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Photo by Dennis Dean. Gallery photos by Dennis Dean and Dustin Liccardo.

The Downtown Long Beach Associates’ signature Taste of Downtown is back, and in the first of a three-part series, the annual event took over Long Beach’s East Village Arts District on Broadway between Linden and Elm Wednesday night, with music, art, beer and wine, and mouth-watering samples from some of Downtown’s favorite restaurants. For those who missed out on the fun and food last night, don’t kick yourself just yet; it’s all happening again tonight.

Americana jam band Big Bad Rooster provided the toe-tapping soundtrack while residents and visitors enjoyed beer and pulled pork sliders from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, crispy spring rolls from recent East Village edition Thai District and rich, steaming-hot housemade calzones with mozzarella from Michael’s Pizzaria.

James Republic was there plating beautiful, delicate wahoo poke paired with sangria, while Cielo at the Sky Room took it south of the border with their braised short rib nachos, served with mole crema and queso fresco.

Auld Dubliner kept the St. Patty’s day spirit alive with bangers and champ and spicy potatoes, while Buono’s Pizzeria reminded us that sometimes, nothing hits the spot quite like a slice of good old-fashioned pizza.

For those looking to sate their sweet tooth, Bo-Beau Kitchen + Rooftap was on hand serving up creamy butterscotch pudding topped with decadent chocolate ganache, while Sweet Dixie Kitchen, true to its name, served up warm, gooey peach cobbler.

With tickets only $1 each, and dishes from all of these restaurants—plus other Downtown favorites like Kabob Curry, The Breakfast Bar, Utopia, Village Grind, Gladstone’s and Famous Dave’s BBQ—going for between 1 and 5 tickets, participants were definitely tempted to try and sample everything. Suffice to say, no one left hungry.

With bellies full, participants were welcomed to peruse East Village shops Anneise, 1897LB, Make Collective and Mona a la Moda‘s pop-up shops set up on the sidewalk for a little after dinner shopping. And for anyone feeling a little artsy after a glass of wine (or a few), Brushstrokes & Beverages was there with free painting for all, and an hourly drawing for a free art classes.

Taste of Downtown East Village continues tonight from 6:00PM to 10:00PM in Long Beach’s East Village Arts District, on Broadway between Elm and Linden. Tickets can be pre-purchased—with two bonus tickets for every $10 spent—online until 3:00PM, or at the event.