taste of downtown 2013 event recap

I was invited to attend the Taste of Downtown by McFarlane Promos and I happily accepted. I meant to go the last two years (!!) but something came up both times and I wasn’t able to make it. Stacey was my cohort for the evening and we planned on tackling this event the simple way: just go down 5th and swing around to 6th until we hit 14 spots.

Why 14? Stacey insisted we should do one more than the last time I did one of these events (which I had guessed to be 13 spots hit).

We parked at Horton Plaza and got our free validation at Nordstorm’s and then headed out to our first spot that was on 4th in the former location of the Lincoln Room.


1) The Commons
Item: Buffalo Chicken Bites

Not terrible, but also not super memorable. Fair amount of chicken bites, slight spicyness. No sauce. I ate all of these with my toothpick. Seemed more exciting that way.


2) Gaslamp Tavern
Item: Teriyaki and Buffalo chicken wings

You had your choice of either, but we asked for one of each. Both were quite good with a nice outer crunch and a good amount of sauce. Stacey thought the teriyaki one was a little too sweet, but I liked it. Blue cheese sauce helped make the buffalo wing not as spicy. Good stuff.


3) Urban Bar and Grill
Item: Mediterranean Flatbread

They had cups of water set up for Tasters. Score. Nice flatbread with pear, arugula and a little blue cheese.


4) Maloney’s
Item: Cheeseburger Sliders

Really excellent cheeseburger slider on a soft, but toasted slider bun. Slider bun was slightly sweet, meat was a perfect medium with a sharp cheddar cheese. Yummy!


5) McFadden’s
Item: Bangers & Mash

We had to walk up a crap load of stairs to get to this, they put this in the VERY back. Stacey got a beer here since they were having specials. Most places were having alcoholic specials, trying to get you to spend just a littttttle bit more.

Bangers & Mash: cold and kind of gross. Unimpressive.


5) McFadden’s
Item: Jalapeno Popper

I don’t remember what Stacey though of this, but I don’t remember her being very impressed.


6) Whiskey Girl
Item: Thai Chili Chicken Wing

Stacey had this since I was already sick of chicken. She said it was slimy at first, but that it had good flavor.


6) Whiskey Girl
Cheeseburger & ??? something slider

I opted for another slider. There was something kind of slimy on top of it and the cheese was only partially melted. Flavor was off. Didn’t like it.


7) Chianti
Item: Pasta and Bruschetta

We were so happy to see something different! Yummy marinara pasta with bruschetta on toast.


8) La Fiesta
Item: Chicken Taquito & Chips

Not bad, was still crunchy. Flavor was okay.


9) Henry’s Pub
Item: Rice and Chicken with Garlic Lemon Sauce

The sauce put on the chicken was really yummy, I was happy to see a chicken dish that wasn’t wings!


10) The Field
Item: Corned Beef & Cabbage Croquette

Fact: Bars are really dark, making it hard to take photos. This was definitely interesting with a spicy mustard sauce on it. Pretty good, nicely fried and still hot.


11) Meze
Item: Hummus with Pita Chips

I think this was the “eh, whatever” sample. The people before us got the last of something else and then they brought this tray out. Hummus was pretty good, pita chips were a little overdone. Once the pita chips were gone we were left with a ton of hummus, not much else to do except chuck it at that point.


12) Heavenly Cupcakes
Item: Topless Cupcakes

Cute mini cupcakes! These are their new “topless” lower calorie cupcakes. Top: The Blue Banana – A topless banana cupcake swirled with a blueberry cupcake and filled with a light banana custard. Bottom: Skinny Hostess – A topless deep chocolate cupcake filled with a light and airy marshmallow filling.


12) Heavenly Cupcakes

You can see the creamy insides. Pretty good little cupcakes even though they didn’t have frosting. I liked how the blueberry/banana one looked swirled on the inside.


13) Ciro’s Pizzera & Beerhouse
Item: Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatball

I took one bite and then spit it out. I didn’t like the flavor at all. In no way shape or form. Brutal honesty, folks.


14) The Counter
Item: Sweet Potato French Fries

The Counter had run out of whatever they were offering (sliders, I think) and all they had left were the sweet potato fries. Not wanting to go anywhere else to complete our lineup of 14, we waited for these samples. They were good, nothing special but tasted fine.


It was a lovely night for the Taste of Downtown and I’m glad we got all the walking done in between, because I’m think we might have burst otherwise. I waddled a little bit back to the car anyway.

Thanks to McFarlane Promos for the complimentary tickets to Taste of Downtown. I was not paid for reviewing this event and all opinions listed here are my own.

8 thoughts on “taste of downtown 2013 event recap

  1. Hello,

    Someone just turned me on to your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook (also a blog). I’m so excited to look through your recipes. Denise

  2. Without going into opinions on the flavors of all the items I would like to ask one thing about the McFadden’s Jalapeno Popper. Specifically, how is that a popper? That is a long, skinny jalapeno cut lengthwise. You cannot pop that. You could reasonably shove the whole thing in your mouth at once, but that would make it a Jalapeno Shover. I think it’s safe to say most of us don’t want to eat something with that name.

  3. It’s funny that we both visited many of the same places that nigh huh?

    I find it crazy that we ordered the bangers n mash and jalapeno poppers from McFaddens too – yuck….

    We drove by The Counter afterwards and it looked empty and dead – we wondered if they totally ran out of samples.

    1. It is funny! Too bad I didn’t see you! I think you were there earlier than me. You went to more places, too! Yeah, McFaddens was a let down. Luckily there were plenty of other good things to make up for it. We skipped the seafood places since my friend doesn’t like seafood. The Counter was totally dead. The only thing I wished we had gone to was Venissimo Cheese Shop, but uh, I didn’t feel like walking that far.

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