college area taste 2014 recap

I meant to post this last week but the week kind of got away from me! Here’s my recap of the College Area Taste!

Jake and I left a little early so we could get there before the event started to pick up our tickets at will call. While getting our tickets, Lynn and Dennis of Oh-So Yummy arrived at the same time. She was the winner of my giveaway and the four of us ended up going around the whole event together. I got an AWESOME tip from Lynn, too – using a takeaway or to go box to put samples/leftovers in! This way you don’t feel the need to eat all of every sample – you can save it for later. We got a to-go box to bring along with us and we used this idea for Taste of Hillcrest this past week. YAY LYNN! πŸ˜€


1. Living Room Cafe

Our first stop was over at the Living Room Cafe which actually had SIX things for sampling. Hardcore man. They had a veggie quiche (lower left) which was yummy, some overnight oatmeal with fresh fruit and pecans and a black bean soup.


They also have some cookies (chocolate chip and a granola like thing that was dipped in yogurt). I loved the cookies and since this was our first stop, I ate all of the cookies and nearly all of my samples. I loved the oats so much that I looked up how to make overnight oats later (SUPER EASY). The soup was not bad (Jake liked it more than I did) and the quiche was pretty good. There was also a chicken apple salad thing, but I didn’t get it. Jake and I both thought the other one would get it so we didn’t try it. Oh well.


2. Bistro Sixty

We walked back over to Bistro Sixty even though a trolley came by since Jake and I are “practicing” doing a bunch of walking for our trip to Florida next week. This is a pork taco with a sour cream sauce. I think they went a tad heavy on the sauce and the meat itself needed something else to make it really stand out. Overall I thought this was just okay, but pretty awesome they gave out whole tacos for the event.


3. Social Life Pizza

We’ve been here a few times! Social Life Pizza was doing samples of their margherita and bbq chicken pizza. Of the two I preferred the margherita – I still like the crust they have here and I like the sauce. I don’t like a lot of “stuff” on my pizza and actually prefer vegetarian pizza now! The BBQ chicken wasn’t bad, either, but I’d probably never order it.


4. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

They had two samples at Capriotti’s. This is the “Bobbie” which is sort of like Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich – there’s turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on a roll. I have tried this sandwich in the past so I skipped it and put it right into our take out container. I’m not super into cranberry sauce so I think this sandwich is just “okay”.


Their other offering was the meatball slider. I thought the meatball was pretty tasty – moist and with lots of flavor, but meatball sliders with cheese are hard to do as a sample since the cheese has zero chance to melt making it kind of weird to eat. Mostly I just tried the meatball and not the bread.


5. Tea Station

Our next stop was over at Tea Station, where I had two fans of my blog stop me to say hello (sorry, I’m TERRIBLE and I forgot your names, please forgive me). This was both surreal and cool at the same time! Thank you for stopping me to say hi!

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Tea Station and really, I only recently re-remember that I actually like milk tea so I was excited to see all of the samples. There was coffee milk, hazelnut, rose, taro, lychee and I think honey milk tea. The hazelnut (which was 1/2 sugar) was my favorite of the bunch – I loved how rich and intense the hazelnut flavor was. YUM. Jake’s favorite was the taro (which I also liked) and the lychee. My least favorite was the Rose which made me feel like I was sipping on rose scented soap. Uggggh.


They also had Fried Squid Balls (not bad).


And Spicy (no spicy) Chicken. Maybe they just should have said it was fried chicken? Either way, the sticky note amused me.


6. Smashburger

San Diego Burger samples (avocado, pepper jack and chipotle mayo). Not bad, but something I’ve had before so one bite was sufficient for me. The patty tasted nicely seasoned.


7. Jersey Mike’s

Surely you have been here before. I actually now prefer Jersey Mike’s to Subway – but only the cold sandwiches. They had samples of their Italian, Turkey and Club sandwiches. I always get the Club, so I sampled the Italian. Pretty good – though it won’t make me change my standby order.


8. L & L Hawaiian BBQ

Obviously Jake and I have been here since this particular L & L was the spot for our very first date. I ate one little piece of Katsu chicken and put the rest away for later.


9. Woodstock Pizza

Woodstock Pizza is pretty much a “have to eat at” place for any SDSU college student. It’s a bit of a thicker crust pizza. The samples that day were for their Aztec Classic Pizza which was sort of like a “Supreme” pizza. I took all the evil olives off before I sampled it. I’ve never personally been a big fan of Woodstock’s regular pizza.


Though I do like what they do with the crust – they fold over the ends so the ends all have sauce, almost like a “stuffed crust”. The crusts here are much thicker and fluffier, I pretty much only liked the ends.


I do have to say though that I LOVE their Cinnabread pizza. This version has apples on it which I thought were okay – I prefer it without the apples. We got these slices fresh so they were still gooey and hot with the cinnamon and icing. This is pretty much the only thing I ever want to eat at Woodstock Pizza. Sorry.


10. Rojelio’s Taco Shop

Cold Mexican food does not make Mary happy and is a poor example of your product.


11. Top Ten Pho Oriental Restaurant

They say this is a Vietnamese restaurant – I didn’t know sushi could be apart of that! I guess you can do whatever you want to do with your restaurant though, who am I to say anything? There was one fried roll (I forgot the name of it) that I ate – it was all right, nothing really spectacular. My samples were kind of ugly and got smooshed on the plate. Unmemorable. The only note I wrote next to this restaurant’s name was “meh”. That probably about sums it up.


12.Effin’s Pub n’ Grill

We moved out of the plaza/strip mall and crossed the street over to Effin’s. They had two samples. This is the Pulled Pork taco. We thought they were doing sliders, but I guess it changed to taocs. The pulled pork was pretty dry, even with the weird sauce on it (it was almost enchilada-like, which I do not associate with pulled pork). I was not at all into the coleslaw that was on it.


The other sample was a corned beef taco. God, look at all of those pickles, UGH. Jake pulled a bunch of pickles off for me and tried removing a bunch of sauerkraut for me, too (ain’t he nice?). The corned beef was incredibly overly salty and I disliked the sauce (thousand-island-ish). One bite was enough for me on this one. We didn’t even save this one for the take out box.


13. Ranchwood Catering & BBQ

At this point we all hopped into my car and headed east on El Cajon Blvd. to check out the far away spots. We could have taken the free trolley, but ehhhh. We figured it would be faster to just take my car.

Ranchwood BBQ is in the same spot that Pubcakes used to be. They had brisket sliders and meat & potato “parfaits”. How cute! This was Jake’s favorite sample of the day. The potatoes were nice and creamy and tasted good with a bit of beef (I think also brisket) with BBQ sauce. I liked the meaty parfait more than the slider.


14. Terra American Bistro

My favorite sample of the day came next at Terra with their mini chicken sliders! There’s delicious caramelized onion on the bottom with a garlic aioli and mini chicken slider which had a blend of seasonings with it. The little brioche bun was also not only cute but pulled the whole slider together. YUMMY for my TUMMY.


15. Fluffy Duffy’s Snow Cream

They were supposed to do snow cream at Fluffy Duffy’s but I think their machine broke so they were doing soft serve + shaved ice instead – with either M&M’s or Gummy Bears. Jake was parking the car so I got one of each and I knew he would choose the gummy bears (he did – he doesn’t like plain M&M’s). I thought this would be totally weird but the shaved ice + soft serve was actually kind of good together. I’d pass on the M&M’s as a topping though.


16. The Grill

The Grill used to be this rad market that was also at the Farmer’s Markets with freshly made pasta and GIANT macarons but it closed it’s doors and this is in it’s place. All I could gather was that this place was kosher, otherwise I couldn’t really figure out what they normally served. They had falafel, mini taquitos and beef empanadas. Jake and I both got the empanada.


The empanada was in a puff pastry shell which seemed really wrong for an empanada. I was expecting a pastry crust… not that. The filling was incredibly dry and lacked flavor. There was only dry meat in there, no sauce, veggies or seasoning. It came with a sauce that tasted almost like tzatziki but was way too strong and overpowering. This was probably my least favorite item of the day.


17. Bridges Bar & Grill

Our previous experience at Bridges wasn’t anything special so I had really low expectations so I was surprised that I ended up liking their spicy garlic shrimp offering. It wasn’t super spicy but had a nice kick of flavor from the garlic. The crusty crostini was a nice accompaniment for a little crunch.


They also had these grilled sirloin kebabs with peppers and onions and a ginger teriyaki glaze. The glaze had a nice flavor and sweetness to it. The bite was a bad chewy, but still had a nice overall flavor that I enjoyed.


18. Yogurtland

We saved dessert spots for last and came back to the plaza where we were parked in.

At Yogurtland they gave us two mini sample cups. They said “one flavor per cup!” but I cheated and got three. Which is what I honestly do with these sample cups anyway… do people ever really only use the cup once?!

On the right is the Vanilla Date Shake which I loved. It has real vanilla beans in it (can you see the specks?) plus a mild date flavor that I really liked. I don’t think the date flavor was really strong and there were no date chunks in it so you might not even really detect the date flavor.

The other flavor is Salted Caramel Pecan – buttery and rich with just a little touch of saltiness. Yum. I also snagged a cupful of peanut butter. Because I love peanut butter. Please don’t rat me out to the frozen yogurt police.


19. Cold Stone Creamery

At Cold Stone Creamery they were doing samples of their ice cream cake! I snagged the last strawberry cake and then felt guilty for not switching with Jake who ended up with the Oreo.


I know the cake here looks like red velvet but it didn’t really taste like red velvet to me. It just tasted like cold, almost frozen cake that was chocolate-ish (I guess that is red velvet though if you think about it). The whipped cream was probably my favorite part.


The Oreo had Oreo cookies in with the ice cream and a chocolate cake bottom.


Cold Stone was our last stop for the day. There was about fifteen minutes left and we drove Lynn and Dennis up to 4.0 Deli near College Ave. There was no parking nearby so we called it a day while they huffed it to sample the last three spots. You can read Lynn’s recap of the College Area Taste here!

Here is Jake and I with our meat & potato parfaits! It was a really fun day walking, talking with Lynn and Dennis as well as sampling all of the tasty treats and we NEARLY tried all of the places – oh well! T ended up with all of our samples which he enjoyed thoroughly. This event was not very crowded and we didn’t have to wait long for samples at any of the places we went to, which turned out to be completely different that Taste of Hillcrest this weekend (recap to come).

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to the College Area Taste. I was not paid or further compensated for this post.

10 thoughts on “college area taste 2014 recap

  1. You got the last strawberry cake from cold stone too hahah! Oh well, I didn’t really like their cakes anyway!

    You guys are so cute taking pics together! I gotta remember to capture the memories of “us” instead of only food! Oh, how my stomach gets what it wants though! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Lynn! Yeah… I don’t think I’ll be craving Cold Stone’s cake anytime soon πŸ˜› Yeah, I was starting to notice I had only photos of food and not photos of us so I try to take more photos of us as well. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Mary! Yes, that was me and my friend Yvonne who “stalked” you at the Tea Station. We were saying that Tasty Life Mary just walked by us! We should definitely go say HELLO and thank her for all the cool places she has blogged about! It was great to meet you and J in person. Again, we love your blogs. Keep up the good work at letting your fans know all the good (and sometimes bad) eating experiences. Yes, YOU have fans! J should write his own blog too! He knows so much detail about every restaurant he’s been to! Amazing! PS….takeout boxes are a must at these events. There’s just no way you can taste everything, or one would be full by the 5th restaurant stop! =) THANKS AGAIN MARY!!!

    1. Hi Susie – YAY I was hoping you would comment and tell me your name! I do try to get Jake to write posts but mostly he’s fine letting me do it. I tell him he should do a “video blog” instead. Hey, might be an idea for the future, include a little video from Jake on his take of whatever place we went to. Thanks again to you and Yvonne for stopping to say hello – I totally appreciate it and thanks for reading!! πŸ˜€

  3. Take away boxes. Brilliant. I would have never thought of that. This event looks like it’s worth every penny. Dang it. Was it better than the Taste of Downtown? Most of the samples looked nicely presented and generous. I don’t know why but all the sammies and burgers looked so good. Especially the slider at Terra. That shrimp at Bridges looks alien though.

    What’s the significance of Effin’s name? I giggled when I read it b/c that’s how I write the ‘F’ word if you know what I mean…

    Man. Still thinking about the take away box. Dang it. Was it weird carrying around the box – like no one gave you wth looks right?

    1. The takeaway box was such a great idea! We did the same thing at Hillcrest but we brought tupperware that time. Jake carried the box and he doesn’t care if anyone give him funny looks heh heh. We actually filled up one box, dropped it off at the car, and Jake got a little pizza box at Woodstock for us. I think this was about the same as Taste of Downtown, but way less crowded. The samples were all pretty decent and good sized though there were a few items I didn’t care for at all, but overall it was great!

      I’m not sure about the significance of Effin’s but man you have a good point haha!

  4. Man, you guys went to a lot of places! Troopers all the way! Having the take out box was a good idea! Cold Mexican food should be a crime!

    As for Effin’s, I was thinking the same thing as Faye!

    1. Hi CC – If we hadn’t done the take out box, I don’t think we’d have been able to do this many places! The take out box let us “skip” places to save stuff for later and just eat what we really wanted to sample. Cold Mexican food is terrible! I didn’t even think of Effin’s that way until Faye mentioned it, haha.

  5. I saw you guys at Taste of Hillcrest but… I don’t know, just didn’t want to seem like a weirdo talking to you! haha
    I didn’t notice you guys had a Tupperware but I did see other people had them and what a great idea! This was my first Taste event so I will remember that for next time. We made it to about 15 places in Hillcrest but couldn’t eat any more after that! Would have been better to save half of it for later, for sure! This College event looks fun, too. Even with more “chain” places, looks like there was a lot of variety. The sirloin kebab looks really good!

    1. Hi Cynthia! Haha, I totally don’t mind being stopped to a chat, if you see me again say hi!! We had our tupperware stored in a backpack for Taste of Hillcrest that Jake was carrying. I wish I had like a tupperware with compartments so nothing touched each other. I’m crazy like that. Storing most of what we sampled definitely allowed us to try more places – it’s a brilliant idea! The College Area Taste was nice because it was so much less crowded and easier to get to everything and very well organized. You should check it out next year. πŸ™‚

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