The Flavors of DTSA at Savor Santa Ana

The twice-yearly culinary and cultural adventure we know and love as Savor Santa Ana recently took place on the warm evening of September 16th. Savor Santa Ana is a celebration of the many unique flavors found in hip, historical Downtown Santa Ana, California.


A selection of local restaurants and bars open their doors and provide 1 to 4 miniature versions of dishes, snacks or beverages off their menu. These little “tastes” include a wide variety of items such as yakitori, coffee, sliders, sangria, brats and donuts – all delicious. The local Starbucks even participated this year with samples off their secret menu, including Café de Olla.

Calle Cuatro Savor Santa Ana Fall 2016 DTSA

Savor Santa Ana Main Stage area on Calle Cuatro (4th Street) with the ticket booth and the Santa Ana High School Mariachis band.

41 restaurants participated in the event. Attendees could purchase 5 tickets for $10 at the event or in advance online. I bought mine at the event since there was no added fees or tax, whereas there was a service fee when purchasing online. Most tasting cost 1 ticket, while some larger items cost 2 tickets.

Shrimp Ceviche Tostada from Taquerias Guadalajaras - Savor Santa Ana Fall 2016

My favorite Savor Santa Ana taste! The Shrimp Ceviche Tostada from Taquerias Guadalajara at Spurgeon Street and 4th Street was very fresh with delectable textures and phenomenal flavor.

The best bet for finding parking was at any of the parking structures along 3rd and 5th streets. Free rides on the DTSA historic trolleys took attendees to the different tasting areas during the event.

Smoked Bratwurst over Mini Drunken Fries at Wursthaus - Savor Santa Ana Fall 2016

The delicious Smoked Bratwurst over Mini Drunken Fries taste at Wursthaus. Yum!

This Savor Santa Ana was a special one as the event was held on Mexican Independence Day. Santa Ana has been a hub for Mexican culture in Orange County. Local businesses, activist groups and community members have worked together to keep Mexican culture alive and represented in the beloved shopping and culinary district as it evolved over recent years.

The 4th Street Market Back Patio with Entertainment during Savor Santa Ana Fall 2016

The 4th Street Market Back Patio scene was full of families and plenty of people dancing to the DJ set for the event. The music, party lighting, outdoor air, decor and gorgeous mural backdrop to the patio (organized by Marcas Gallery) created the thrilling feel of a luxurious, private celebration.

Entertainment abounded at the event! In honor of Mexican Independence Day, Savor Santa Ana held live mariachis by Santa Ana High School on Calle Cuatro (4th Street) promenade, which was dubbed the Main Stage. The performance was grand with plenty of enthusiastic spectators and proud cheering.

Dos Chinos Curry Tacos during Savor Santa Ana Fall 2016

The Curry Tacos from Dos Chinos (Asian-Latin fusion food truck gone restaurant) were definitely a highlight of the event. The massive line snaked around to the back of the building. They were worth the wait. The genius that is coconut panang curry chicken in a taco with fried yam, tamarind sauce and cilantro should be revered for all time.

A pop-up Juan Gabriel Karaoke at Rancho de Mendoza was open to everyone. Live Music could be heard from almost every corner of Downtown. Beautiful little farolitos (paper lanterns) adorned the performance areas for musical acts.

Downtown Donuts - Savor Santa Ana 2016 DTSA

Downtown Donuts had 3 mini donuts for 1 ticket with 3 flavor options: powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and plain. Even with a perpetual sweet tooth, the plain donuts were my favorite as nothing got in the way of the buttery, mildly sweet doughy flavor.

Savor Santa Ana even boasted a Grito Contest, a Grito being a traditional Mexican shout often performed during Mexican Independence Day in remembrance of the Cry of Dolores. The winner received passes to the upcoming OC Film Fiesta. DTSA also held an Instagram Photo Contest, awarding winners with $100 gift certificates towards photography courses.


To make sure you find out about the next Savor Santa Ana, sign up for the Savor email list at See you there!

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