We can't wait to attend Taste of Hillcrest this year! There are new restaurants to sample and we have yet to hit every spot for this event, though we try hard! With over 35 participating locations, you're sure to have your fill, if not more! Recaps of previous years are here: Taste of Hillcrest 2015 and Taste of Hillcrest 2014.
The places we are most interested in are:
Pardon My French
The Brew Project
The Smok'd Hog
Official event info is below:
Get ready to indulge in exotic flavors and delight the palate during the culinary adventure Taste of Hillcrest. On Saturday, April 16 from noon to 4:00 p.m., San Diego’s most fabulous neighborhood will bring together some of the best chefs and cuisines for food connoisseurs to experience on a self-guided culinary tour.
With a wide selection of establishments to choose from Taste of Hillcrest will feature over 35 restaurants specializing in different types of international cuisines. Treat yourself to comfort foods and delicacies from countries around the world such as Thailand, Korea, Japan, India, Mexico, the Middle East and much more. Activate all of the senses by taking in the sounds and capturing moments at iconic Hillcrest art murals, while salivating over fresh seafood, sushi, spicy Thai, delicious pastas and feel-good classics.
While partaking of the savory sampling, be sure to save room for a chalice of Stella Artois and refined desserts from a wide range of Hillcrest eateries.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of and get you one sample ( food, drink or both ) at each participating location. This event has sold out in advance the last several years so purchase your tickets TODAY!
Wine lover? Got that covered. Curious of where to eat at Pechanga Resort & Casino? Got that covered too.
Pechanga had their 8th Annual Wine Festival on February 27, 2016 and we were invited to attend (following Chocolate Decadence the night before). Not only were there multiple wineries for tasting, but many of Pechanga's restaurants were sampling their foods as well! Isn't that a convenient way to narrow down food options between all the casino fun?
We made our way into the Pechanga Grand Ballroom around 1pm for general admission (VIPs enter at noon). Near the entrance was a display table with the big raffle prize, which included plenty of wine and spirits from event vendors. The proceeds from the raffle and other fundraising items goes to help the charity Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.
We always do food before drinks though! Never drink on an empty stomach!
Journey's End, an upscale restaurant at Pechanga, served braised pork with port reduction and pureed carrots. This was so tender and we loved the fatty bits. Dennis thought the sauce was too strong but I enjoyed the porkiness of the glaze. Another sample was the shrimp cocktail with fresh huge shrimp plus a great white sauce!
Ever been to a chocolate festival? How much better would it be if wine were involved?
We were invited to Pechanga Resort and Casino to check out the Chocolate Decadence festival on Friday February 26, 2016. The event is held in the Pechanga Grand Ballroom. General admission tickets let us enter at 7pm and those with VIP could get in as early as 5:30! There was also designated driver tickets available though all guests are required to be 21+.
Within 10 minutes of the general admission time, there were already 40 people lined up, eager to enter! No worries though because there was more than enough chocolate to go round! I'd call this a Vegas buffet... dessert style!
Buy a wine & cheese plate for $5 to support the selected charity Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley! This holds everything very well as you can see above! We also saw people who brought their own wine and cheese plates, some of which were pretty fancy.
We stepped into the room and noticed several dessert stations around the room, each with their own centerpieces! This one is the chocolate candy station! The wines were lined up along the walls of the room but we of course headed straight toward the sweet decadence awaiting us!
This station had an ice sculpture and a crepe station!
Crab Hut in Mira Mesa is finally open! My family has been waiting for this place to open for quite a while and they've been asking me to go with them since their soft opening a week ago. The place was packed when we went this past Wednesday. From what we've been told, it was much busier on the first day.
There are not that many restaurants in the Mira Mesa area that have a full liquor bar. This place has plenty of seating and cheap $3 craft beer specials during happy hour (M-F 2-6).
Oyster bar on the back half of the drink bar. There's even a person standing by to shuck oysters fresh right there for you! Select oysters are $1 each during happy hour and all day Tuesdays!
Spitz recently opened a location in the thriving Hillcrest community and we were invited to check it out. This business labels themselves as Mediterranean Street Food so we were curious about what they had to offer.
On a weekday visit, we easily found street parking since it's not in the main Hillcrest area. We drifted into a colorful, art-filled building and plopped ourselves at the bar. The restaurant is counter service so you order at the bar and they bring the food out to you.
The menu is only one page so it didn't take too long to select something. Plus, the most popluar two items were boxed in so we decided to go with the flow that day.
Street Cart Doner ($9 meat, $7.50 vegetarian)
The Doner. A well known item in the Mediterranean world. This, and all other doners, had a choice of beef/lamb mix (our choice), chicken, or falafel. I thought it was pretty cool how the layers of meat were carefully assembled and then filled with the vegetables. It had quite a fresh taste due to the selection of raw vegetables in the wrap. The tortilla was quite thin but held up all the ingredients! We were very pleased with this entree.
Exploring the city can be fun, especially if it involves food. The Bite San Diego tours are created to spotlight a few eateries as well as teach some history about a particular area of town. Downtown/Little Italy was my choice for a makeup tour (following the La Jolla tour).
A friend and I walked into Royal India a little before noon, where our friendly tour guide Hank was gathering the other people attending the tour.
Hank hails from New York and told us a little about himself and the tour, then ushered us towards the buffet. Can there be a better start than this? I mostly remember how much I enjoyed stuffing every tasty food item right into my mouth. Royal India is worth revisiting in the future!
Upon exiting the restaurant, I noticed this awesome status with a bowl. It held cardamon fennel, which is supposed to help with digestion when you chew on it but boy was the flavor potent!
A few months ago, we popped into Draft Republic with some friends and tried these crazy good Crispy Maple Bourbon Bacon Sticks. Pork belly on a stick haha! It was only a matter of time before we returned... which happened to be for San Diego Restaurant Week.
I loved walking into this vivid place. It seemed to be a fun environment with ping pong, pool and foosball tables, all free to play. There are also multiple tvs for watching the games so I can imagine it getting busy during prime hours! They have their own large parking lot which is another positive.
But back to business... we were here to eat, and perhaps play games later. The SDRW lunch menu was only $15 for a two course meal, which includes an appetizer and main entree. The menu is attached at the bottom of post.