When my Sunday suddenly freed up this past Labor Day weekend, I knew that I wanted to go to The Taste. I tried getting tickets kind of at the last minute. That Sunday morning, I browsed through their site to find that tickets were still available. I didn’t want to make the purchase right away because I wanted to get some of the logistic things sorted out first. A couple hours later, I checked their Instagram page to see what they had going on earlier that day. And bam….I saw the “sold out” post. I was heartbroken. I’ve missed it every year since I was never off on Sundays.
The same weekend, the 626 Night Market was going on, which is another event I wanted to go to, but never could. So what the heck…..second choice it it’d be. I looked forward to munching all day and night. It was a cheat day.
It was a SCORCHING Sunday afternoon. I thought that it was crazy packed at 4-5ish, but that was just the beginning.
I have a bad habit of always forgetting where I parked, so I usually take a picture to track my way back when I forget lol. A-1 was facing me towards the way to the entrance.
It makes life much easier when the other person/people has a good eye for remembering where we parked. When I am alone or with others that are just as bad about remembering as I am, we can be lost for hours.
I came here with a friend, but decided to part ways at the entrance (and meet at the end of the night) since we both wanted to explore different things. Hardcore foodies will go with a big group, part ways and then get together after each stop, to get the most out of sampling by sharing. But honestly, I think for this event, it would have been brutal, especially after 7 pm. If you have been here, you’d understand why.
SCORCHING around 4-5ish!
First upon arrival, I got a pork slider from Heo Yeah. I learned that Heo means “pig” in Vietnamese. One pork slider was $5, and two for $8. But there was an early bird special, two for $6 at the time.
Okay, after getting some food in my belly, I was ready to move along. A cold drink sounded appropriate. Nearby, I spotted Boba Bear.
I got the Milk Tea for $5. I am currently on a coffee detox and it is hard as Hell. I know that Milk Tea has some caffeine in it, but technically, it’s not coffee. So, technically, I am not cheating, right? Right!
Look at the cute little mason jars the drinks come in.
Next, I needed ice cream. Crescendo Ice Cream.
People like to watch the nitrogen action. It makes me want to experiment with Nitrogen.
I got the Cha Cha Matcha for $6. The ice cream comes with a slice of white bread in the cup.
I was baking in the heat and need to cool off. It is somewhat cooler upstairs, where the horserace gamblers are. It’s where the 626-ers come to use the restroom. The place looked like a hurricane has gone through, -trash everywhere. Ripped up pieces of paper consumed most of the floor and tables. I thought I’d stay and cool off before going back out into the sun.
When I went back out, I even picked up a Yelp fan.
I see my first Yelp friend, Faye of Faye’s Fork and her vast collection of Yelp swag that she has collected over the years. Getting my first Yelp swag reminded me of her. She’s an elite Yelper and gets invitations for all these cool events where they have the opportunity to experience new restaurants and sample some tasty eats. But I think that the swag she can collect at the events is the highlight of her visits.
I went back out around close to seven. Potato chips on a stick was next. I didn’t really know which place to pick since there are a number of them, so I picked the one I was the closest to, Miister Potato.
The line was moving along, longer than the other three places that I had tried earlier.
The chips are dipped into the flavor of choice upon order. I got the bulgogi flavor.
Anything on a stick looks fun to eat. But personally, I found the potato chips a little inconvenient to eat. And half the place is walking around with these pointy sticks waving around. They can easily poke someone’s eye out! It would probably be less of an issue if the place didn’t get so darn jam packed after the sun goes down.
Next stop: Squid Roe
It was hard to decide whether to get the roe balls or the squid.
I felt like I had to have something squid while I was there since I’ve heard people raving about the squids. And look at Mr. Squid with his cool shades on. Tempting, but I ended up getting the roe balls and was going to have squid at one of the next stops.
It was impossible to find a spot to eat. Finding a spot to stand around at was just as impossible. So WTF is a girl to do? It’s even worse to munch while swimming through crowds. I don’t mind munching on the go, but geez….with crowds breathing all over you, it kind of defeats the eating experience. I ended up sitting at a curb to eat. People were walking past through me the entire time.
There were so many more things I wanted to try. If I had the time, stomach, and cash, I would have loved to try an item from all the vendors there. I kind of had the stomach and cash, but unfortunately, the roe balls ended up being the last item for the night. I’d say this was my favorite item that I tried here. The roe balls were piping and crispy. The filling leaked juices with each bite. Yum.
By this time, it was starting to get nearly impossible to move around. There were bodies everywhere!
You had to squeeze through body after body, sticky and sweaty bodies!
It was like my worst nightmare come true. I don’t even like strangers being close to me. But OMG! I could not move without rubbing up against someone. You had to stand and wait your turn to move, when there is a slight gap (of maybe half a foot), you’d hold your nose and make your way, squeezing through the people. After about half an hour of this bullshit, I threw in the towel. I just had enough. All the lines were endless and I wasn’t going to wait THAT long in line for anything. That is just madness. If you are waiting for anything for that long, the anticipation builds up and it’s much easier to get disappointed if it does not meet your expectations.
I don’t know why they do this to the visitors! The madness is just inhumane. Many people leave frustrated because they couldn’t do as much as they wanted to because of the crowd. This seemed to be a common complaint on Yelp. The event organizers’ response to it all is to come early to avoid the crowd. So apparently, the visitors coming at night are expected to suffer from the crowd madness while those visiting during the day are expected to suffer from the heat.
I’d like to go again, but only if they hold the event at a much spacious venue. Otherwise, I’m never ever coming back. Hellish foodie heaven is what I’d sum up the experience as.