A Marvelous Time at Masters of Taste 2018

With so much to see and do in SoCal it can be hard to visit the same place twice. There’s so many places and events that I’ve absolutely loved but have yet to revisit but, sometimes, I can’t help but go again and again. Recently, the 3rd annual Masters of Taste was held at the Rose Bowl and, so far, I’ve never missed it.

This year I was lucky enough to score a pair of complimentary VIP passes and (after purchasing a third ticket) I brought my two best buds along for the ride. Unlike last year the sky was blue, the temperature was high and it was, all in all, a beautiful day to celebrate.

As I’ve come to expect, Masters of Taste brought out the big guns and there were nearly 100 food, beverage and dessert masters on hand to offer an array of delightful dishes. Throughout the afternoon my friends and I wandered all over the field and enjoyed some spectacular treats.

One of the first items I sampled turned out be one of my favorites – Cucumber Gazpacho from Loquita. The creamy cool treat was perfect for a hot afternoon and the array of flavors, highlighted by a generous topping of saffron, were delightful.

Every year I look forward to offer to the offerings from Pasadena’s Ramen Tatsunoya and this year did not disappoint. The cold veggie noodles, like the gazpacho, were just perfect for the hot temps and they were oh so flavorful. I’m convinced Ramen Tatsunoya is the best ramen house in SoCal.

Ok, I’m noticing a trend because another one of my favorite dishes was the Spicy Baja Tuna Tostada from Pez Cantina. Clearly the weather was influencing my choices because this was another cold treat. The crunchy tostada was topped with an array of flavorful treats and was a spicy delight.

Perhaps the dish that surprised me the the most was the Maccheroni al Bolognese from Prince of Venice. Sadly, I’ve come to expect disappointment from most pasta dishes so imagine my surprise when I discovered this delicious bolognese. All items are made fresh daily and the simple presentation belied a dish filled with flavor.

Cocktails are always a highlight of Masters of Taste and, thanks to a designated driver, I was lucky enough to try a number of them. Offered from such diverse outlets as Magnolia House, Raymond 1886 and Sunset & Vinyl there were options for every palate. Imagine my surprise when my favorite drink was a simple bourbon and cold brew from Groundwork Coffee.

I’ve long enjoyed their coffee and their foray into liquor was a true success. Who’d have thought that cold brew and bourbon made such a delicious combination? We don’t need to discuss just how many cupfuls I enjoyed.

I have a killer sweet tooth but with so many savory options I didn’t have much room for dessert. But I had to try Ube Pavlova from Creme Caramel. I’ve long been a fan of their Filipino inspired treats and these soft, sugary clouds were a real treat.

Once again, Masters of Taste has proven to be the preeminent food event of the year. And the best part has nothing to do with eating. All proceeds from the event go to Union Station Homeless Services and this year over $500,000 was raised! With numbers like that I know a lot of needy people will receive much deserved aid and that makes me happier than any delicious dish or cocktail could.


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