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All you can eat on one street

Glendale’s annual Taste Walk provides local restaurants a chance to shine

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All you can eat on one street

Taste Walk attendees at the stop next to The Museum of Neon Art.

Taste Walk attendees at the stop next to The Museum of Neon Art.

Taste Walk attendees at the stop next to The Museum of Neon Art.

Taste Walk attendees at the stop next to The Museum of Neon Art.

Naira Shahbandarian, Social Media Administrator

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I walked past the booths that had been set up by different restaurants around Brand Boulevard, during Glendale’s annual Taste Walk, an event that attracts local foodies into exploring the different varieties of food that the city offers. People were making their way down the street and taking whatever their taste buds were craving.

Booths were placed with restaurant food, stations with alcoholic drinks, music stages with different performers and a VIP area. Ticket prices ranged from $35 to $250 with proceeds going to the Glendale Arts, the Alex Theatre, and the YWCA Glendale’s Camp Y Summer Youth Program. Those with tickets carried dark blue tote bags, wore colored wristbands, and were able to treat themselves with the food they wanted. Restaurants including California Pizza Kitchen, Gaucho’s Village and Eden on Brand participated.

According to a recent LA Times article, Taste Walk Glendale was launched 17 years ago by Glendale Healthy Kids, which provides health services to local low-income children, and was eventually turned over to Glendale Arts.

“When you volunteer for Glendale Arts and the Alex Theatre, you are a part of ensuring access to the arts for the community including youth and their families. As a volunteer you work with staff as the point person at check-in or for questions, set-up or take-down, and everything in between,” said Nina Crowe, director of fund development and community partnerships of Glendale Arts. “In addition to being a representative of our organization and helping raise awareness, you are contributing to the financial success of an event or organization. At Glendale Arts, we’re so thankful for our volunteers that believe like we do that #artiseverything. It’s the music you listen to, the food you eat, and most definitely the time you give.”

Knowing we needed some community service hours, my friends and I decided to volunteer at the event. Two days prior to the event, we attended a volunteer orientation to get informed on the layout of the walk. In addition, we were also taken on a short tour to see where the booths were to be set up. On the day of the event, we first arrived at the Glendale Arts office to check in and obtain our T-shirts that we were to wear while we were working.

My friends and I were then placed at the stop next to the Museum of Neon Art. During our volunteering experience, we answered questions and guided anyone who had questions about the event. Most of the people walking by would ask us what event was going on. We also had to keep a good eye out for those walking into the event with no wristband, as wristbands were given to those who paid for tickets and we could not let anyone in for free.

“I’m happy that I took the opportunity to volunteer at the event,” said Ione Bustos, a Glendale High School junior. “It was a nice feeling to help out the community. It was also unique for Glendale culture.”

After my shift was over, my friends and I could join the event and try out as much food as we wanted. We clocked out and earned ourselves a pink food bracelet, which allowed us to taste food samples from any restaurant booth we desired.

Some restaurants like Tender Greens gave out fairly simple dishes, while others like 85C Bakery Cafe attracted long lines because of their varieties of food. While walking along the downtown streets, I realized how fantastic the food options are in Glendale. My friends and I tried out some dishes from familiar restaurants like BJ’s, while also discovering brand new places such as Wafflejack, which is new to Glendale and offers waffles with different spreads and toppings on them. After trying out a sample from Wafflejack, we were so satisfied that we got back in line for another waffle.

The Electric Pussycat, a flamboyant Austin Powers-themed bar, was another place that we had discovered during the walk. The venue was also new and not very noticeable as it was alongside the large Men’s Warehouse store. They offered very tasty and colorful milkshakes in shot glasses.

Glendale isn’t the only city to put on an event like this. Montrose has had a similar event called Taste of Montrose, which features a few restaurants that are well liked in the area. Other cities all over the country put on similar events to the Taste Walk to introduce people to food options in the area.

Going to the Taste Walk helped people like me get out of their comfort zone and try new foods. I am somewhat a picky eater myself, but attending the event helped me explore the world of different dishes and inspired me to try out something new.

“I am very glad that I was able to come and experience the Taste Walk this year,” said Clark junior Kiana Jokar. “I enjoyed the fact that we were able to try different dishes from restaurants we go to often, while also finding new spots we had never tried from before. It was a really fun night and I’m happy I got to participate in the event.”

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All you can eat on one street