Baja Bash to Benefit WILDCOAST

by Wendy Lemlin

baja bash

Having fun and conserving our coastlines on both sides of the border..

These days, everyone loves Baja, especially her beaches and coastal areas.  In fact, people love Baja so much, that much of her once mostly-deserted 1900 miles of coastlines have fallen under targeted assault from increased development and industrial growth. Coral reefs and mangrove forests teeming with fish and sealife, pristine beaches where endangered sea turtles nest, and bays that are the birthing areas for gentle California grey whales—all are in danger of disappearing, and the marine species and other fauna that depend on these fragile ecosystems are also in peril.

Luckily, 16 years ago WILDCOAST (aka COSTASALVAJE in Spanish) began working to watchdog and protect the marine ecosystems and wildlife on Baja’s coasts, as well as coastal areas in San Diego and in other Mexican and Latin American regions. Continue reading

Baja Exchange: A Crossborder Celebration of Baja Med Cuisine and Wines in San Diego

By Wendy Lemlin

Chef/owner Miguel Angel Guerrero

Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero

Fifteen years ago, Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero opened La Querencia in Tijuana, and BAJA MED cuisine was born. These days, the term “Baja Med” is bandied about constantly in foodie circles, but, what many people don’t know is that the term originated with Guerrero and is now copyrighted in the names of his restaurants. “Baja Med is what this region is all about”, he defines. “It melds together the street food from Tijuana, the seafood that fills the market stalls in Ensenada, Asian influences from Mexicali, and the Mediterranean-type ingredients, such as olive oils, wines, cheeses, meats and produce grown and produced locally, from the coast to the Valle de Guadalupe.” Continue reading

Barrel Smoker Dinner Series V: The Paella Edition

By Wendy Lemlin

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Paella.  Can I just say how much I love it?  To me, delving into the delectable rice dish is like a treasure hunt, or a Christmas tree full of presents to unwrap one by one. Dig into the pan and find gifts of seafood nestled among the savory rice—a bite of fish here, a tender shrimp or scallop there, clams and mussels peeking out from their shells, succulent tentacles of octopus or squid to be savored. Add the juicy morsels of chicken, maybe the spiciness of chunks of sausage, the aromatics of onions, garlic, bell peppers and a few threads of saffron, and you have what I consider the ideal one pan meal.

On Thursday, February 18, lucky diners can experience the perfection of paella at the Barrel Smoker Dinner Series V: The Paella Edition, to be held at Planet Rooth Design Haus, 3334 5th Avenue, in San Diego’s Bankers Hill neighborhood. Two-time World Food Champion Ricardo Heredia will join with Paella Master Carlos S. Cervantes of Paellas Villa de Cervantes in making all your paella feasting fantasies come true. Both chefs will be using the iQ Oak Barrel Smoker designed by Swedish master craftsman Gustaf Anders Rooth, to update the classic dish with a pleasant depth of smokiness. Whistles will be wet with Baja wines by Hacienda La Lomita Winery and Villa Montefiori/ Paoloni Wines and Baja craft beer by Cerveceria Agua Mala.

The evening includes the pre-opening of the art exhibition “Glossed Over” by artist Daphne Hill, who will be in attendance.

Program:
6-7:30pm “Glossed Over” Pre-Opening/Oyster & Raw Bar by Ricardo Heredia
7:30-9pm Smoked Paella Extravaganza by Carlos S. Cervantes

Feb 18th, 6-9pm
Price: $75 USD (includes food, wine, beer and entertainment)
Tickets: https://barrelsmokerdinner5.eventbrite.com/

Get them ASAP—almost sold out!

Fishing for Compliments at San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Ocean-to-Table Wine Pairing Luncheon features an impressive roster of chefs

By Wendy Lemlin

Something’s fishy at the 12th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival this year—- and that’s a good thing!

The abundance of delectable seafood found in our local waters will be the inspiration for a 5 course wine pairing luncheon held at The Marine Room, La Jolla’s iconic oceanfront restaurant, on Wednesday, November 18, from 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM.  Hosted by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas, the exclusive luncheon will feature the formidable talents of a cadre of local celebrity chefs known for their creativity and passionate respect for the sea’s bounty.

Chef Bernard Guillas

Chef Bernard Guillas

Continue reading

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival November 15-22

By Wendy Lemlin

SBWFF

   Wonder how much San Diego loves food and drink? Just look at the success of the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, now in it’s 12th year, bigger and more comprehensive than ever. Running November 15-22, with a full roster of events, dinners, tastings, classes, and exhibits, it is one of the largest food and wine festivals in the country, shining a spotlight on both San Diego’s burgeoning gourmet dining scene and our cross-border connection with Baja’s exciting culinary landscape. From tacos and beer to wine paired-haute cuisine, there is something for anyone who loves indulging in crave-worthy food and spirits.  And really, who doesn’t?

More than a dozen celebrated national chefs, including Rick Bayless, Gayle Gand, and Suzette Gresham will join over 40 local luminaries in presenting delicacies and/or cuisine-related educational programs. Look for such regional favorites as The Marine Room’s Bernard Guillas, Javier Plascencia of  Bracero, Finca Altozano, and Mision 19, Jason SBWFF grand tasting smokerKnibb of NINE-TEN, Chad White of Comun and La Justina, Ironside Fish & Oyster’s Jason McLeod, Flor Franco of Finca La Carrodilla and Indulge Contemporary Catering, Mario Medina of Bernini’s Bistro, The Patio Group’s John Medall, Anthony Sinsay of Dukes’s La Jolla, James Montejano of La Valencia Hotel, and a host of others.

Continue reading

KAABOO for You

By Wendy Lemlin

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Back in 1969, the most well known of all music festivals EVER was optimistically billed as Woodstock Music & Art Fair, in hopes that it would be remembered as more than just a regular ol’ music festival.  Which of course it was, but not because of any art exhibits, but rather as the iconic representation of the art of high hippieness.

Forty-six years later (yikes!), KAABOO, the hip, but not hippie, three day music and arts festival taking place this weekend, September 18-20 at Del Mar Fairgrounds will distinguish itself not only by presenting over 100 musical performances, from legends to emerging artists, on seven stages. As if that wouldn’t be ambitious enough, adding to the total “mix-perience”  the festival includes components of  experiential “indulgences”, art installations, a comedy club, and opportunities for indulging our seemingly insatiable food obsessions at the “Palate” area.

The musical lineup is truly impressive, with something seemingly for everyone.  On Friday, the highlights include, among others, Bonnie Raitt, Ozomatli, Fitz & the Tantrums, Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, and Snoop Dog. On Saturday, some of the big names are Counting Crows, Slightly Stoopid, Ozomatli, Zac Brown Band, and Spoon. Sunday features Donovan Frankenreiter, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, O.A.R., Minnie Driver, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Grace Potter, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Brandi Carlisle, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, and Train.  On Friday and Saturday, the music runs from 11 AM-2:30 AM, on Sunday from 11AM-10pm.

As for food, according to KAABOO’s website, the “Palate” component will present fare that’s “way more tasteful than at a typical music festival”, representing an upscale culinary environment where guests can sample specialties from a variety of carefully selected culinary artisans, and limited production wines and craft libations:

  • 18 top local restaurants & chefs
  • 20 exclusive California wineries pouring approximately 60 different wines
  • 25 craft distilleries sampling small batch tequila, mezcal, bourbon, gin, rum, vodka, sake, and other spirits

On the Palate Stage on Saturday, starting at noon, six chefs will compete in the KAABOO Rockin’ Chef Competition, with three teams of two chefs with each team making an appetizer and entrée.  The competing chefs are

  • Amy di Biase
  • Brian Malarkey
  • Chad White
  • James Montejano
  • Jason McLeod
  • Javier Plascencia.

Their entries will be judged by Master Chef Ferdinand Metz, Candice Woo of EATER SD, Darlene Horn of ZAGAT, Josh Kopelman of DiningOutSD, and Sam the Cooking Guy.

The Palate stage will also be the place to catch:

  • Chef Band Performances
  • Celebrity Chef Demos
  • Chef & Artist Book Signings
  • Surprise Musical Performances

For all the detailed info for this “grown up” party, click here. One day passes start at $125, 2 day passes start at $229, and 3 day passes start at $299 in advance, $329 at the gate, all plus service charges.  A variety of VIP passes are also available. $1 per pass purchased will be donated to KAABOO’s “KINDNESS” charity program. Additional charity contributions made at time of pass purchase will be matched dollar for dollar by KAABOO.

A Berry Good Undertaking

 

By Wendy Lemlin

Photos by Bradley Schweit  bradleyschweit.com

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Some have called Berry Good Night, now in its sixth year, the most sought-after foodie invitation in San Diego, with an A-list roster of top chefs, farmers, ranchers, artisans, food activists, winemakers and mixologists from both sides of the border contributing to the Berry IMG_7539invitation-only feast. Also in attendance at this year’s event on June 13 will be guests from a wide variety of food-related disciplines, including science and medicine, agriculture, government and public policy, hospitality, education and media. The evening’s format is designed to promote discussion, connection and collaboration, creating long-lasting relationships and partnerships. Continue reading

26th Annual Taste of Point Loma

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How familiar are you with the Point Loma restaurant scene?  Got any favorites?  Any places you’ve been meaning to try?  Well, on April 22, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that, when more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bakeries will offer samples of their finest and most popular menu items at the 26th annual Taste of Point Loma, hosted by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading

Baja Food & Wine Week at Dobson’s

By Wendy Lemlin

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If you love the sophisticated side of Baja food and wines—or haven’t experienced it yet and want to see what all the accolades are about—-you’re in luck! All this week, from March 9-14, the iconic Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant takes diners’ palates south of the border with a four course prix fixe dinner paired with the renowned wines of the Guadalupe Valley.

Created by Chef Martin San Roman, the menu and wine pairings look like this: Continue reading

Indulge at 11th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival This Week!

  By Wendy Lemlin

Anyone who doubts that San Diego has finally outgrown the culinary “children’s table” and is now welcome to sit with the grownups, has only to look at the events scheduled for the 11th annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, running November 16-23, to see how far the city’s food and spirits sophistication has matured.

The international showcase of the world’s premier wine and spirits producers, nationally renowned chefs, culinary personalities, and gourmet foods benefits culinary arts and enology scholarships awarded by The American Institute of Wine & Food and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.  Over 200 wineries, breweries and spirit companies, 70 of San Diego’s top fine dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies will participate in the 2014 Festival.

From seminars and cooking classes to celebrity chef dinners and Grand Tastings, the festival promises to whet—and satiate— the appetites of all who love to eat, drink, and make merry.  With event tickets ranging from $40 to $550, there is something for every palate and every budget. Continue reading