Seven is the magic number for the Vista Village Business Association. They really hit it out of the ballpark on Thursday (June 24). Ok, for you readers that don’t speak baseball… the VVBA’s 7th Annual Taste of Vista was a smashing success. Attended by hundreds of hungry and thirsty Vistans, the Historic Downtown of Vista along Main Street was a sea of consumption. Long lines quickly formed at over two dozen booths where samples from some of Vista’s finest restaurants were passed out to those sporting the pink wrist bands.
Before sampling the cuisine I wandered up and down the street attempting conversation with people as they ate with gusto. I did this for two reasons. First, I wanted to have their fresh and genuine opinions on the event and secondly, I wanted to know where the best bites were to be found. The opinions ran from “Best Taste of Vista Ever”, to “Best food we ever had at a Taste of Vista”, to “More seating and more food this year”. There was a definite consensus to be found from curb to curb. Everyone was having a good time. Everyone was enjoying the tasty eats and frothy brews.
There was great entertainment from a country western group that I heard last year at the Vista Historical Society’s Summer BBQ. Steelehorse Country is mainstream country with all the twangy and Nashville you could want. Their renditions of popular Country Western tunes had many people ready to start dancing. When they sang “Elvira” I was looking down the street at food plates that were flowing out of several booths just as the lyrics “Hungry Horse Café” bounded out of the large amplifiers under the gazebo. Yes, I could see lots of “hungry horses”. The band took a break and the band leader told us they would be right back and cautioned the crowd “not to leave Vista” “We’ve got the place surrounded”. Not to worry because no one was leaving all the great food. By the way, this band, plays good music, has great renditions, and all the band members are blind. I hope they come to all the Vista events.
Volunteers were everywhere. A non-profit group “Fight ALD” brought 32 plus volunteers to the event. Led by the organization’s founder Janis Sherwood this group of volunteers were working hard to help make The Taste of Vista a success and at the same time helping bring awareness to a little known genetic disease that affects young men. More information can be found at www.fightALD.org
Also volunteering were the North San Diego Young Marines. The young men and women of this group are seen at many Vista ceremonies in their sharp uniforms presenting the United States flag. However, today they were not on Color Guard duty, they were on Trash Patrol. Mustering a force of 7 Young Marines they performed this duty with the same precision they demonstrate with their marching. As the EDCO trash containers were quickly being filled by the hungry hordes, the Young Marines were emptying them. The North San Diego Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The non-profit organization promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. https://www.facebook.com/NorthSanDiegoYoungMarine
Wearing their gowns, tiaras, and sashes were two other volunteers, Miss Pride of Vista and Miss Teen Pride of Vista. Allyce Calloway and Alondra Alanis are 2015 pageant winners but they are also found volunteering at all kinds of events in Vista. And sitting at a table check-in point I saw two other pretty volunteers, Soroptimists Runa Gunnars and Thoralinda Soyland. Maggie represented the Vista Chamber of Commerce and was screening the people entering the Fierce Precision Salon for a quaff of Oggis brew. Her brother’s business, Big Media Prints, is a Chamber member and I saw other Chamber members supporting this flourishing event.
Several Mini events were taking place in conjunction or under the cover of The Taste of Vista. A very unique feature of the Taste was called Shop and Sip. Merchants in the downtown area partnered with local wine and brew makers. This brought many thirsty folk into businesses for the first time. The results of the partnership with Fifty Barrels Winery were thrilling to Tracy, the Owner of Apothecary off Main. Her shop sold more products with her staying inside her business than it did last year when she had a booth out on Main Street. She hopes to continue the fruitful collaboration with Fifty Barrels.
The Shop and Sip program had Aztec Brewing at Town Square Realty, Booze Brothers at Poise Hair Salon, Wavelength at Lush Coffee and Tea, Belching Beaver at Jeff Underdahl Realty, Backstreet Brewery at Voyage Gifts, Prohibition at Dura Paint, and Twice was twice the fun with Mother Earth at the the front door and Latitude 33 at the back door. I wonder if they could hold Shop and Sip more often. It would encourage me to help my wife with her shopping.
Fifty Barrels Winery wasn’t just giving samples at Apothecary off Main. They were holding a “Paint Nite” party where the motto was “Drink Creatively”. Mike the San Diego firefighter and Lisa were having a good time doing just that. Paint Nite runs colorful, fun-filled social painting events in local bars and restaurants. Their master artists guide customers through the creation of their own painting. While they discover their painting talents customers get to listen to great music, laugh with old friends, meet new ones and experience a new or favorite bar or restaurant. All done with a drink in one hand and a paintbrush in the other! Now here’s another concept I can readily embrace. https://www.paintnite.com/
Another Mini–Event went late into the evening. The rollicking din from the Vista Village Pub came from the Trivia Nite that dozens of the pubs patrons were playing as the rental company picked up all the tables and chairs from the Taste of Vista.
But, enough of the Mini-Events. You want to hear about the main event and possibly the fare at the mini event. BBQ was found at 4 locations. Dale and Tammy from When Pigs Fly brought ribs and Tammy’s famous Smoked Peach Cobbler. John Hoffman from Pacific Trails brought mouthwatering pulled pork half sliders, Roddy from the Flying Pig, as he had me sample his delicious homemade sausage, assured me they will open the new store on South Santa Fe on July 20.
Coming soon to a location nearer to my home, Porter’s 52 Grill and Bar ran out of ribs before I could taste it but Debbie Simms told me it was “The best!” and the cornbread was very moist. Roscoe and Angela of Vista also gave the ribs two thumbs up and said they “loved the Mac”.
John from Curbside always has some of the best food. His tasty Crabcakes and Teriyaki chicken always draw some of the longest lines. Queen of Cakes with sweet pastry, The Yellow Deli with wonderful homemade breads, Urbn Pizza, Mrs. Taco, Rubios, Tortorilleria, SoupPlantation, Panera Bread, Frazier Farms and Ciao all presented tasty samples of their cuisine. I was stuffed! Fortunately, by the time I got to Keith from Partake the mob had cleaned him out. It was ok because I’ve dined at Partake and I already know how good it is.
For over three hours I saw lots of friends and associates who were enjoying the event. I also saw City Manager Patrick Johnson and Fire Chief Ned Vanderpol. They were enjoying the Taste of Vista with their families. Passing one of the many umbrella shaded tables I ran into Margo Cobian. Margo, who works for EDCO Waste and Recycling, is a former classmate of mine and the Chair-Elect of the Vista Chamber Of Commerce. She proudly introduced me to her amazing family that included her sister and brother who are recent Doctor and Master Degree graduates. I wasn’t the only one meeting friends and associates. All up and down the street people were stopping or calling out to one another. Social and culinary needs were being met. Enjoyment was rampant.
To sum it up, the VVBA had hit a homerun. Oops, there I go again with the baseball lingo. Maybe it’s because the new Padre Manager and I share the same name. But, however I say it, the 7th annual Taste of Vista was a grand success. Unfortunately we have to wait a full year for the 8th Annual taste of Vista. Of course, there is another VVBA event coming soon. More than just a car show, the Vista Rod Run that will be held on Sunday, August 2, 2015, is a tradition in the heart of Vista.