Taste of North Park
As far as San Diego neighborhoods go, North Park is one of my favorites. With its youthful and artsy vibe, it's a breeding ground for great restaurants and bars. Combine this with a touch of diversity (that's sorely lacking in coastal areas), and it feels like a little piece of the Bay Area came down south and took up residence here. If it weren't for the intolerable commute, I would move to North Park in a heartbeat. But as it stands, I have to settle for any chance I get to spend time in the neighborhood.
One such opportunity is an event that has become an annual tradition for my husband and me: stuffing ourselves silly at the Taste of North Park. For $35, you get to wander around the streets, sampling taste-size portions from participating restaurants and bars. Adding to the fun is that neighborhood galleries and shops team up with local breweries, offering drink tastings that give you a liquid tour while luring you into unexpected spots you wouldn't otherwise discover.
Since you inevitably end up going overboard with the food and drink, it's convenient that the participating locations are spread over a sizable area, thus allowing you to walk a much needed 2+ miles to work off your full belly. Over the years, we've learned to skip breakfast, come hungry, and exercise restraint at the first ~5-10 tastings so our stomachs don't explode by the end of the day.
This year's event was on point. From tacos to waffles, each taste seemed better than the last. We were predictably pleased with some of our old favorites and discovered a few new spots we will definitely return to. While we did not make it to all 71 locations (because hello, 71 locations), our route included quite a few stand-outs. Some of the day's highlights were:
- Tostadas's spinach enchiladas & watermelon agua fresca
- Wow Wow Waffle's homemade whipped cream & waffles
- Encontro's coke-braised pulled pork slider
- Lucha Libre's beef tacos
- Urban Solace's brioche (pictured above)
- Hammond's ice cream
- Florencia's cheese bread
Between the food, street art, and expertly curated shops, the scene lends itself well to photos. Below are some of my favorites from a wonderful afternoon.
All photos by Lauren Shipp