ENCINITAS — In honor of the 21st birthday of the Taste of MainStreet event, the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association and participating restaurants put on a party on Aug. 26 that rivaled the previous years.
After 20 years of serving up the finest samplings of delectable delights, Taste of MainStreet stepped it up a notch. This year, ticket holders were treated to happy hour prices and signature cocktails at special rates at participating establishments in the downtown area.
Hundreds of participants were treated to the culinary creations of 40 different eateries. From Jamroc 101’s Caribbean flair to the laid back Swami’s Café, the night’s samplings were a welcome surprise to many. “I can’t believe all of this amazingly creative food,” said Shelby Prince, who joined friends during the event. “The only reason I can eat all of this is because we’re walking the length of downtown and it gives me time to digest,” she exclaimed.
Newcomers Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria and East Village Asian Diner joined downtown favorites such as Trattoria I Trulli and Roxy Restaurant to provide an international flair this year.
The expanded offering was a bonus for several people who have attended the event in previous years. “I’m a self-described food critic,” declared Jonathon Sinclair, from Poway. “I’m happy to say that I haven’t been disappointed tonight.”
For the second year in a row participants were encouraged to cast their ballot for the People’s Choice Award.
More than just award-winning food, Taste of MainStreet is a celebration of the downtown community. “We’ve gone for several years because it’s a great way to familiarize ourselves with the different restaurants and also to just enjoy the environment,” said June Spirito, an Encinitas resident.
Even residents from neighboring communities get in on the festivities. “I came out one year to have dinner with a friend and we were surprised to see all the commotion,” said Jennifer Cabrini of Oceanside. “I loved the way people were walking the length of the downtown area and literally eating their way to the end and back again,” she said.
The event wouldn’t be complete without live music according to Jan Shepherd. “I like the music as much as I like the food,” he said. “It just creates the whole atmosphere of a good time.” This year, seven varied live performers played for the crowds at stations along Highway 101. The musical acts are suited to each location with everything from reggae to folk in the line-up. “Creating an event this popular takes the entire community,” said Peter Lindsey, who frequents area restaurants. “DEMA clearly does a lot of work putting this together, but it takes the excitement of the residents and the commitment and creativity of the chefs to pull it all off.”