The Taste of Newport
Blondie and Devo Headline 2012 Party
It's a party on the stage for the Taste of Newport..
Taste of Newport 2012
One of the top social events on the Orange County, CA calendar is the Taste of Newport. It's anticipated as Happy Hour, as celebrated as a new yacht purchase. And, in this land of endless summer weather, is used to define the beginning of the fall season.
As much of a singles and party event as it is a actual sampling of area restaurants, this annual event – held in mid-September – is a festival of fun. It's casual with a flair of sophistication, festive with a crowd-friendly environment, hip but definitely not hip-hop. This year's big news, for the 24th annual event, is that Devo and Blondie are playing on Saturday, Sept. 15. The 2012 Taste of Newport is Sept. 14-16.
Other bands are singer/songwriter Andy Grammer on Friday and Roger Hodgson, the voice of Supertramp, on Sunday.
The PubClubettes always have a great time at the Taste of Newport.
Mr. OC is a popular person at the Taste of Newport.
The Bringold girls – that's their name – get wild and crazy (again).
The Super Six: A half-dozen reasons Friday night is so popular.
Several of Newport's top restaurants serve up samples during the Taste.
All the food looks so tasty, it's hard to know what to choose.
In 2012, there are more than 30 restaurants, 15 wineries, a cocktails booth and multiple choices of beers.
With open drinks on city streets, excellent food from some of OC's finest restaurants and a crowd largely keen on being seen by the opposite sex, this a spirited social scene. Scripts are sold for $1 each and most food items are between $4-6. Beer is $5-6 depending on choice, wine and champagne ranges from $5-8 and the highly popular mojitos are $8. Entry fee is $22 in advance, $25 at the gate ($18 on Sunday). For advance tickets, the Taste of Newport website is: www.tasteofnewport.com.
People crowd in and cheer to the annual good lineup of bands.
In 2012, Devo and Blondie take the stage on Saturday.
The music, food and fun is enhanced by beers a the Taste of Newport.
There are no scripts or tickets so people don't have to carry around a pocketful of paper. Instead, a plastic card is issued with a selected amount of credit; this is swiped at the various food and drink stations. It's an excellent way to go plus, for those whose eyes are bigger than their stomach at the beginning, any remaining credit at the end of the Taste is cheerfully refunded.
Officials block out an easily-manageable area of Fashion Island Mall, bring in food and alcohol booths and bands that were big 20 or 30 years ago and are still extremely fun.
The music is taking a punk rock steop up this year. Past performers have included the highly-energetic big-band Cajun sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the funky Boogie Nights disco band, KC and the Sunshine Band, former Doobie Bros. lead singer Michael McDonald, Huey Lewis, Third Eye Blind. Styx. Foreigner and Pat Benatar.
One of the best things about the music is the ease with which it is to move to the front of the stage and enjoy it up close. The most popular bands (which seem to be the disco ones) arouse a highly-engergetic dance scene.
Newport Beach and the Taste are definitely places to find beautiful women.
The real social seekers don't wonder over to the stage, though. Instead, they prefer the passion of the most central part of the Taste, an area flanked by a beer and cocktail stand with a road leading to the band stage. It is here that singles mingle – one can see just about every available male and female in Newport here (even couples wander off from their mates to give the appearance of being unattached).
Occasionally, they give glimpses to the big screen to catch a few lines of the band playing on the stage.
Friday is the the unofficial "Singles Night," when beer and rum lines are often twice as long as the ones for food. The place is swimming with single people, mostly in small groups. They gather in the center area (between a rum and a beer stand, go figure) to scope out the talent. Things can get a bit hectic as the event ends at 11 p.m., and be alerted that last call for food and drink is 10:30.
If you are single in or around O.C., bottom line is that you are at the Taste of Newport on Friday night.
Saturday is more families (daytime) and couples (night) though there are still plenty of unattached people prowling the grounds after dark. Sunday is incredibly sedate in the afternoon. At least until about 6, when a steady stream of singles roll through the gates for the last two hours.
Among the food samplings are tuna tar-tar with avacado and mango ($2, Panini Garden Bistro), Spanish paella ($4.50, Tapas Restaurant), lobster hand roll ($7, The Asian Bistro), tuna creme brulee with raspberries ($3,50, Five Crowns) and penne with grilled shrimp in vodka sauce ($5, Soprano's).
Taste of Newport attracts people from all over Los Angeles. But primarily, it is an Orange County attraction, a place where the wealthy park their yacht for a night or two so they may valet their Mercedes SUV, of trophy wives, gold-diggers and upscale revelers seeking to break out of the bar mold and find someone new for dinners and harbor cruises.
Orange County runs a close second to Beverly Hills in enhanced body surgery, prompting one Taster to comment, upon viewing an obvious benefactor, "How many scripts for a boob job?"
OC'ers are an extremely well-behaved crowd, as well being well-groomed and well-mannered. They always put their empty plates and cups in the nearest trash can. This keeps the place as clean as Disneyland; not a single piece of paper can be found on the ground.
More than 75,00 people go to the Taste during the three days, consuming, laughing and mingling for hours.
There are few – if any – incidents or confrontations, making it a carefree event if ever there was one.
After each night, people still looking to party hit the bars in Fashion Island – Flemming's, Yard House and particularly Muldoon's.