Amber Lipsey/Courier Fried chicken wings and crispy chicken sandwiches are on display from Nashville Hot Chicken during the Tasty Food Market at Paseo Colorado on Sunday, March 18, 2018. The food market boasted savory foods and sweet desserts on Sunday afternoon to the hungry crowds.
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The aroma of freshly crafted foods wafted through the air amidst the shops of Paseo Colorado and out onto Colorado Boulevard, from whence I approached the Tasty Food Market. Held in Pasadena this past weekend, the Market is a local event that has been hosted across the Los Angeles area in various popular parts of the county.

Loud music blared from the speakers of Bred Hot Chicken’s stand, but it couldn’t detract from the calm ambience of this quiet, cloudy Sunday afternoon. At the event, a number of specialty food vendors from across the Los Angeles area converged to entice passersby with their various foods. I was surprised by the sheer number of different vendor tents and the variety on offer. From Korean BBQ to Jamaican and Indian food, every craving was ready to be satisfied.

I started things off with a spicy Jamaican beef patty from Island to Table Catering, which had a nice kick of spices to it. The consistency of the beef in the crisped bun was something new to me; it was like a tasty beef paste. Although I enjoyed it, I found the consistency of the beef to be somewhat{ } I rated it 7 out of 10.

At Pooja’s Cuisine of India, I ordered a plate of Chana Masala, chicken Tikka Masala and rice. The spices in the Chana Masala were top notch. The chickpea-based curry had an intensity of spices that made it very interesting without becoming overwhelming. I rated it 9 out of 10.

The chicken Tikka Masala was more of a subdued, casual flavor. It was still very tasty, but was simply not as strong upfront as the Chana Masala. The chicken was chewy and both curries were paired with a delicious seasoned rice with grilled vegetables and a savory, buttery toasted Naan bread, with a hint of garlic. The bread might usually be considered an afterthought to the main dish, but here I found myself quite appreciative of the quality of the bread. I rated the Tikka Masala 6 out of 10.

Next, I tried the fried chicken sliders from Bred Hot Chicken.  The fried chicken was delectable, with spices and a fine sauce. The sauce tasted like a mix between a number of sauces I couldn’t quite place. It was definitely something new, but had hints of ranch or of a light bleu cheese taste. It was topped with fresh coleslaw that crunched with each bite. I rated the sliders 7.5 out of 10.

While I was eating, I drank a mixed strawberry and mixed berry lemonade from Unforgettable Lemonade made of real fruit that was sweet and strong. You can really tell when it’s made of real fruit and is not watered down due to the consistency of the lemonade; you can feel a bit of the seeds and real fruit while you drink it. It was blended really well though, and it walked that fine line between too sweet and not sweet enough very effectively. You can tell they spent their time finding the perfect balance between ingredients. My sample of the mango lemonade was a bit too strong for me though, and I had to pass on that option. Overall, I rated it 7.5 out of 10.

I also had a delicious banana cupcake from Dulce Cielo Bakery that was made with real bananas. The cupcakes melted in my mouth, with the frosting leaving a strong impression. It had a strong sweet banana flavor, that matched well with the much subtler banana-bread of the actual cake. I rated the cupcake 9 out of 10.

After I finished eating I chatted with fellow attendees Ozzie and Elaine, from nearby Rosemead, about what they had eaten. They had ordered the pork and beef skewers from a Korean BBQ stand and had vastly differing opinions on them. Elaine didn’t like the beef skewer in red sauce, which she had ordered.

“It was hard to bite into the beef and chew it off,” stated Elaine. “Maybe it was because it got cold really fast as we sat down to eat it, but it felt hard to eat. I just didn’t like it”

Ozzie had no complaints about the pork skewer that he had ordered.

“It was really good, and was more of a salty tasting pork than the sweet pork we often get at Korean restaurants. Elaine liked the pork skewer too.”

They also had watermelon juice from another stand, but found it way too sweet.

“There was way too much sugar in it for our taste,” they explained. “It didn’t really leave much room for the real watermelon flavor in there.”

Overall, I found the Tasty Food Market to be a very enjoyable dining experience. Prices were a bit high for the portion size, but were not exorbitant, and the quality of the food definitely fit the price. Everyone else that was enjoying their food from the event seemed to be greatly enjoying what they had eaten.

All of the restaurants featured in the Market served great food, but some items rose above all others. The Chana Masala and the Banana cupcake were my favorite items of the day, while the Tikka Masala left me the most underwhelmed, although even that was fairly delicious. The Tasty Food Market is definitely worth the trip no matter where it turns up in the L.A. area.

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