For a true sample of what Newport Beach's culinary scene has to offer, look no further than the annual Taste of Newport.
Hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and staffed by an army of more than 1,000 volunteers, the Taste draws more than 50,000 people each year to Fashion Island; a portion of proceeds benefit local charities.
Cuisines include American, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Spanish, Thai and several healthy options like Fit Foods 4 Life.
Local favorite Sabatino's will serve up their truly world-famous sausage sandwich and a low-carb version. The Whole Foods Market, soon to open at Fashion Island, will feature some of their ready-made options, like salmon sliders, skirt steak tartine, duck banh mi buttercups and a quinoa salad.
The Coliseum Pool and Grill at Pelican Hill will feature its famous pan-seared Kobe beef burger, among other offerings. In the mood for something more extravagant? Catalina Island's own Avalon Grille will offer up duck confit sliders, ahi tartare and more.
Olive Oil & Beyond will offer its ultra premium extra virgin olive oil and premium aged balsamic vinegars, for a separate fee.
Sweets abound at the Taste, where Casey's Cupcakes will serve up varieties like their smokin' s'mores and sassy strawberry. Also partake in eight flavors of Dippin' Dots flash-frozen ice cream; a banana empanada from Tapas; or the butterscotch budino from Pizzeria Mozza, one of the hottest tables in town.
In addition to offering patrons samples of top dishes from more than 30 area restaurant, the Taste features a selection of more than a dozen wines and champagnes from California wineries; mass-market and craft beers; cocktails; martinis; margaritas; and non-alcoholic options.
Patrons use eScrip cards to pay for their "tastes," which range from $1 to $7 each. As little as $1 may be put on an eScrip card; refunds will be given onsite for unused eScrip.
The onsite Chef's Pavilion will feature live cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend, as organized by the Newport Beach Restaurant Assn.
Much more than just a food festival, the event also features headline acts like Andy Grammer, appearing Friday; Blondie and Devo, playing Saturday; and Roger Hodgson: The Legendary Voice of Supertramp on Sunday. All entertainment is included in the admission price.
The Newport Beach Police Department has advised that road closures due to the Taste will begin about 6 a.m. Friday, and will run through late Sunday night. Closures include Newport Center Drive between Santa Rosa Drive and San Miguel Drive, and San Nicholas Drive between Newport Center Drive and Avocado Avenue.
Parking for the event is available at two parking structures at Santa Rosa Drive and Newport Center Drive, with valet options available. Parking will not be permitted in Fashion Island's main parking lots.
If You Go
What: Taste of Newport
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday; 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Fashion Island, Newport Beach
Cost: Admission $25 at gate; kids 8 and younger admitted for free; tastes are $1 to $7
Information: (949) 729-4400 or tasteofnewport.com