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Taste of Gaslamp: A Walking Tour of Downtown Dining June 18-19

Follow these insider tips for the best downtown dining experience

Courtesy Photo


Take the family out this Father’s Day weekend to sample some of downtown San Diego’s finest eateries at the 18th annual Taste of Gaslamp. This may be the perfect opportunity to select your family’s favorite restaurants for future holidays.

Unlike other Taste Of events, where outdoor booths are gathered in a designated area for patrons, the Taste of Gaslamp is a complete, interactive experience of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, taking place June 18-19.

“What makes the Taste of Gaslamp unique is that it is San Diego’s original culinary walking tour, offering guests not just a taste of the cuisine, but also a ‘taste’ of the restaurants’ ambiance,” said Brandy Shimabukuro, marketing and public relations representative for the Gaslamp Quarter Association.

Guests can check in at Latitude Lounge at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter to receive their numbered ticket, complimentary recipe book and a map of the event. The food festivities take place from 1 to 4 p.m. both days, but guests are advised to check in promptly at 12:30 p.m. to get the best bang for their buck.

“Because check-in rarely takes longer than a few minutes, this gives the guests ample time to peruse the event map and chart out their course—what we like to call “foodie’s game plan”—before the start of the event at 1 p.m.,” Shimabukuro said.

Restaurant lines may vary in wait time, but none are expected to exceed a 10 minute wait. If stuck in a long line, guests can enjoy live entertainment hosted by a number of participating restaurants while they perfect their strategy to maneuver through 16.5 blocks of more than 30 restaurants to sample.

Those who are age 21 or older are in for a special treat this year.

“For the first time, the Taste of Gaslamp goes 22 stories up above the Gaslamp Quarter with the Sam Adams Beer Garden atop the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter at Altitude Sky Lounge,” Shimabukuro said.

The Sam Adams Beer Garden will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. for guests to take a break between samples or to unwind after a long day of touring.

Christopher M., the “Painter of Chefs,” will make a special appearance at Exclusive Collection Fine Arts Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. He is the featured artist for the Taste of Gaslamp and offered his original piece, Tropical Delights, to represent this year’s event.

“Guests will have the opportunity to meet and greet with Christopher M. and get his perspective on capturing the excitement and energy of chefs,” Shimabukuro said.

Tickets are on sale for $30, but guests are advised to purchase tickets early because they will go fast.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association is the nonprofit organization representing more than 400 of the district’s businesses as the merchant’s association. Proceeds from this event will benefit the association’s ongoing promotional programs such as the Gaslamp Locals Lifestyle & Design Tour and the annual Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Lighting Program.

Ticket sales and participating restaurant information can be found at gaslamp.org.

If you’re a first-time “Taster” be sure to follow Shimabukuro’s Top 5 Insider Tips:

1. Don’t forget to print your electronic ticket: Be sure to bring a print copy of your electronic ticket—not the confirmation e-mail—to ensure a speedy check-in.

2. Wear your walking shoes: Did you know that San Diego’s city blocks are 300 feet in length? You’ll need comfortable shoes to navigate through 16.5 blocks. With that kind of exercise, you won’t feel bad about some extra calories. Ladies, leave your heels at home.

3.Wear loose fitting clothing: You might even want to consider elastic pants. Even though each restaurant offers at least a two- to four-ounce sample, guests tend to get full after a handful of locations. There are more than 30 restaurants to try, so come prepared.

4. Dress in layers: With June gloom lingering, it may get chilly throughout the day. Guests who plan to visit Altitude Sky Lounge should know that it can get pretty breezy 22 stories up.

5. Don't be afraid to try something new: Venture out of your comfort zone to discover new tastes you may not otherwise get to try. As Shimabukuro says, “Eating is what you do to survive and sustain; dining is an experience. It’s feasting with all of your senses engaged—and the Taste of Gaslamp offers a feast in the heart of San Diego’s finest dining destination.”

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  • City: San Diego
  • Dates: June 18-19, 2011