How To Be Fit AND A Foodie

fit foodie

Newsflash! Loving food and being physically fit are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sure, you might have to work a little harder in the gym, or add an extra mile or two to your regular run to enjoy your culinary obsessions guilt-free, but it can be done, especially if you participate in events like the Cooking Light and Health Fit Foodie Festival & 5k. Happening at Liberty Station on Saturday, October 7, this  family and dog friendly event features local restaurants, meet-and-greets with elite athletes and other personalities, a beer and wine garden, and an impressive lineup of culinary and fitness demonstrations. And, oh yes, a 5k run (or, if you are like me, a 5k walk) prior to the festival. Calories burned, calories earned!

Part of a nationwide tour hosted by John Hancock Vitality Life Insurance, the Fit Foodie 5K has partnered with No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit working to end child hunger in America. Runners can celebrate the balance of delicious, healthy food and fun, active lifestyle while contributing to the fight against child hunger. Nearly one in six children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.

For all the info on this Saturday’s run and festival, click here! I’ll be walking the 5K with my dog Skipper—come join us or cheer us on!

 

Chefs Throw Down Cystic Fibrosis

by Wendy Lemlin

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20840687_1495117913888106_4989385886410659871_n (2)The fight to cure and control cystic fibrosis will become more palatable on Friday, September 22, when over 25 of San Diego’s and Baja California’s top chefs will engage in a culinary competition at the historic Hotel del Coronado, to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Guests at the 2nd Annual Chef Throwdown are sure to enjoy what is being billed as “an unforgettable evening of epicurean splendor”, begining with appetizers on the oceanfront Windsor Lawn and the Throwdown itself . Once the competition has ended, the festivities move to the oceanfront ballroom for a four-course seated dinner from followed by a brief CFF program, live auction and award presentation, including the Industry Leader Award to be presented to Roger Harrington of Specialty Produce.

Chef Flor Franco

Chef Flor Franco

Chefs will compete for a “People’s Choice Award” voted on by the guests themselves, and the Chef Flor Franco Awards for Culinary Excellence, named for the local chef who contributes so much of her time and resources to supporting non-profits and culinary events in both Southern California and Baja California. This year’s judges include The Marine Room’s executive chef Bernard Guillas, Fishmonger Tommy Gomes of Catalina Offshore Products, and Armando Rodiel, creator of San Diego Paella and Wine Festival. Emcees for the evening will be Troy Johnson of San Diego Magazine and Guy’s Grocery Games, and The Food Network’s Melissa D’Arabian.

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Melissa D’Arabian

Chef competitors include:
Mario Cassineri -Officine Buona Forchetta
Tommy Fraioli -10 Barrel Brewing Company
Ami Cisneros -Pacific Standard
Nick Villamil -Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Jeff Bonilla -Evolve Cuisine Forward
Marco Marin – Latitude 32 at El Cielo Valle de Guadalupe
Felipe Raul -Vinedos Malagon
Jeff Roberto -Sushi On A Roll
Alex Emery -La Valencia Hotel
Keoni Simmons -Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego
Mario Medina -The Main Course Restaurant
Luis Moreno Gil – Andares de la Baja
Colin MacLaggan -Ballast Point Brewing Company
Geordie Moulios -Big City Chefs
Jorge Gonzalez – Calypso Cafe
Jose Plascencia -Casa Plasencia
Jose Sparza -Cien Años de Soledad
Ingrid Shelton -Cusp Dining and Drinks
Andrew Reyes – Tidal at Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Alberto Cansino Gomez – Hotel Calafia
David Meade -Nobu San Diego
Marcus Twilegar -Parq
Indo Reyes -Posh Nosh
AG Warfield -Common Theory Public House
Marcel Childress -Rustic Root
Christine Rivera -Galaxy Taco
Spencer Hunter -Lola’s Lumpia
Lori Sauer – Blue Bridge Hospitality
Gerlyn Usi – Sweet Truck SD
Joe Pastry – Woo Bar
Jessica Scott -Puesto
Kabir Gambhir – Sonic Tonic
Dalil – Opera Café and Patisserie

Guests will also enjoy award winning wines from Adobe Guadalupe, Monte Xanic, Lomita, and Paolini Wines, all in Baja’s celebrated Valle de Guadalupe.

But wait, there’s more! The evening will continue with NightCap, the after-party hosted by San Diego Young Professionals. Dancing, desserts, craft cocktails and savory hors d’oeuvres will add to the merriment, and The People’s Choice winner of NightCap will be crowned (and given a spot in the 2018 Chef Throwdown competition). Awards for best mixologist and dessert categories will also be given out.

Tickets for the entire evening, inclusive of food and libations are $250 (Tax-deductible $45). NightCap only tickets are also available separately for $75 (not tax-deductible). Click here to get yours.  To learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit 

Mavis Staples Headlines San Diego Blues Festival

by Wendy Lemlin

Blues Fest

So, what are you doing on Saturday? If your answer isn’t “attending the 7th annual AimLoan.com San Diego Blues Festival”, you’ll be missing out on a great day of music and fun, not to mention the opportunity to support the very worthy Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank in their fight against chronic hunger.  With a lineup that includes the inimitable Mavis Staples, Joe Louis Walker, California Honeydrops for headliners, and local favorites like Rick Estrin and the Nightcaps, Missy, Mercedes, & Sharifa, Big Jon & the Nationals, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, & Aki Kumar, Blue Largo, and TJ & the Suitcase, Saturday promises to be a stellar day. Continue reading

Parlez-Vous Brunch?

La Bonne Table Now Serving Sunday Brunch

by Wendy Lemlin

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Mesdames et Messieurs, welcome to brunch, French-style.  Well, not precisely, because brunch isn’t really a thing in France, but if it were, it would taste exactly like the offerings on La Bonne Table’s new Sunday Brunch menu, available at the Hillcrest bistro on Sundays from 10-3, with a special Post Pride Parade Brunch on Saturday July 15.

The welcome antithesis to the overrated brunch behemoth down the block (at which I’m always amazed to see long lines out the door waiting for mass quantities of totally mediocre food), La Bonne Table is intimate, sophisticated, and très French. The seating is comfortable, the atmosphere convivial, and you don’t have to shout to converse with your dining partner. Continue reading

La Valencia Celebrates 90 Years

by Wendy Lemlin

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20161215_183815The way the Pink Lady was partying at her birthday bash, you’d never know she was 90 years old! Always the gracious and fun hostess, she pulled out all the stops, eating, drinking, and dancing the night away with almost 300 guests, all the while looking lovelier than ever.

The Pink Lady, of course, is the La Valencia Hotel, an icon in the heart of La Jolla Village.  La V’s 90th Birthday Gatsby Gala, held on December 15, was a lavish Roaring-20s themed celebration worthy of comparison to any party The Great Gatsby himself would have thrown. Champagne 20161215_190405and Prohibition Era inspired cocktails flowed freely, food tables groaned with a vast assortment of delicacies, and the “speakeasy” dance floor was packed. Most of the guests donned period attire, the women resplendent in a sparkling abundance of beads and sequins, the men either going for straw boater-style hats or more formally dressed in tails or dinner jackets.20161215_184536

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What’s New at San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival?

By Wendy Lemlin

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   With 43 events over seven days, the 14th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, November 14-20, is a really big deal. As one of the nation’s largest gastronomic festivals, it brings together celebrity and local chefs, sommeliers, winemakers, brewmasters, and gourmet food artisans to present gala dinners, tastings, classes, competitions, and even a golf tournament. Continue reading

KAABOO Year Two

By Wendy Lemlin

 

logo.kaaboo_2x.ext-33c58bcd750728837ef4a610f4c28a16Music, Art, Food, Comedy –- KAABOO Del Mar brings all the elements of a good time together in one multi-focus three day event billed as a “mixperience”.  Ambitiously begun in 2015 as the largest multi-faceted cultural event to hit the San Diego area, the 2nd annual installment of KAABOO Del Mar takes place September 16-18 and sprawls throughout the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The festival organizers define KAABOO as “an adult escape, created by music lovers for music lovers, uniquely curated to appeal to all five of your senses, with world-class music, dancing, incredible cuisine, craft libations, inspiring contemporary art, and personal indulgences”.

At the heart of KAABOO Del Mar is the music, with over 78 eclectic artists appearing on 5 stages, performing everything from Americana/Roots music to classics, to Hip Hop. Those who spring for the VIP “Amplify” ticket, get to start the party early on Thursday evening, with entertainment by Chris Isaak and Macy Gray. Continue reading

AmiLoan.com San Diego Blues Fest Happening September 10

By Wendy Lemlin

Blues Fest

The fight against hunger in our community has been waged on many fronts, but perhaps the most pleasant battlefield happens each year at Embacadero Park with a soundtrack that includes the hottest national and local blues artists around.

Since 2011, the AmiLoan.com San Diego Blues Fest has partnered with the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank with a two-fold mission: present top name blues artists at an affordable price while raising much needed funds—-and awareness—-to benefit the Food Bank. It’s been a rousing success; to date,sponsors and festival goers have helped contribute 20 tons of food and more than $435,000 to help the Food Bank fight hunger in San Diego County. And no one’s crying the blues about that!

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The Flavors of Florent

Words & Photos by Wendy Lemlin

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Like most San Diego locals over 30 years old, I rarely venture into downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, and, despite the blocks of cheek-to-jowl restaurants, even more rarely do I ever dine there. I’ve always had the impression that, with a few notable exceptions, most of the restaurants serve overpriced, mediocre “tourist” food, or unsophisticated bar bites. On a recent visit, however, I’ve found that Florent Restaurant & Lounge, on the prime corner of 5th and G,  is one of those notable exceptions,

Executive Chef Brad Hightow

Executive Chef Brad Hightow

Executive Chef Brad Hightow has been running the culinary show there for the past 15 months, and his high quality take on New American cuisine is creative and delectable.  Flavors are balanced and complementary, presentations are attractive, and ingredients are sourced from such local standout purveyors as Specialty Produce and Catalina Offshore Products. Continue reading

Birthday Staycation

Words & photos by Wendy Lemlin

Under the therapeutic cascade at Rancho Bernardo Inn

Under the therapeutic cascade at Rancho Bernardo Inn

Sometimes you just need a break.  Not a long vacation, but certainly more of a change of scenery than just hanging out in your own home.  Get away from the kitchen, get away from the computer, and get away from all the little chores around the house that nag to be done when you just want to relax.  I’m talking abdication of all responsibility, here, with a side order of pampering thrown in for good measure.  You don’t even need to go away to get away, distance-wise, to be amazed at how a change of environment makes for a change in temperament. You just need a great staycation. Continue reading