Savor Santa Ana – A Stroll for the Foodie Soul

A walking review of this year’s Savor Santa Ana 

The first Savor Santa Ana hosted by Downtown Inc. took place in hip Downtown Santa Ana amongst the Artist Village Lofts, Yost Theater and Ronald Reagan Federal Building during the evening of October 16th, 2014. Over 25 establishments participated in the event, offering samples of their fare. A stack of 10 tickets for the event cost $10. These tickets were then exchanged for anything from cookies to beer, even art.

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I got the opportunity to partake in Savor Santa Ana and my husband came along for the ride. We picked up our tickets and a map at the event booth within the Farmer’s Market. Then we headed out on our own little culinary adventure. All of DTSA was aflutter with excitement as foodies eagerly made their way through the streets to the next treat.

Our first stop was Chapter One, which offers “seasonal, farm-to-table fare.” The restaurant was dishing out a chimichurri steak taco topped with queso fresco. This was the most costly taste we went for at 5 tickets each. The steak was well cooked and delicately flavored. The chimichurri sauce and cheese hit the mark. Although we thoroughly enjoyed it, we felt that other offerings were just as delicious for as little as one-third the “price.”

After that we headed to C4 Deli. The restaurant lived up to its slogan of “cure for the common” with their “inexpensive,” but oh-so scrumptious pastrami sliders. At 2 tickets each, we saw many a person enjoying two to three of these babies. My husband and I shared a slider, which I would not recommend. C4’s pastrami sliders shouldn’t be individually shared; they’re just too darn good.

Next was Eqeko for a taste of Peruvian cuisine. We sampled their cebiche and tiradito tapas at 2 tickets each. Both the cebiche and tiradito are similar in concept to a mexican ceviche with marinated raw fish and chopped vegetables, but with a twist. The cebiche included raw fish marinated in citrus juice accompanied by herbs, red onion and hominy. It was a delicate, exciting dish. The tiradito was a spicy raw fish dish that would have been finger licking good if they hadn’t provided plastic spoons. After these samples and reading up on the establishment on Yelp, I would place Eqeko into the coveted restaurant category of affordable gourmet. I’m definitely going back for a meal.

Continuing on, we hit the Good Beer Company for four tastes and then came back at the end to use our last ticket for a fifth taste. It is clear that these brew masters have perfected their craft. The bar tenders poured out a generous amount per person for tasting. Their brews were delightfully smooth, with exciting flavors including the DTSA Zing, an IPA with hot peppers, and DTSA Citrus another IPA with citrus zest. My favorite was their Saison Uno Citra. At 1 ticket a pop, this was by far the best value.

The Gypsy Den came next. I knew I had to try their tomato tartine and banana mocha. Each taste cost 2 tickets. Full disclosure here, I am a big fan of the Gypsy Den and had yet to try these offerings. The tomato tartine was difficult to share, as it was appetizer-size. Despite being small the tartine was absolutely delectable. The banana mocha, however, was fairly bland and watered down.

Finally, we stopped by Black Market Bakery, which was about to sell out of goods. We snapped up some graham crackers for 2 tickets. You may be thinking, “graham crackers?!” These were no ordinary graham crackers. No, these were delightful, buttery, crispy, not at all flaky, not too sweet cookies. We savored these cookies over a handful of days after the event and have been left with frequent cravings ever since.

We sampled some great cuisine and discovered a handful of restaurants that we may not have ever found on our own. There’s no indication for it becoming a recurring event, but we sincerely hope it does. Savor Santa Ana was indeed “A Stroll for the (Foodie) Soul.”

 

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