Many cities have their own unique that identifies them uniquely from the rest. Cities may have certain traits or features that many people associate with that city. For example, people tend to associate Los Angeles with smog, or Venice with sexy beach people and/or stoners. Overall, almost every city has its own take on local cuisine, from food to drinks and more. While a city like Westminster has a reputation for Vietnamese food, coastal cities like San Pedro usually have a reputation for seafood. When a city has pride in its food, they will likely hold an event that showcases the local businesses. Long Beach does this with the Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor or Taste Of Downtown Long Beach, and lots of other cities hold their own food fest that celebrates local food and drink. The aforementioned San Pedro has a penchant for coastal cuisine that includes more than just seafood, and the inaugural Taste of San Pedro highlights all of what San Pedro has to offer.
This past Saturday evening, the 2016 Taste of San Pedro took place at the parking lot directly in front of CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles. Hosted by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, this tasting event featured over twenty restaurants from San Pedro all sampling their cuisine to the hundreds of attendees throughout the evening. This event allowed attendees to glimpse at the many food offerings that San Pedro has, and sample the foods that stand out to them. Attendees that purchased the $55 general admission pass received five food tickets and five drink tickets, while attendees that purchased the VIP admission received unlimited food and drinks all night while supplies lasted. Attendees entered the event directly in front of the CRAFTED building, and the event space spanned the parking lot there plus Brouwerij West and the western section of CRAFTED. All of the food vendors set up near the entrance, the alcohol booth set up in the middle, and the main stage set up at the opposite end from the entrance.
The food vendors in attendance involved a diverse range of businesses. Vendors mostly came from restaurants, while some other vendors included small food shops, caterers, a hotel, and a brewery. While certain vendors saw long lines for most of the day, I found myself returning to Whale & Ale (crab cakes) and Primal Alchemy Catering (onion tart) for extra helpings because they tasted that good. Strangely, this event severely lacked non-alcoholic beverages. After an hour of tasting, I badly needed water, and I could not find bottled water anywhere. I had to settle for repeat tea samples from Hojas Tea House and Sirens Java & Tea. Most of the other food did not impress me as much, but probably because I expected something unique, but instead found familiar cuisines such as Mexican and Italian.
The Taste of San Pedro hosted various forms of entertainment throughout the evening. The main stage had performances from music to visual arts, while a side stage mainly had dancing and some more visual arts.
Not to feel left out, some of the vendors inside CRAFTED took part in the Taste of San Pedro.
Whenever I go to a “Taste of ____” event, I always scrutinize the event for carrying too many corporate vendors. Taste of Anaheim did just that by having more than three quarters of their vendors come from a corporate business. At least with Taste of San Pedro, they had less than half of the vendors come from corporate businesses. Still, I would prefer to see such an event do away with corporate vendors completely and focus solely on the local businesses. I do not need to go all the way to San Pedro just to eat food from Acapulco, Yogurtland, Pick Up Stix, or Double Tree Hilton – I can visit any of those close to home. Hopefully we see a greater emphasis of local businesses at next year’s Taste of San Pedro. Check out what else goes on in San Pedro by liking the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.