Last night I attended the Taste Chandler’s Culinary Festival in Downtown Chandler. Single ticket was $35 and Couples admission was $50. All tickets included 12 drink tickets, redeemable for 12 drinks! Chandler was smart to offer free bottles of water. You can eat and drink for 5 hours, which was a great value for the price. We visited both lounges and went back to the Vintage 95 Wine Lounge a few times sampling the different wines. 12 tickets went a long way with the generous pours in the lounge! Chandler did a good job organizing the event, with hand wash stations, plenty of rubbish bins, and music.
This is a great opportunity for restaurants to showcase their food. Some of them achieved this goal, while others saved me time and money to ever visit their establishment. This is a tasting event, about a tenth the size of Taste of Chicago, but a similar concept. Each vendor brings small plate portion or a small single serving. This allows you to sample a little bit from everyone.
Places now added to my “skip it” list:
- Dos Gringos Mexigrill steak tacos tasted like low-quality dog food. If I step foot into a Dos Gringos it will be to order a drink, maybe.
- Irish Republic offered Jamison meatballs that went straight into the garbage after one bite. I fear a second bite would have ended my night right then and there.
If you are going to do one thing, then do it well:
- Coach & Willie’s lobster bisque was delicious. We were actually in line for another vendor, when the woman beside me and asked if we had tried the soup. Then she insisted that we immediately get our soup before they run out. It was a little salty on the finish, but tasty and flavorful.
- Grimald’s Brick Oven Pizzeria mixed it up with perfectly flaky cannolis.
- Latitude 8 Thai Grill quenched our thirst with a refreshing vanilla vodka thai tea, mixed right in front of us.
- Le Cordon Bleu is a culinary school that I always look forward to. They served a choice of pasta, salmon with rice, or filet mignon with seasoned mashed potatoes. It was one of our first plates to taste, and I am glad we arrived before they ran out of filet.
- Yoli’s cafe served chicken tacos with sweet cabbage slaw. I had never heard of this little gem, but I plan visit them soon. She accommodated my special request, and gave me a coupon.
- Pearl Sushi Lounge served sweet chili edamame, salmon poke with avocado “tacos”, and a crunch roll. The greeter was informative, provided coupons, answered questions, and gave a complete description of everything we sampled. I will definitely use the coupon, and plan to wear pearls for the Girls and Pearls Thursday night happy hour special!
- Bourbon Jacks Bar and Grill started with a pretty good pulled pork sandwich, then finished with a fantastic black bottom pecan pie. The pecan pie was so good that I ate 2 servings!
- Udder Delights is the ice cream store for my favorite little local dairy, Superstition Farms. The pumpkin ice cream was fantastic and served with an even better pumpkin ricotta custard. The pairing was pumpkin heaven! Even people that said they really do not like pumpkin agreed it was tasty good.
- Shimogamo is one of my favorite sushi restaurants in town. Since they were
preparing and serving food in an outdoor festival, they were did a great job with the delicious salmon and white fish sushi with crunch rolls. They brought a portable refrigerated case, hand-made everything right there by their best sushi chef, and customized each plate with preferences. It was by far the
BEST dish served at the festival, and it is not nearly as good as what they serve in the restaurant. Seriously, they are that good!