CARLSBAD — The return of the Taste of Carlsbad Village rose like a phoenix.
Years after going dormant, 500 people rolled through the streets of Carlsbad on Oct. 12 for the return of the annual foodie event.
Hosted by the Carlsbad Village Association, the annual tasting event featured 50 businesses — 30 restaurants, 10 merchants, 10 brand ambassadors, 40 volunteers and five musical acts — throughout downtown where patrons gobbled up food and hit the sip stops.
Christine Davis, Carlsbad Village Association program manager, said the return of the event was a hit. So much so the association is going straight into discussions about expansion. The next event will be in the fall, perhaps in October, although those details still must be ironed out, she said.
“To be honest, I consider this our inaugural event because it wasn’t to this level or expense in the past,” Davis said. “It went better than expected. I think people were blown away by the quality of food and the proportion of food they were served. No one went home hungry.”
Davis said the Carlsbad Village Association held firm on its 500 tickets to avoid overwhelming businesses for the event’s return. She said many people and businesses were turned away, but that the success, hopefully, can turn into growing the event even bigger next year.
What will drive expansion is the feedback from the restaurants, businesses and brand ambassadors (craft beer and wine businesses), Davis said, because they are the ones who must be capable of handling the foot traffic.
Nevertheless, several people were able to hit all 30 restaurants and people snaked their way through the Village to find delicious food and drinks. Water was even donated by Palomar Mountain Water, while Mission Federal Credit Union was the title sponsor and assisted with re-launching the event, Davis said.
“We sold out in 35 days,” she explained. “It was bittersweet because we could have sold many more tickets. We were really committed to making this a real quality event and not so overwhelming for everybody.”
San Marcos resident Ursula McDonald said it was her first time at the event, although she frequents many Carlsbad establishments. She said it was a great opportunity to get a peek at what many restaurants had to offer.
McDonald said Ciccoitti’s and Barrel Republic were two spots she hadn’t visited before, but the food and ambiance were draws for her to return.
“I’m all about food and I love these restaurants around here,” she added. “Everybody seems to be in a really great mood. It’s busy but not too crowded. I haven’t had anything I didn’t like.”
Christian Peralta and Kim Hernandez, both 21, were also new to the event. Peralta said he heard about the Taste of Carlsbad Village on the website Reddit and thought it was worth the price of admission.
His palate has been devoted to Ramen and sushi, while Hernandez said it gave her a chance to explore different cuisine, although she is a notable fan of Italian food.
“Our first food festival experience was really cool, so we wanted to do another one,” she added. “It’s really good. A lot of different food. I like the little Italian restaurants.”
Peralta and Hernandez, like McDonald, said there wasn’t a bad option to be found during their journey through the Village. From doughnuts to smoothies, the choices were vast and tasty, they said.
Even the Village’s newest restaurants, Taste of the Himalayas and the Bluewater Grill, which opened its doors for a sneak peek before its official opening on Oct. 23, got in on the action.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.