Exciting Food & Drink Events On The Horizon | Special Dinners, Comedic Dining, A Grilled Cheese Throwdown And More

January 4, 2016

With the new year upon us, San Diego businesses are gearing up and hosting a cornucopia of exciting, entertaining and delicious events to kick off 2016. Here we run down the many epicurean events taking place throughout January and early February. Check them out, grab your tickets, and start marking your calendar with all the fun and delicious happenings around America's Finest City.

January 7, Solare Ristorante's “Celebrate Wines of Baja!” Dinner - Liberty Station's favorite Italian eatery will present some of the top wines of Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe, as Baja wine expert, Tom Bracamontes, and Bob Gelman of Grape Connections in Point Loma lead a special 4 course dinner paired with 5 wines of Mexico's wine country. Enjoy inspired eats, great Baja wines and learn all about this thriving region. The dinner is $74 plus tax and gratuity per person and reservations can be made by emailing info@solarelounge.com.

January 9, P.E.T.A at S&M Sausage and Meats - S&M is paying respect to their biggest fans with People Eating Tasty Animals, a whole pig roast taking place in front of the restaurant in North Park. There will be pulled pork tacos (two for $6) and half off all draft beers, all day long. Stop by and bring a funny sign or two for the protestors.

January 10, Tiger!Tiger! Monthly BBQ - North Park's Tiger!Tiger! will hold it's monthly BBQ (held the second Sunday of every month) hosted by Executive Chef Norbert Moniz with guest chef Krista Velasco from Ensenada's Cerveceria Wendlandt. The festivities will begin around 3pm with an amazing ala carte menu offering such dishes as: Clam with Octopus and Bacon Au Gratin; Beef Tongue Taco with Salsa Verde, Beans, Pickled Red Onion and Fresh Cilantro; Vegan Pierogi with Silken Sour Cream, Caramelized Onions, Chili Oil; Braised Lamb Vindaloo with House Made Naan, Cucumber Yogurt, Indian Mint Sauce; Wood Fired Roasted Chicken with Hominy Beans, Clarified Broth, Cilantro, Swiss Chard, Papitas; Vegan Soba Noodle Salad with Valdivia Farms Peas, Glazed Seitan, Togarashi, Pea Tendrils, Smoked Peanuts, Maitake Mushroom Bacon, Orange Lime Vin; Chile Relleno stuffed with Honey Ricotta, Mango Salsa, Crispy Sweet Onion; and Bunuelos with a Beer Caramel and a cup of Mexican Chocolate. No reservations or tickets necessary.

January 10, The Wrench & Rodent At The Red Door - Executive Chef Miguel Valdez of The Red Door in Mission Hills is hosting Chef Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside for a crazy dining experience featuring sushi offerings, as well as dishes made from sustainably sourced seafood, ethically raised meats, and produce from local farms. If you have not made it to the critically acclaimed Wrench and Rodent, here's your chance to sample Chef Davin's food without the drive. There will be two seatings - at 5pm or 7:30 pm, and the evening will start with wine, sushi and chef talk in The Red Door's sister restaurant The Wellington, followed by dinner and dessert (with pairings) in The Red Door. The dinner is $60 ($75.90 with tax and tip) for food only with the option to add wine pairing for $20 at the door.

January 11, JRDN Feast With Friends Dinner Series Ocean To Table With Pacific Shellfish - Where better to enjoy an Ocean to Table feast than at Tower 23's oceanfront restaurant JRDN in Pacific Beach? Join JRDN and Pacific Shellfish for this one-of-a-kind pop dinner that will include five courses of decadent seafood bounty prepared by Chef DJ. Tickets are $65 per person.

January 11, Meatless Monday At Cueva Bar - Chef Oz is getting produce from Stone Farms, beer from Abnormal Beer, and some amazing guest chefs for his first Meatless Monday of 2016. Guest chefs for this 5 course vegetarian feast include Tony Guan and Phil Esteban from The Cork & Craft, Mike Arquines of The Lab Dining/Mostra Coffee, and Jenny Goycochea of Brother's Provisions. Tickets are $45, inclusive of beer pairings!

January 12, Farm To Turntable - Ono Yum is taking over Fluxx Nightclub in downtown San Diego for an event combining food and hip hop. More than 10 San Diego chefs will serve up Filipino inspired dishes while Freddie Joachim and QSTN of Mellow Orange cook up eats for the ears. Participating chefs include Craig Jimenez of Supernatural Sandwiches, Mike Arquines of The Lab Dining/Mostra Coffee, Phil Esteban of The Cork & Craft, Charles Andres of Ocean Pacific Grill, Derek Gallanosa of Abnormal Beer, Giovanni Gottiano of The Patio on Lamont, Evan Cruz of Arterra Restaurant, Larry Ecdao of Chamorro Grill, Christine Loyola of Petite Madeline, Matt Delarosa of Ironsmith Coffee and Kristanna Zabala of Nomad Donuts. Tickets are available online for $30 and will be $50 at the door.

January 16, An Artist At The Table With La Jolla Playhouse Managing Director Michael Rosenberg - Dine with visionary, Michael S. Rosenberg, whose accomplishments and guidance over the Playhouse’s numerous award winning productions have made him a prominent figure in the world of theatre. As Managing Director of the nationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, Rosenberg leads San Diego to new levels of artistic achievement through his contributions to the Playhouse’s imaginative and expressive productions and educational outreach programs. Exquisitely prepared by our extremely talented friend, celebrity Chef Andrew Spurgin of Bespoke Event Styling & Menu Design, with wine pairings provided by Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Wine + Food, this 4-course fine dining experience with dishes inspired by Rosenberg is limited to 9 attendees. Tickets are $175 per person and available online.

January 16, San Diego Brew Fest - Another craft beer festival?!? Oh yea! The San Diego Brew Fest returns to Liberty Station for its 6th year and will bring together over 70 craft breweries serving over 100 varieties of beer. Enjoy unlimited beer samples, live music, yard games, and a variety of food truck offerings (sold separately). General admission tickets are $40 (1-4pm) and VIP tickets are available for $50 (noon-4pm). Promo code SDVILLE saves $5 per ticket (limited to 100 passes so act fast).

January 17, EDSD Presents: The Grilled Cheese Challenge - The most popular Facebook Group in America's Finest City Eating and Drinking in San Diego will presents its first food battle of 2016. Six chefs will go head to head at Empire House on University Avenue in Hillcrest, preparing a grilled cheese sandwich and a soup while their paired bartender mix up a unique mule cocktail. A group of judges, including myself (I am one lucky bastard!), will pick the winner, while attendees will crown the People's Choice champion. Participating chefs include Larry Malone from Empire House, Nate Soroko from Toronado, AG Warfield from Churchill's, Steve Lona from Tasting Room Del Mar, Phil Esteban from The Cork & Craft, and Anne-Marie Coulon-Ferguson from The Little Lion. Tickets are $45 and each attendee gets a sample of every sandwich, soup and mule.

January 17-24, San Diego Restaurant Week - Kick off the new year with San Diego Restaurant Week, this January 17 through 24, offering 8 days of price fixed dining at over 180 restaurants throughout San Diego County. Celebrating 12 years of culinary excellence, San Diego Restaurant Week will be offering delicious discounted dining where foodies will be able to eat their hearts out at a large list of participating restaurants including unbeatable price options and no reservations necessary. The pricing includes three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus for only $10, $15 or $20 per person.

January 18, Abnormal Dinner Series With The Cork & Craft, Juniper + Ivy & The Bruery - For it's 11th collaboration, neighboring brewery and restaurant Abnormal Beer and The Cork and Craft are hosting Orange County's most experimental and popular brewery, The Bruery, as well as guest chef Anthony Wells of Juniper & Ivy, for a night consisting of 8 carefully thought out pairings along with the stories and explanations that made them come to be. Tickets are $119 per person.

January 18, SafeHouse Supper Club Tiki Night - This North Park izakaya is hosting it's first supper club of 2016 and turning the restaurant into a tiki oasis, serving up a hawaiian focused menu and tiki cocktails. The 5 course dinner will include dishes including an Ahi poke stack, steamed dumpling trio, coconut shrimp, Huli huli chicken with luau mash, Pork lau lau with coconut rice, Loco moco, and Pineapple upside down cake. Participants also get 2 cocktail tickets good for an  array of tiki drinks. Tickets are $40 per person.

January 24, Specialty Produce & Catalina Offshore Present Collaboration Kitchen Sushi Edition - Head to Catalina Offshore Products for an evening filled with cooking, eating, socializing and educational seminars lead by sushi aficionados Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent, Anthony Pascale of Saiko Sushi, Rob Ruiz of The Land and Water Company and a special guest. BYOB is permitted but there will be some alcohol vendor on site. Tickets are $75 per person.

January 24-25, Sunday & Monday Night Supper At The Cheese Store - Little Italy's Cheese Store is hosting its first pop-up dinners of 2016, offering a Parisian inspired menu for an event entitled, "J'adore Little Italy". Guest Chef's Katie Grebow, who has been a part of the San Diego culinary field for the last decade and was the Executive Chef at the beloved Cafe Chloe for the last 9 years, will be teaming up with Amy Finley, a San Diego food writer, author, Chef and winner of the Next Food Network Star who worked briefly at the influential Rose Bakery in Paris. Dinner includes 5 courses with cheese in every dish, as well as a complimentary glass of wine. Tickets are $69 per person.

January 25, Common Theory Beer Dinner Series With AleSmith Brewing Company - Head to the Convoy District's top gastropub for a 9 course dinner collaboration between 9 amazing San Diego chefs, paired with craft beer from AleSmith Brewing Company. The incredible line up of participating chefs include Robert Villicano of Common Theory, Christine Rivera of Galaxy Taco, Phil Esteban of The Cork and Craft, Anthony Wells of Juniper and Ivy, Jose Joaquin "Jojo" Ruiz of Ironside Fish & Oyster (and soon to be Craft & Commerce), Mike Arquines of The Lab Dining, Jonathan Bautista of Georges at the Cove, and Jason Knibb of Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar. Tickets are $100 per person.

January 26, La Valencia Hotel's Center Stage Wine & Chef Collaboration Dinner - The 'People's Chef' James Montejano, Executive Chef of La Valencia Hotel, is inviting some of his chef friends in for a special community plant-based dining collaboration of chefs, farmers and wine makers to benefit the Berry Good Food Foundation. Guest chefs include Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent, Seabasstropub, Alex Emery of Hilton Bayfront Hotel, Hanis Cavin of Carnitas' Snack Shack, and Dreux Ellis of Cafe Gratitude. Produce will be supplied by Specialty Produce, Plato Farms, Cyclops Farms and Go Green, and wine will be featured from Quigley Fine Wines. Tickets are $125 per person and tax and gratuity are included.

January 26, Cucina Enoteca's Winter Harvest Dinner - Head to Del Mar and enjoy a seasonally-inspired 3-course feast from from Chefs Joe Magnanelli and Rosa Geremia, featuring bountiful ingredients selected from local farms. This meal will offer a chance to meet and mingle with area farmers while enjoying displayed hors d'oeuvres and a family-style dinner. Tickets are $60 per person. A la carte beverages will be available and the usual in-house corkage fee will be waived for wine bottles purchased from the in-house wine shop.

January 31, Toronado Bruench With The Bruery - Beer God, Nate Soroko, has invited one of his favorite breweries, The Bruery, in for his latest in Toronado's ongoing series of beer brunches. The theme of this brunch is "junk food" and although the menu is still TBD, we know that Funyuns will definitely be involved. Beers slated to be poured include The Bruery's Humulus Lager, Tart of Darkness (2013 vintage?), Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, Mischief Ale, White Chocolate, Mocha Wednesday, Imperial Cabinet (sour with orange, vanilla and spices) and Rueuze. Tickets are $73 per person.

January 31, OB Warehouse Mike Hess Brewing Beer Lunch - San Diego craft beer lovers are invited to Ocean Beach to enjoy a 5-course menu paired with 5 unique craft beers from Mike Hess Brewing Company. Tickets are $60 per person and the full menu is available online.

February 2, Serious Food & Silliness At The Mad House Comedy Club - The Mad House Comedy Club in Horton Plaza and Stone Brewing Co. are teaming up for a one of a kind culinary and comedy event. Comedian and Chef Karl Prohaska has rounded up some of the finest culinary talent in town for a six-course beer tasting menu featuring craft brew pairings from Stone. After the meal, attendees will head into the comedy club for live stand up. In addition to Chef Karl, participating chefs include Hanis Cavin of Carnitas' Snack Shack, Rich Sweeney of Waypoint Public, Rose Ana Peyron of the High Dive, Anthony Sinsay of Duke's La Jolla, and Ami Cisneros, most recently at Blush. Tickets for this six course celebration of food, beer, and laughter are limited to only 65 people at the cost of $65.

February 6, Gaslamp Quarter Mardi Gras Parade and Celebration - The streets of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter will be closed to traffic so that approximately 40,000 revelers can take to the streets for the biggest Mardi Gras block party west of the Mississippi. Expect music on multiple stages, drinks galore, a festive parade, costumed dancers, glitz, glam, floats, beads and vivacious energy as this event celebrates its 22nd year. Tickets start at $35 and promo code SDVILLE saves $5 per GA pass and $10 per VIP ticket.