A superb ocean view, sunny skies and cool sea breezes promise to make Santa Monica”s third annual ìTaste of Santa Monicaî a unique and special event, according to Kathy Dodson, president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

Anyone who strolls onto the Santa Monica Pier between noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, September 26th, can dive into the delectable treats offered by about 40 different restaurants. For the price of $35 for adults and $10 for children between four and ten years of age, the event offers numerous choices to delight the taste buds.

Presented by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the event is expected to sell out and the public is urged to buy their tickets in advance, according to Erin Deviny, director of marketing and events for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

Santa Monica and chamber member restaurants such as La Vecchia Cucina, Akwa, El Cholo Mexican Restaurant, Blueberry Country Kitchen, The Victorian, Locanda Del Lago, Cinch, Chez Jay, Sushi-Teri Express, Ocean Avenue Seafood and Le Marmiton will be serving up their diverse samples.

Water, soda, beer and wine will be available for purchase and specialty drinks such as margaritas and mojitos will also be for sale.

While guests are checking out the food booths and sipping wine, jazz tunes will flow from The Sam Graham Trio. Chef demonstrations featuring chefs from participating restaurants will provide extra entertainment.

The chamber began presenting the event three years ago and has made it ìa community event that celebrates the great restaurants in the city,î said Dodson. ìWe chose the pier because no other place epitomizes Santa Monica the way the pier does —it is the best place for this event,î she added.

Dodson says the event has grown significantly from the first year. ìWith a maximum capacity of 2,500 people, 600 attended our first year on the pier and last year the event sold out,î she said.

Dodson believes a lot of things set the ìTaste of Santa Monicaî apart from many other ìtastes.î

ìSome taste events include restaurants from communities that are far away, but in Santa Monica the restaurants represent the local community,î she says. ìThe quality of the restaurants is high and the food is phenomenal.î

Laurel Rosen, director of sales and marketing for The Lobster, is the committee chair for the event and she echoes Dodson”s sentiments about the appeal of the taste.

ìI represent Santa Monica internationally with the Convention and Visitors Bureau,î she says. ìWhen I go to conventions I look at what makes our destination unique, and we are known for our restaurants; there are that many good restaurants in Santa Monica.î

The Lobster, which participates with a booth and is a sponsor, has been a part of the taste each year.

ìThe Taste of Santa Monica is the signature event for the chamber in terms of bringing in money and it”s an important activity in the community,î she says.

Rosen said that when she is at the taste she knows hundreds of people. ìWe”re a tight-knit community. The hotels and restaurants all know each other and we send each other business. There”s a feeling of wanting to do what”s best for the community,î she said. She also feels this camaraderie between businesses creates an atmosphere at the taste that”s warm and relaxed, as if ìyou”re in your own living room.î

ìThis is a highly successful and well-received event and the only taste I know of with an ocean view,î said Rosen. ìI”ve been to events where it”s brutally hot and crowded, but this is delightful. Eat, take a break, get away from the crowds and put your feet in the water, come back and eat some more.î

One of the good things about this taste, according to Dodson, is that you can sample every restaurant for one price. She feels it isn”t as much fun when you have to buy every taste.

ìAt this event you”re getting gourmet food from 40 restaurants all for one price of $35,î said Dodson. ìHaving one price creates a different atmosphere and it makes the event more relaxed and fun. Once you”re in you just enjoy yourself.î

Information: 310-393-9825.

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