: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...

                    I liked the shrimps from Chez Jay, Cezanne, the gelato from Angelato's. The bakery also had nice cupcakes and I took a loaf of french bread from Panera home.

                    Never sat down the whole time - I just went to the cocktail tables. I refreshed myself with tea from evergreen, fruits from Edible Arrangements, gelato etc before forking out dough for a bottled of water after.