Latin

Earlier this year, we met some out-of-town friends at Tamarindo Latin Kitchen & Bar. I remember loving the potato rolled tacos and decided to revisit this North Park spot. They had just kicked off brunch on the weekend we visited. So far I think I'm in love. The flavors were on point and I loved the fusion aspect.

The restaurant is a spacious spot with pleasing tones of blue and neutrals.

The annual San Diego Latino Film Festival is hugely popular and recently introduced a foodie festival as part of the week's events. This year marked the second annual Sabor Latino food, beer and wine festival. Similar to Latin Food Fest, there were plenty of fabulous chefs, local and across the Mexican border, sharing their heartfelt creations and spreading their fondness for food. The full ticket also included unlimited beer and wine tastings from the participating vendors.

I've never attended any festivals in Mission Valley so ended up parking farther than anticipated (near the trolley station) of Fashion Valley Mall. Tents were actually set up between two parking structures just south of the AMC theater and food court area.

My plus one and I had general admission tickets which let us in at 2pm (VIP enters at 1pm). We were lucky enough to stop by for some paella from Paella Villa de Cervantes before they ran out! The portions were plentiful which may have contributed the short supply.

I love how this shot of Chef Daniella from Cocina Secret turned out. With their tent's background, it was almost as if we were in some resort being personally served by the chef!

Here's a closeup of her shrimp and quinoa ceviche with mango coconut cream plus a touch of curry. Yes it was tasty.

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).

We spent a lovely but hot afternoon enjoying Latin food, wine and spirits at the 3rd annual Latin Food Fest Grande Tasting in San Diego. This event was held on August 15 between 11-3pm and for one price gave all-inclusive access to over 50 restaurants/businesses. Our experience with last year's Latin Food Fest San Diego as well as this year's Latin Food Fest Los Angeles meant we were no strangers to this tasting event! The event was held at the Broadway Pier, a heavy tourist area next to US mid-way and other San Diego sightseeing places. A parking lot with $16 all day parking was across the street from the main entrance.

This post is divided into the following sections: 1) Food, 2) Drinks, and 3) Awesome People. There were several celebrity chef sightings plus a mini interview!

Food:

We came hungry and feasted our eyes on all the delectable samples awaiting us... then our mouths carried forward the mission to eat from every booth!

Cafe Sevilla's seafood paella and patata bravas were both beautiful and enjoyable.

At West Coast Tavern, we found chicken sopas - very nice and crispy on the outer shell with shredded chicken inside.

We enjoyed the Latin Food Fest in San Diego last year and were pleased to be invited back for the Los Angeles grande tasting on March 21. Even though it's farther away, we knew there'd be many, if not all, new restaurants for us to sample! The sipping of spirits was also a plus.

The Los Angeles location was at Hangar 8, a 15000 facitity at the Santa Monica Airport. Paid parking lot ($10) and ticket pickup were to the right with the event to the left.

Entrance to the Latin Food Festival. It doesn't look all that big on the outside but there were additional booths, mainly the spirits, located in the back building.

We first got in the Stella Artois line for the purpose of collecting their cute glassware. I'm a fan of Belgium style beer so this one is nice and familiar. I also like their cider too.

While waiting for beer, Dennis picked up samples from the nearby Rosa Mexicano booth. The tableside guac was yummy but we needed more than two chips! The pink lemonade mixed drink was refreshing and light. The El Floridita booth had pork with a banana chip. The strands of meat were long which made it a bit chewier for us.

To the left of Stella was Coni'Seafood, serving raw shrimp marinated in jalapeno juice. There were definitely some hesitant looks as we took pictures. I finally gave it a shot and...

We’ve been digging the latin food these days, especially after events like Latin Food Festival and Taste of Old Town. Lucky for us, we were recently invited to try out mexican food at Café Coyote in Old Town San Diego. How could we say no?

Tourists love Old Town in the summer and during holidays but crowds do seem to clear up a bit when the weather cools. We found street parking on San Diego Ave 1 block south of the restaurant.

I was surprised to see such a long line at 6pm on a Sunday, but it moved fairly quick. The restaurant itself is gigantic, like a shopping plaza with multiple sections including upstairs seating, patio area, and dining on both sides. It could fit 900+ people at once. Wow.

Right outside the restaurant, you can see fresh tortillas being made. With a full house of diners, you know they are making thousands each day.

After getting seated, complimentary chips and salsa were brought out. Dennis decided to add Guacamole ($8.95). These are made fresh daily with Hass avocados and traditional ingredients and served in a fried tortilla bowl. Portion size was decent for two people. The guac itself was not fully whipped and had chunks of natural avocado. I think a tiny bit more lime would have made it perfect. I recommend eating with fresh hot chips. Request new ones if they aren't! Besides that, the standard appetizer salsa set off my "spicy" senses but it was still manageable.

The past two years, we attended the Tequila Trail (2012/2013) but this year the event got a new name! So welcome to the Taste of Old Town everyone! With so many other events under the "Taste of" branding, it was sure to draw an even bigger crowd than before! The event had designated driver tickets (food only) and regular tickets (food and tequila/beer) from 16 participating restaurants.

Here's the flyer by the fire. Ha, that rhymes a bit! The event was on Thursday Sept. 18 from 6-9pm in fabulous Old Town San Diego.

The event had a raffle that included Old Town restaurant gift certificates, tequila, and more prizes. More good reasons to come back to Old Town!

We had been waiting all day for this event. We met up with our friend Jon and as soon as we had our tasting guides, we hit our first stop at The Patio. Their delicious mexican mole had a flavorful sauce that was especially good with the super tender meat! There was also Pacifico beer served here for those drinking.

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!

Date: 
09/11/2014 - 8:00pm to 09/13/2014 - 3:00pm

San Diego to Play Host to the Largest Latin Food, Wine & Spirits Event in the U.S.

¡LATIN FOOD FEST! transforms San Diego’s Embarcadero into a showcase for 200 restaurants, chefs, foods makers and renowned wine, beer and spirit purveyors. 

This upcoming September 11-13 2014, ¡LATIN FOOD FEST!’s premier culinary extravaganza will take place in downtown San Diego with some of the world’s best chefs, distillers and vintners, and the region’s top Latin restaurants. ¡LATIN FOOD FEST! (www.latinfoodfest.com) will once again educate palates and entertain patrons in high style at six events, which will include an Opening Party, Educational Seminars, Cocktail Parties, Chef Dinner, Chef Demonstrations on the Celebrity Cooking Stage, Silent Auctions, Culinary Grand Tasting Event, and Wine Reception.

Grand Tasting Village, presented by The Lincoln Motor Company, will be held on September 13 at the Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego Bay and feature 100 tasting tents, cooking demonstrations, a live music stage, book signings and thematic brand hosted pavilions, including “Latin Wines of the World” Presented by Henry Wine Group, “VIP Playa” Presented by Stella Artois, “Spirits of the Americas” Presented by Constellation Brands and “Taste Baja” Presented by Mexico Tourism Board.