Attendance jumped for the second annual Taste of Oakdale event sponsored by the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, proving that Oakdale residents are always interested in sampling good food and beverages in a social setting.
Held at the FES Hall on Johnson Avenue on Tuesday evening, Aug. 31, the event featured three more vendors than last year and drew more than 300 people, all eager to sample what Oakdale has to offer.
There was something for every palate, from saucy Latin-inspired dishes from Café Bravo to tender Colorado Kobe beef from the Oakdale Golf and Country Club, not to mention all the desserts, wines, and other beverages.
Kat Country 103 was on site with a live feed and prizes while Ron Bordona manned The Big Green Egg smoker with plenty of babyback ribs to sample.
The purpose of the event is to increase awareness of what Oakdale-based and Oakdale Chamber of Commerce members in the catering, food and beverage businesses have to offer.
“It was very successful,” Mary Guardiola, Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO, said of the event. “We’ve had so many compliments. A lot of people came who were new to the area and this was a great venue for them to sample the local restaurants.”
Several vendors returned for the second year as they were pleased with the turnout and the results from the exposure.
Guardiola said, “We had three more vendors than last year and those who are still on the fence, they missed a great opportunity to get 300 people to sample their food.”
“We were here last year and we were happy with the turnout,” Oakdale Golf and Country Club Chef Dan Quint said as he and his sous chef rolled out countless plates of one of their more popular dishes at the club, Colorado Kobe beef with Tuscan mashed potatoes. “Nobody knows that we’re open to the public. You don’t have to be a member (of the country club) to come and enjoy a meal at the club. It’s Oakdale’s best kept secret.”
Café Bravo kept things lively with their freshly-made mojitos as well as a sampling of their coconut shrimp and Latin eggrolls with artichoke dip.
“We tried to bring something different from last year. We wanted something fresh because of the weather,” said Miguel Cancino, Café Bravo chef, of the Latin-flavored dishes. “These are some of our most popular dishes.”
Throughout the event, there were numerous demonstrations ranging from chocolate creations by Chef Nita Roberts to fruit carvings by culinary student Jose Lombara.
Tim Hauser, operations manager for Con Agra Foods, took time out from his booth to check out the wine tasting, saying, “It’s important to support the community and I really enjoy sampling all the great food and wine.”
There were plenty of familiar faces, including that of Mayor Farrell Jackson and Mayoral candidate Pat Paul.
“It’s great to see the event double in size,” Mayor Jackson said. “It’s the best deal in town. The Kobe beef is a big hit. It’s a great opportunity for local food producers to showcase their foods and it’s a good cross-section of the food vendors. Like a lot of things in Oakdale, it’s very down home and enjoyable.”
Karen Bickford of Riverbank came to the event for the first time, bringing friends along for the experience.
“I’d like to see more tables and chairs for people to sit down but other than that, everyone’s done a really good job,” Bickford said. “We’re definitely enjoying ourselves.”