10th annual Taste of La Mesa proves a real treat

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Staged every year since the chamber started a decade ago, decked with sweet and savory appeal, the Annual Taste of La Mesa has again displayed how high the bar is set for food excellence in East County.

The Taste of La Mesa showcases local restaurants, with samples of featured cuisine amid a lively business mixer setting. This year’s taste-filled gathering was held at the La Mesa Community Center on Monday, June 11.

Staged every year since the chamber started a decade ago, decked with sweet and savory appeal, the Annual Taste of La Mesa has again displayed how high the bar is set for food excellence in East County.

The Taste of La Mesa showcases local restaurants, with samples of featured cuisine amid a lively business mixer setting. This year’s taste-filled gathering was held at the La Mesa Community Center on Monday, June 11.

Chamber of Commerce members and local residents wandered between the center’s east and west wings to feast on fare ranging from small bite appetizers and heavy hors d’oeuvres to entrée samplers, with accompanying coffee, wine and beer selections and delicious desserts. 

The event’s main purpose was to showcase La Mesa’s eateries and dining spots. Beyond that, the gathering was also intended to develop business relationships among local companies and business people.

Vendors from other business sectors displayed their products and services at tables around the center as well, including enterprises from financial to health and fitness services.

Roy Davies has lived in Mt. Helix for 21 years and practiced in business locally for 13 years. This was his third time “tasting” La Mesa.

“I would consider joining the chamber,” Davies said. “I plan to go eat at Cucina Basilico, and I would consider taking clients to dine there.”

Sara and Danilo Decorato were serving up signature pastas from the Cucina Basilico kitchens. This was their restaurant’s third time at the event, and they signed their restaurant venture up for chamber membership two years ago.

“We are so happy to hear that people know about us and will come to visit our restaurant,” Sara Decorato said.

Mary England, president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, said the evening was a success.

“Everyone is having a good time tonight,” she said. “That is the joy of this. We plan for this event all year. And it’s great to talk to people tonight, to see that everyone always has a good time here.”

Several new faces made their debut appearance at this year’s Taste. Golden Spoon brought in a freezer for the first time to cool scrumptious samples of frozen desserts, including gelato and yogurt confections for diners.

“We have ice cream for the first time in 10 years,” England said.

Red Lobster also came for the first time, pleasing the crowd with their famous cheddar biscuits.

Carlos Arevalo is general manager of Red Lobster in La Mesa.

“I got the franchise, and I joined the chamber this year,” Arevalo said. “We are happy to be here.”

Credit card processing was streamlined for the event this year too, with two processing stations, one in each wing of the center.

England further singled out for praise the team of 43 volunteers who assisted attendees and vendors during the night’s activities.

A returning amenity for tasters was complimentary shuttle service to the community center’s upper parking lots. Anthony Carneiro of Advanced Shuttle said he was attending in service of the event for the third year, as he ferried attendees from the venue back to their vehicles.

Tickets for the event were priced at $60 for an early extra hour of VIP tasting and $40 for two hours of general admission.

The evening included other fundraising activities in support of chamber programs, with a silent auction and a 50-50 opportunity drawing.

More information about the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, chamber membership opportunities, and the organization’s future business mixers, can be found online at www.lamesachamber.com, or by phoning (619) 465-7700.

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