It's about that time again. San Diego Restaurant Week for the fall starts on September 20 through September 27, 2015.  Over 180 restaurants are participating! Check out your favorite restaurants or try something new! The prix fixe lunches are either $10, $15, or $20 and the prix fixe dinners are either $20, $30, $40 or $50!

The theme of Restaurant Week is "Celebrate Local" and I was able to check out a few samples ahead of time at the SDRW Launch Party at Go Green Acres. Browse the tasty creations below and something may inspire you to check out a new or old restaurant favorite!

Get a kick out of the tomato gazpacho with olive tapenade on a caper crostini from Blue Point Coastal Cuisine.

We've attended many "Taste of" events over the years but last week we had quite a difficult choice to make... Taste of Old Town or Taste of Downtown? They were unfortunately on the SAME night this year! In the end, we decided to eat, drink and be merry in historic Old Town San Diego. I suspect my interest in latin inspired food and alcohol has been increasing following events like Latin Food Fest San Diego and Tacos & Spirits at Harborfest.

The San Diego heat was still beating down on us at this event. I had gotten some kind of "flash flood" weather alert that morning, and came to find out it was only for INLAND San Diego. Old Town (as well as the rest of the city) was still hot and sticky but at least no umbrella was needed.

We came early enough to find great parking and pick up our wristbands and maps. There were 13 places to visit and 3 hours to do it. This year they seemed to be emphasizing the rules of two alcoholic tastes per person per station, even if there were more than two samples available. I thought we were able to try all varieties in the past. Most places remembered to mark off the map under the food and drinks columns.

Barra Barra Saloon has really amazing food based on the previous year trends.

Food, Wine & Jazz. I already like the sound of that. This was an outdoor event held on the beautiful St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort that featured the culinary talents of world-renowned chefs, wineries and boutique vintners. We attended as reps for SDCheers.com and made the 1 hour drive north to Dana Point. The last time we stopped in this area was for our Catalina Island birthday trip, which I recommend checking out.

We joined a huge line of cars waiting to get into the resort. We soon found out the reason - self-parking lots were full from the vendors so guests had to get valet instead. I have NEVER seen such hard-working valet workers as these guys. They were running back and forth to take care of the massive collection of guests for this event! Parking is yet another reason why you arrive at events early! 

After dropping off our car, we made our way through the resort building through the help of signs.

At the recent Harborfest, Bayside Park was the place to be for all day family fun. It was also the location for the Tacos & Spirits Revoultion from 11-2pm. So who makes the best tacos in San Diego? We came out to sample tacos and vote for our favorite! At a reduced price of $15 for food and an additional $5 to add spirits, this was a steal of a deal! Dennis wasn't available this time so I invited a good friend of mine to join me. We also checked out the rest of the Harborfest activities afterwards.

Tacos & Spirits Revolution:

My friend and I checked in and put on the bright purple event wristbands.

A quick look around showed a circle of tents surrounding tables for eating and drinking. A lovely blue ocean and skyline were visible to the west.

We were both ravenous. That morning I taught her some Tasting Events 101 such as "Don't eat right before an event."

The first booth we visited had the Spicy Grilled Fish from the Mariscos German Beyer Food Truck (pictured above).

Last month I attended the Lemon Zest and Garlic Fest because Faye's Fork had an extra ticket (actually there were two tickets, but Dennis couldn't go). Food festival? Yea, I'm there! Little did I know how fun the weather would be that day...

I woke to some rumbling, thinking the neighbors were moving around their trash cans loudly but quickly realized it was a thunderstorm... what?! That's not typical San Diego weather! As luck would have it, that day's weather report showed rain at 8am (when I woke up), between 11-4 (when the festival was going on) and nothing the rest of the day. The timing was crazy! I packed an umbrella and headed out, ready to face the world. And eat lots of food.

The festival was held at San Diego Waterfront Park, which I've never been to before. It's about a block away from the SD Trolley station so I took public transportation that day. It was a little drippy when I arrived but nothing I couldn't handle! After picking up my ticket, I headed inside!

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!

This year we attended our first Taste of Little Italy via media passes. With all of our 'Taste of' experiences, it's a wonder how we've missed it! Technically, we attended Taste of Downtown 2007 (when downtown and Little Italy were in a single event). Since then, Little Italy has grown WAY too prominent as its own community to share the spotlight! In fact, they now split Little Italy into two routes, north or south ($30 each), or a combined route ($45) for the ambitious! And ambitious San Diegans must be as the combined route tickets sold out first! Or perhaps... it was too difficult to choose just one route!

In case you missed out on all of the fun, or even just a few stops of your map, we're here to give you the scoop on all the samples from this year's event!

We often attend the Taste of North Park around October so I was surprised to stumble upon a less publicized event called "Tuesday" Taste of North Park. This was a special 'mini' taste held Tuesday June 9, 2015 from 5-8pm in celebration of the HomeBrewers Conference that week! Curious, I picked up tickets for Dennis and me to check it out!

Will-call was available between 3-6pm in front of the North Park Main Street building located at 3076 University Ave. The sweet Dani and Alli were at the table helping me and other event-goers get our tickets! This smaller event was only $20 pre-sale or $25 day of and had 19 participating locations, 15 with food and 4 with beer.

Our first sample of the evening was a Mini Mini Corndog from Coin Op. Yes, mini is repeated twice, according to the server! It was served with a IPA mustard for a sharp kick of contrast to the pillowy dough and meat inside.

It's Taste 'N' Tinis recap time! I love this event because it has the kind of booze I enjoy most AND the price is right. Seriously, $20 is way too good to pass up! Even if you buy last minute, it's only $25 on the day of! I lucked out and used points to redeem free tickets from a local tv station website. It was meant to be!

The event was held Thursday December 11 between 5 and 10 pm, an extra hour longer than previous years. More time to sober up or booze up? That's your choice! We also got these cute little martini glasses for sampling!

And the Latin Food Festival tasting continues from part 1...

We hit all the food stands in the main area so headed to the back for even more!

Fogo de Chao was a popular tent with a huge line waiting for the food. Can you guess why? Look at this "sample" of steak, chicken, and sausage plus sides! I think that's half a dinner right there!