October Food Events

Eat Your Way Through October

by Wendy Lemlin


What is it about October that always makes it such a busy month for food events? Is it because it’s usually one of the best weather months in San Diego, when temperatures start to cool down and skies are clear?  Is it because it fits so nicely between summer vacations and holiday frenzies? Or maybe it’s more about fiscal calendars and venue availabilities.  Whatever the reason, this will be every foodie’s dream month—just be prepared to splurge, both calorie-wise and money-wise, if you plan to go to everything! Here are a few events coming up.

Baja Culinary Fest October 8-11
Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT)

Paseo de Los Heroes 9350, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana, 22010 Tijuana

Themed Sabor A Campo Y Mar, or A Taste of Countryside and Sea, this 4 day event will Flyer_Boletos_Conf_BCFbring together some of the most prominent exponents of the Baja Culinary movement, including chefs, restaurants, artisans, wineries, breweries and other producers. New this year: the entire event, except for the “special dinners” held at several restaurants around the city, will take place at the beautiful Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT) a very short (and inexpensive) taxi or Uber ride from the border.

In recent years, the Baja region has exploded into culinary prominence, with chefs, restaurants, and wineries amassing international awards and accolades. This festival not only honors those at the forefront of the regional food movement, but will showcase the products and techniques that have made this recognition possible. As always, a cross-border aesthetic will enhance the festival, and will also include chefs from San Diego and wineries from Napa Valley. The state of Veracruz, Mexico will also be represented. Participating San Diego Chefs include

  • Amy DiBiase,
  • Karrie Hills,
  • Jason McLeod,
  • Sara Polczynski,
  • Amy Finley,
  • Chad White,
  • Rachel King,
  • and others.

Activities include panel discussions (some in English, or with translation) on topics ranging from “Seafood Watch: Your Choices make the Difference” by The Monterrey Bay Aquarium, to “Art in a Plate” to “Taste Without Borders: The Entwined Culinary Destinies of Baja and San Diego” by San Diego’s own Chef Amy Finley.  In between the panels will be cooking demos, and throughout the festival market and restaurant booths will entice guests with delicious samples.

The festival opens on Thursday night, October 8 with a Gala Dinner titled “The Pioneers of Our Cuisine”, at which current-day chefs will honor the legacies of their well-known forebears by interpreting some of their iconic dishes with a contemporary twist. On Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, Special Dinners will be held at restaurants around Tijuana with a cadre of host and guest chefs, as well as sommeliers and winery representatives. Prices for these dinners range from $57 to $83.

One day tickets for the festival are 500 pesos (about $30) and weekend passes are 1400 pesos (about $83). All info and tickets online at www.bajaculinaryfest.com/en/

Note: Uber is very well established and inexpensive in Tijuana, and is an excellent way to get around. Taxis from the border crossing should be about $5 each way.  Remember, you must have your passport, Ready Lane, or SENTRI to pass back into the US, and if you are walking across the border into Mexico now, you will be asked to show your passport to Mexican border agents, as well (not a SENTRI or Ready Lane card!).


Le Diner En Blanc October 15, 6 PM at a “secret” location

Oct. Le diner

Ok, I admit it, when I first heard about this event several years ago, I thought it the height of the ridiculous. Pay money for a dinner where you not only have to bring your own food and drink, but your plates, silverware, and yes, even your own table and chairs? And not only do you have to dress completely in white, but your tables, chairs and linens have to be white as well? Were people really that desperate to see and be seen?

However, after listening to friends who attended in the past talk about how fun it was, I’ve decided to give it a try this year. I’ll let you know if I’m convinced. So, here’s the scoop.

Launched in Paris in 1988 by François Pasquier and a handful of friends, Le Diner En Blanc has become a worldwide phenomenon, with these posh picnics now held in over 60 cities and 25 countries. For the fourth year in San Diego, more than 2,000 white-clad guests will gather at specific rallying points to be transported to a secret, undisclosed location, where they will eat, drink and make merry amid live music and dancing. Once everyone is set up, the waving of a white cloth napkin marks the beginning of the dinner, and when it is time to leave, guests pack up their crystal, dinnerware and tables, pick up their litter and head into the night, leaving behind no sign of their elegant revelry.

To maintain the uniqueness and stay true to the tradition of  Le Dîner  en  Blanc, guests must  observe a few key rules:

  • Registration, which costs $30 to $33 plus an $8 membership fee is done in stages, with previous attendees having first priority. Registration info is at: sandiego.dinerenblanc.info/register
  • Once confirmed, each guest’s participation is mandatory, regardless of weather.
  • This is a rain or shine event.
  • Dress code: elegant and all white only. Stylish and tasteful originality is encouraged.
  • Table settings: must be all white!

Guests must bring:

  • A table, 2 white chairs and a white tablecloth.
  • A picnic basket comprised of fine food, proper stemware and white dinnerware. (A  catered  picnic  basket  option, which  can  be  picked  up  on site for a fee, will  be  available for  those who do not wish to pack their own.)
  • Guests may bring champagne and/or wine. Beer and hard liquor are prohibited.

Find everything you need to know at http://sandiego.dinerenblanc.info/


Celebrate the Craft  October 25 11:30am-3:30pm

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

11480 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, California 92037

  • oct celebrate craft

The Lodge at Torrey Pines will host its 13th annual Celebrate the Craft to showcase Southern California’s finest chefs, food artisans, produce, wine and craft beer. Celebrate the Craft, which benefits the Slow Food Movement and attracts foodies from far and wide each year, will take place on the luxury hotel’s Arroyo Terrace overlooking the world renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course and the glittering Pacific Ocean.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines’ Executive Chef Jeff Jackson will be joined by an impressive lineup of San Diego’s top chefs including

  • Paul Arias of The Fishery
  • Pete Balistreri of TenderGreens
  • Matt Gordon of Sea & Smoke
  • Christian Graves of J Six
  • Jason Knibb and Rachel King of Nine-Ten
  • Javier Plascencia of Bracero
  • Steven Reimer of Oceana Coastal Kitchen
  • Monica Szepesy of Q’ero and more.

Produce will be provided by more than fifteen regional farms and ranches, including Coleman Farms of Carpinteria, Point Loma Farms, Crows Pass Farms of Temecula, El Campito Farm of Descanso, McGrath Family Farms of Camarillo, Suzie’s Farm and Catalina Offshore Products, both of San Diego. Celebrate the Craft’s featured vintners, selected by The Lodge’s sommelier Paul Krikorian, will include Palminaand Brewer-Clifton of Santa Barbara, Falkner of Temecula and Nickel & Nickel of Oakville, alongside others from Napa Valley, Healdsburg, Novato and Paso Robles. San Diego’s flourishing craft beer scene will be represented by Societe Brewing.

For a complete list of participating chefs, producers, vintners and breweries, and to purchase tickets priced at $125 per person, visit www.celebratethecraft.com. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Slow Food Urban San Diego, a non-profit organization intent on raising public awareness about food policy and production to encourage enjoyment of and increased access to foods that are local, seasonal and sustainable. Each all-inclusive ticket grants access to an extensive variety of food tastings, wine, craft beer and complimentary valet parking. Taxes, service charges and gratuity are included in the ticket price. Guests interested in extending their experience can also reserve a room package at the lovely Lodge at Torrey Pines beginning at $449 per night.

Chef Showdown  October 29 6-9pm
Port Pavillion  Broadway Pier  1000 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

(858) 272-5777, ext. 151

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Center for Community Solutions (CCS) will host the fabulously re-imagined and redesigned 11th  Annual Chef Showdown, on Thursday, October 29 at a stunning new waterfront venue, the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier.  The annual fundraising event takes place during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is held in October throughout the country.  This one-of-a-kind culinary event will benefit programs and services of CCS, a San Diego nonprofit that provides advocacy, legal support, healing and prevention services for survivors  of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.

Get up close and personal with 10 of San Diego’s top Chefs and Mixologists, divided into two teams, who will battle toque to toque to create culinary masterpieces using a featured ingredient, exquisitely paired with cocktails. Competing chefs include:oct chef cel

  • Paul McCabe – Town & Country Resort
  • Hanis Cavin – Carnitas Snack Shack
  • James Montejano – La Valencia
  • Accursio Lota – Solare Ristorante
  • Lori Sauer – George’s at the Cove
  • Robert Ruiz – The Land & Water Co
  • Davin Waite –  Wrench & Rodent
  • Augie Saucedo – Brothers Signature Catering
  • RoseAna Peyron – High Dive
  • Jeff Bonilla— Chef Consultant

Their dishes must impress a panel of these six industry professionals, many of whom oct chef cel1were past contenders, as well as a People’s Choice Judging Panel:

  • Jeff Josenhans – US Grant
  • Candice Woo – SD Eater
  • Isabel Cruz – The Cantina Group
  • Bernard Guillas – Marine Room
  • Amy Dibiase – Tidal
  • Brian Malarkey – Searsucker

In addition, guests can bid for a spot on this brand new judge’s panel and vote for the People’s Choice Award.  Emmy Award winner Sam Zien from the famous television show Sam the Cooking Guy will host the competition.

It’s estimated that over 600 supporters, including individuals, businesses, corporate sponsors, and political and community leaders, will attend the popular event to enjoy the chef competition, taste an array of delectable creations from more than 20 restaurants, sample a variety of wines, and bid on auction items.

Tickets to the event are $250, and benefit the important work of Center for Community Solutions in assisting victims of domestic abuse. They can be purchased by calling (858) 272-5777, ext. 151, or online at https://ccssd.ejoinme.org/cheftickets2015.

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