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08/15/2015 - 11:00am to 08/16/2015 - 6:00pm

The Latin Food Fest is back in San Diego again! We attended Latin Food Fest 2014 (San Diego) Grande Tasting as well as the Latin Food Fest 2015 (Los Angeles) Grande Tasting and had a FANTASTIC time. The selection of food is amazing! Read on for this year's event details:

YMCA San Diego Partners with ¡Latin Food Fest!

Two key fundraising events August 15 and 16 in downtown San Diego will feature a live music performance by Todo Mundo and the region’s top Latin restaurants - with a portion of proceeds going to The YMCA San Diego’s Childcare Resource Service.

SAN DIEGO – California’s premier annual Latin culinary classic, ¡Latin Food Fest!, has partnered with YMCA San Diego, which been named as the exclusive non-profit partner of the 2015 festival. 

Bringing the Fest’s signature events, “Grande Tasting” and “Family Fiesta,” respectively, to the Broadway Pier this summer, the Latin food, wine and spirits extravaganza will take place August 14 through the 17th with 100% of the silent auction proceeds to the YMCA San Diego’s Childcare Resource Service.

“The Festival is delighted to be working with YMCA San Diego,” said Richie Matthews, President of DIÁLOGO Public Relations, which produces the event.  “Collaboration grew between our organizations’ overlapping goals to help people live healthier, and supporting our neighbors are fundamental to strengthening communities.”

¡Latin Food Fest! 2015 Grande Tasting Agenda

The Lincoln Motor Company Grande Tasting featuring Tasting Tents & Culinary Demonstrations

The 3rd annual Grande Tasting is a showcase for 100 restaurants, chefs, artisanal foods makers and renowned wine and spirit purveyors. Mixologists and distillers will hold tastings of Bacanora, Cachaça, Mezcal, Pisco, Rum, Sotol and Tequila while chefs and sommeliers will demonstrate on-stage, emceed by chef and national Univision host Tati Polo. Music performance by Todo Mundo.

A VIP ticket grants early admission and access to the “VIP Lounge” where each guest will enjoy a gift bag, pours of sparkling wine, organic Tequila, gourmet bites such as oysters and Spanish Jamon and hand rolled cigars and in a lively setting with live music.

This event is Saturday August 15 from 11-3pm (VIP) or 12-3pm at the Broadway Pier (1000 N Harbor Dr, SD 92101).

Tickets are available for $150 (VIP), $50 (general) or $35 (DD) online or $65 (general) at the door.

¡Latin Food Fest! 2015 Family Fiesta Agenda!

Come to the spectacular Broadway Pier for a fun-filled day of food, music and learning at Family Day featuring the Kids Kitchen. Family Day guests can purchase Mexican, Caribbean, Latin American and Spanish food, dance to live music, explore the food garden, learn the basics of a healthy lifestyle at chef workshops and get their hands messy in the interactive Kids Kitchen.

VIP tickets gets you access to VIP Lounge for unlimited samples of tapas, a Cooking Demo, oysters, organic Tequila, Chandon sparkling, massages and live music.

This event is Sunday August 16 from 1-6pm at the Broadway Pier (1000 N Harbor Dr, SD 92101).

Tickets are available for $150 VIP, $20 for adults and $5 for kids (babies are free) online at or  by calling 858.461.1970 (phone sales open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM PST). Prices are $30/$10 at the gate.

A one hour wait for food? Been there, done that (Burger Week at the original Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park). When the new location opened last year in Del Mar, friend and I anticipated a huge line on Friday night of opening week...

Lucky for us, there were only a few people in front of us. The wait was a mere 5 minutes! What a relief! We checked out the menu including the dessert specials at the front. It was easier to read than the menu behind the counter.

This place also has custom sodas in their fountain drink area so I'm sure Dennis would be interested in sampling those!

We were invited to check out Isabella Artisan Pizzeria & Craft Beer Garden. On our way there, we noticed that it was on the same road as the Costco on Moreno! The elevation of the restaurant combined with Costco tunnel vision (find parking, buy stuff, wait in lines, get the hell out) has kept us from noticing it before! But once you know about something, finding it becomes a lot easier! Their parking lot is shared with a few other businesses and was half full when we got there.

After entering, the open bar area is the first area to greet you.

To the left is the main seating area. It's very spacious inside with uncrowded seating. I'm also a fan of the red accents and lighting everywhere!

The cozy, well-lit patio was the perfect choice to enjoy the great San Diego weather though. It's also pet friendly; we saw a waiter filling a doggie bowl for another guest.

I enjoy the occasional glass of wine (our wine rack is never empty) so was interested in the chance to try out a new Wine and Cheese Club here in San Diego. Boutique Vino was started about a year ago in August and is an online “pop up” wine shop. Every month the shop pops open online for around 10 days at a time (new wines are discounted) and then closes. It then reopens the next month with a whole new line up of wines. The limited production wines are available afterwards at regular price until sold out.

I met with the creators Justus and his wife Michelle to find out a little more about their business. They try every wine themselves before deciding to feature it on their site and focus on small, family owned boutique wines as well as unique varietals or wines from lesser known regions. There's an exisiting Wine Club and they've partnered with Venissimo cheese (another local San Diego Shop) to start a wine and cheese club. Each month, club members are sent 2 wines and 2 cheeses (approx. 1/3lb) each...

If you think Taste of Hillcrest is spread out, then you haven't been to Taste of Adams Avenue! Luckily, this event includes complimentary trolleys to get you around. We had media passes for this year's event but the usual price is $35/person or $40 the day of. There's four hours to sample and you get one taste per location. More official event info is here. I'd consider this taste to have three main areas, west of the 805, east of the 15, and the big section in between! Let's explore!

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill opened up a location in San Diego recently and we were invited to dine there. It's on the far right side of the Hazard Center Plaza so keep going and you'll get find yourself there before you know it! They also have a 'take-out' entrance to the left for a quicker turnaround.

Inside, the restaurant is spacious including a bar area and outdoor patio. The restaurant was almost completely full on our visit so word is getting around about this place! Our pleasant server Tim gave us plenty of options on what to order from the menu.

To start, Dennis ordered the Vintage Bullet, a whiskey rye with a very berry flavor. Such a beautiful drink to start out the evening!

Dreamhost is our hosting server and Dennis had received an invitation (as a customer) for a meet-and-greet with company staff at Union Kitchen and Tap gaslamp. Hosted appetizer and drinks? Sign us up already! We were also curious to see how the food would be following our San Diego Restaurant Week visit.

The event was in the large backroom of the restaurant and after checking in, we were handed two drink tickets well as a raffle ticket.

We were drawn to the long table in the back... a meat and cheese platter included black truffle salami, caramelized onion cheddar, dried spanish chorizo, nilano italian salami, wisconsin cheese, etc!

I've been going to Cine Cafe for the past eight years since working in the Gaslamp Quarter. I'm surprised I haven't reviewed this place by now, especially since I eat here at least once a week. So I've decided to do justice and review this place by eating seven of my favorite sandwiches in seven days! Just in time for Comic-con visitors too!

Cine Cafe is a convenience store that happens to include a deli. Look for the sign or the outdoor umbrellas to find it.

The Chicken Club Sandwich is my go to item when I cannot decide on what to eat.