The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is less than 10 days away! We've covered the week-long event for the past three incarnations, and although the schedule varies year after year, we have a good idea of what to expect. We've looked over the lineup of over 20 meals, demos, classes and festivals taking place from November 16 to 23 and have picked our top 5 events for the 11th revival of Southern California's largest epicurean extravaganza.
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival spotlights the ever thriving and evolving culinary scene of America's Finest City. There are packages offered that will give participants an overall discount and help guide the experience, but a la carte may be the best option for attendees looking to truly customize their SDBWFF experience. We've scoured the events, and although it wasn't easy, below we run through our top 5 choices from the lengthy list of options:
100 Years of Inspiration & Innovation: Trailblazing Cuisine Throughout the Century ($250, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 6:30-10:30pm) - At this meal, famed chefs RJ Cooper, Katsuya Fukushima and US Grant Executive Chef Sam Burman will present a 10-course homage to 100 years of culinary trailblazers, taking place at The Palm Court at the historic US Grand Hotel. The chefs will put their own unique take on beloved dishes that have been eaten and interpretated through the ages with each course expertly paired with craft cocktails and wine.
Comer Conmigo: Dinner. Tequila. Wine. Featuring Chefs Chad White, Nate Appleman and Rodrigo Bueno and Sponsored By Casamigos Tequila ($175, Monday, Nov. 17, 6-10pm) - Baja cuisine is taking the world by storm, and San Diego Chef Chad White is our city's liason to this amazing culinary style. Join Chefs Chad White, James Beard Rising Star award recipient Nate Appleman and Executive Chef Rodrigo Bueno at Chef White's Común Kitchen & Tavern for a six-course dinner paired with tequila and wines that blend Baja comfort food with eclectic style and creativity. This will be a most amazing meal and should be reserved for the adventurous eater. Gluten free? Vegetarian? Vegan? Picky? You may want to skip this one.
Tastemaker Dinner with Top of the Market Executive Chef Ivan Flowers and Alexander Valley Vineyards ($165, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 6:30-9:30pm) - Enjoy the serene views from the deck of Top of the Market while enjoying six-courses prepared by Executive Chef Ivan Flowers and paired with wines from Alexander Valley Vineyards. Special guests will include Kevin Hall, Alexander Valley Vineyards winemaker, and his wife Paula. We recently enjoyed a chef's tasting with Chef Flowers and it was absolutely fantastic. Certainly, he will go above and beyond for this exclusive meal. The guest count is limited to eighteen, so reserve your place at this event pronto.
2) The San Diego Classics: Fish Tacos & Craft Beers Featuring the Fish Taco TKO Competition ($45, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 6-9pm) - San Diego is widely known for two additions to the epicurean world - amazing craft beers and delicious fish tacos, and at this event, both will be showcased. Hosted at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station, this event will feature a fish taco competition between some of the best in SD including Casanova Fish Tacos, The Blind Burro, Puesto, PB Fish Shop, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Romesco Mexiterranean Bisto, Tequila Bar & Grille, Sandbar Sports Bar & Grill and more. Oh, and plenty of San Diego craft beer! We attended this event last year, and it's a steal at $45 a ticket. The tacos are all full size and delicious, beer pours are unlimited and Stone Liberty Station's outdoor gardens make for a beautiful venue.
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Fest Grand Tasting ($75-$225, Saturday, Nov. 23, 11am-3pm) - If you are going to go to one event at this year's San Diego Bay Wine & Food Fest, make it the Grand Tasting. This is the biggest party of the festival, featuring more vendors than you can count, dishing out everything from jelly beans to jambalaya. Held on the Embarcadero Marina Park North behind Seaport Village, this lavish seaside affair features live entertainment, cookbook signings, celebrity chefs, cooking demos, 170 wine and spirit purveyors, 70 of San Diego's top chefs, over 30 gourmet food vendors, and a riveting "Chef of the Fest" competition, making for the premier tasting opportunity. Come very, very hungry.
Most SDBWFF events require that participants be over 21 years of age to attend. For more information on the 11th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival and to purchase tickets, visit sandiegowineclassic.com, and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter.