It's been a decade since we first did our first Taste of Downtown in 2006! It's usually held on a Thursday evening for four hours, giving you freedom to choose which places you want to go. This year didn't seem too busy or maybe we managed to beat the crowds! I think there were 40+ restaurants participating this year! There were also several locations that served alcohol samples as part of the taste! It was already sounding like a fun night before we began!
One of the best samples was from Tender Greens. They always come up with very creative bites like this duck confit on brioche toast with a savory sweet pepper jelly and pickled fennel! What a glorious bite!
Whiskey Girl got their wings down pat with the sweeter Thai Chili sauce.
I first noticed Red Card Cafe when they followed our Oh-So Yummy Instagram. I peeked at their account and saw they were opening soon in San Diego. A few weeks later, they popped up again for San Diego Restaurant Week with a $20 dinner. A visit was ripe for the picking. Their San Diego Restaurant dinner menu included a choice of appetizer, entree and dessert for only $20 and is attached at the end of the post.
Other than a visit to Isabella Pizzeria, we use Morena Blvd in this area strictly for Costco shopping. I was cruising through idly and barely caught sight of the restaurant. There was parking along the street but google maps indicated a back parking lot with an entrance north of the building. I somehow missed that.
My friend Cisco (i.e. headcinema) joined me for dinner. He takes creative eye-catching photos so I like learning tips from him. The strung lights, red umbrellas and natural light enticed us to sit outside before the last rays of sunshine disappeared over the horizon. Picture op!
When late night munchies attack, you must fight back! Recently I found out about Brian's 24 in downtown, available at all hours of the day AND within walking distance of one of my downtown spots!
We were invited to come in to experience what they had to offer - breakfast anytime, as well as anything else that caught the eye! 6pm on a Sunday fit into our schedule and also allowed for easy street parking. A booth by the window had a "reserved" sign which we correctly guessed was for us. Even before looking over the menu, I knew of one item I HAD to order...
Chicken & Waffles (15.99) - Our delicious Belgian waffle and 1/2 of a fried chicken.
In general I'm not that big into pancakes or waffles but the idea of chicken and waffles always gets me excited! The fresh waffles were lightly dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a sweet strawberry. We dutifully poured some syrup over it before taking a bite of the warm fluffy waffle but our eyes drifted toward the star of the dish... The fried chicken was extra crispy on the outside, almost shell-like, and pulled away from the juicy meat. It was piping hot too which is the way fried chicken should be!
Humphreys Restaurant is located on Shelter Island and provides California cuisine right next to the waterfront! I hadn't heard of this place until I received an invite to a media cooking class with Executive Chef Nicolas Bour.
For the event, drinks and hors d'oeuvres started at 6pm. Dennis and I made our merry way alongside the serving tables. Here we had local grass fed lamb chops grilled to perfection!
Seafood delights included tuna over seaweed salad with a little wasabi bite and meaty crab cakes sweetened by apple!
If you've never explored Old Town, this event is one you shouldn't miss! Imagine walking throughout historic Old Town San Diego while picking up food samples and tequila sips! Sounds like fun to me!
In fact, we've done this since it started in 2014! Check out our recaps of 2014 and 2015 to get an idea of the experience! We're also giving away a pair of tickets to this year's event at the end of the post.
When we were invited for a San Diego Restaurant Week (SDRW) preview at Tidal in Mission Bay, I expected delicious food but was also blown away by the gorgeous views of the water! I'm rarely in the Mission Bay area so was positively radiating with excitement from my surroundings!
Outside the restaurant is a pier area and Dennis told me he found this "private island" while taking pictures! The picture on the right shows what's on the island. I could imagine someone using it for a small private wedding ceremony! Paradise Point, the company that owns the restaurant, has quite a bit of land in this area!
The patio was great but it was a tad too bright for pictures. After we basked in the sunshine, we were seated inside the main dining hall close to the windows with a view! I couldn't help but admire the pretty hanging lights in this huge hall. To our left was the open kitchen, allowing us a sneak peek into the cooking arena!
I was down. Apparently so was this girl I spotted with BURGER SOCKS on!!! That's genius!
Dennis was busy that day so I invited foodie friend HeadCinema as my plus one. The first annual Burgers and Beer event was held at Golden Hill Park and we entered through these gates. Similar to Tacotopia at the Track, we were allowed to go in an hour early for MEDIA hour from 11-12. Unfortunately I had some work to do beforehand so only made it about 10-15 minutes early but friend did get a head start!
I've heard positive things about Saiko Sake & Sushi Bar for a while and finally bit for a Sake Flights & Bites event. This was the first of an on-going series and featured the seasonal nama sake alongside three savory courses and one dessert course.
The co-owner Evan (middle) hosted the event and introduced us to chef and co-owner Anthony (left) and Max (right), who were busy preparing the food and drinks for the evening. Evan is a Certified Sake Professional (CSP) with a level 1 certifiication; level 2 requires going to Japan which is in the plans for next year!