An In-Depth Look at “Taste of Downtown Disney”

This past Thursday (August 15, 2013), I had the extreme pleasure of attending The 6th Annual Taste of Downtown Disney, with all the proceeds benefitting CHOC Children’s, a nationally recognized children’s hospital located in Orange County, California.
It was a wonderful evening showcasing the wonderful dining options located right in the Downtown Disney District and benefitting the wonderful pediatric care that CHOC Children’s provides to their patients.

The event began at 5:30 p.m. and went until 10 p.m.  My guest and I checked in at the Grand California Convention Center Reception.  We each received a lanyard with our group name and we were told that we would spend approximately 15-20 minutes at each restaurant, sampling small plates and different beverages on a beautiful summer evening.  We were assigned to the “Monorail Red” group but there were plenty of other colors, including yellow, white, and blue in the mix.  Be prepared readers – these next few photos are bound to make you hungry!

Our “Taste” tour began at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.  I really enjoyed each themed display from event sponsor Sprouts, and that each restaurant had their own signage for the event.

Sprouts Display – Mardi Gras!

Bruschetta bite in a watermelon puree

 New Orleans Rum Hurricane & Red Snapper Junipero Gin Cocktail
Duck confit with potato gnocchi – delicious!

Then we were escorted to ESPN Zone, which featured beverages from local Anaheim craft brewery, Noble Ale Works!

Anaheim’s own Noble Ale Works

Sprouts Display – Sports-themed!
Parmesan garlic fries

Toffee bread pudding bite

Our third stop was Tortilla Jo’s, which served up freshly-made guacamole and chips, chicken taquitos, Ensenada Brewing Co. beers, and Karma Tequila margarita.

Sprouts Display – Mexican food
Delicious chicken taquitos

Beer offerings from Ensenada Brewing Co – yes, Horchata beer!

Aguas Frescas

Good Karma Margarita, courtesy of Karma Tequila

The beautiful spread for fresh guacamole and chips

The evening continued at the UVA Bar at the Catal Restaurant, featuring wines from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

UVA Bar Signature Cocktail with whiskey & muddled blackberries

Corn cake with pulled pork on top

Lamb sliders

Francis Ford Coppola wine display
Octopus salad

Shrimp cocktail bites

The group was then escorted to a live painting presentation called Art Attack, “a live art experience committed to the conservation of wildlife.” At first, we had no idea what artist Stephen Fishwick was painting, and then he spun the painting around the reveal that it was a gorilla!  So impressive!

The night didn’t stop there!  The Monorail Red Group then made our way to the Wonderground Gallery to enjoy some refreshing lemonade or Tropical Fruit Punch and admire the alternative Disney artwork.  I even had Disney artist Dave Avanzino in my group and watched an artist sketch out Wreck-It Ralph.
Refreshing lemonade and fruit punch

Sandwich bites

Disney artist Dave Avanzino! (center)

Artist working at Wonderground Gallery

After the sun had set, our group then traveled over to the Anaheim House of Blues and enjoyed several delicious morsels, including beers from Anchor Brewing, kale salad, and pulled pork sliders.

Sprouts Display – Rock n Roll snacks

Beers on tap:  Anchor Brewing

Close-up of the pulled pork slider

Kale salad with stawberries
Our last restaurant stop of the evening was Naples Ristorante, where we dined al fresco in the patio area…

Dining on the patio at Naples Ristorante

Risotto balls in marinara sauce
Eggplant Pizza
Red wine available for guests

Then all of the colored lanyard groups joined together for a dessert reception hosted by La Brea Bakery and Jamba Juice. Attendees got the opportunity to sample Jamba Juice smoothies, hot cups of coffee, and an array of different pastries, all under the lights of the Disneyland fireworks!

Pastries of all kinds!

Disneyland fireworks explode as people grab evening coffee

This evening showcased many of the wonderful eateries and gourmet offerings in the Downtown Disney District and benefited a wonderful organization.  I highly recommend that you check out this event next year!


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