In a recent car commercial, a couple wander around an area easily identified (to locals anyhow) as downtown Burbank. They pass by the Market City Café and Gourmet 88, among others, before deciding on an unidentified meal at an unnamed spot lit by neon. Though still a kick to see your town on TV, downtown seemed eerily quiet in the ad.
San Fernando Road was bursting with far more menu choices and people Thursday night for the Taste of Downtown Burbank. About 40 restaurants took part, turning the oft-busy downtown corridor into a bit of a madhouse. The place was packed, with people having to step lightly to keep clear of on another's eco-friendly trays and biodegradable utensils, piled high with food.
The event featured a fair amount of star power, headlined by Nikki Cascone, known for her work on the Bravo show "Top Chef." Cascone gave a demonstration on organic cooking practices and wine pairings to an appreciative audience. In the background, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers — which I listened to if only because of the name — pumped out swing music.