Restaurants, breweries, wineries and food vendors flocked to the ninth annual Taste of Oakdale, hosted by the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday evening, Aug. 29 at the Gene Bianchi Community Center.
The annual event drew an even bigger crowd than last year as hungry attendees came to sample what Oakdale and the surrounding areas have to offer in the way of fine food, tasty treats and even healthy options and beverages.
For some, such as husband and wife Betsy and Tony Mamone of Oakdale, the event is something they don’t like to miss.
“It’s the atmosphere, the great food, and it’s nice to see everybody getting together,” Betsy shared.
Husband Tony agreed, saying, “You get higher end food on a smaller scale. I think they put a little more heart into their food.”
In addition to sampling dishes from restaurants they enjoy or would like to try, many such as the Mamone family, come to get ideas for their own culinary offerings.
“It gives me ideas,” Tony said. “I love it.”
Each year, in addition to the sampling and the live cooking demonstrations from various people, such as chefs from the Institute of Technology and Pampered Chef, there’s always a fun competition where attendees get to vote on their favorite samples.
The Oakdale Golf and Country Club, OCC, sampling sous vide filet mignon with a carrot emulsion and paired with confit fingerling potatoes and a bordelaise sauce, won Best Overall, Favorite Dessert and Favorite Restaurant in a landslide.
Last Call Brewing took home the honor for Best Beverage.
For OCC Executive Chef Corey Treece, the opportunity to showcase the club’s culinary skills is an opportunity they can’t pass up.
“We put a lot of thought into what we bring to the event,” Treece said.
Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola was pleased with the turnout and the quality of the vendors this year.
“The Oakdale Chamber is proud to host this annual event to showcase local food and beverages,” Guardiola said. “We had new vendors, El Toro Market and Jenny Craig, and our vendors were happy with the number of attendees.”
Guardiola shared that both Raley’s and SaveMart highlighted some of their newest offerings, such as exotic cheese and wine to fresh, ready-made guacamole that’s custom-created to the customer’s tastes.
Tony Angoletta, SaveMart Manager, was all smiles as he and Natalee Bruce, SaveMart’s Lead of Valley Fresco, encouraged people to sample some of the store’s newest offerings, such as the guacamole and tortilla chips.
Valley Fresco, Angoletta explained, is part of the new expansion that happened in the local store in February, where the Oakdale location received a complete overhaul.
“We have the Vitality bar, Valley Fresco, meal prep and everything is hand-made,” Angoletta. “We’re going back to basics.”
Angoletta added that customers can purchase their meat and SaveMart will grill it for them.
“We will cook your meat for you,” Angoletta said, smiling. “We have a lot of people do their meal prep for the week that way.”
Firenze Ristorante owner, Rogeh Yousefbadal brought his favorite dishes, which included the crowd-pleasing lobster tortellini.
“We try to create new dishes to add to the menu, dishes that the community would enjoy,” Yousefbadal said of the event. “And we try to help the community. We like to see everybody.”
Judging by the happy crowd, it would seem attendees left the Taste of Oakdale, happy, full, and already ready to book their ticket to next year’s event.