San Diego Reader Brunch and Booze - recap

The newest food festival to hit town was the first annual San Diego Reader Brunch and Booze! There was no way we would miss out on this tasting, considering how much we've enjoyed their other events Tacotopia and Burgers & Beer! The festival was held at NTC Park in Liberty Station on Saturday October 19, 2019 between 12-3pm (or 11-3pm for VIP). Parking was much easier than Golden Hill from prior activities.

Here was the entrance to Reader Brunch and Booze. A long line of eagar eaters sprawled alongside the side fence but moved quickly with multiple check-in lines.

Once inside, attendees receive two voting tickets, one for the best bloody mary and one for the best brunch bite! Who will have bragging rights for the very first event?

Get your stretchy pants ready because here comes the food and drinks.

First up, with the LONGEST line, was Cocina 35 providing their famoust chilaquiles! These hefty plates were no joke as they were piled high with carnitas, sauce & chips, creating an impressionable first bite! The wait was well worth it.

I think the combo of breakfast and bubbles was too irresistible hence the second longest line for The Broken Yolk. We missed out on the champagne flutes but were still able to sip with our strawberry and chocolate topped waffle. Thank goodness the rest of the lines were much shorter.

One of our favorite bites was this chicken and waffle from Union Kitchen and Tap! The crust was lightly crisp and well seasoned while the chicken stayed moist. The surprise was the fried waffle which was genius for texture! We typically find waffles plain but this version feels sooooo right!

Union Kitchen's catering food truck is the newest addition to the brick and mortar locations in downtown and encinitas. Executive Chef Colten Lemmer and his super team cheerfully posed for us after their big shift!

Royal Rooster served a delicious surf and turf enchilada. The land and sea combo consisted of 13 hour smoked shredded beef along with baja white shrimp. Their bloody mary was a 'verde' spin with a yummy chipotle glazed shrimp as garnish. This restaurant is totally is on my radar now plus the prices are very reasonable!

Another popular eatery at the event was Breakfast Republic. I went gaga over their shrimp and grits especially with the addition of sweet corn! To the left, I went straight for the BACON, meaty and flavorful... we're always exploring menus for flavor ideas into our smoked bacon recipe.

Sister restaurant North Park Breakfast Company brought their house cured salmon on a scrumptious rosti. This spot also has a mesmorizing mashed potato waffles so make sure to check them out!

Chef Alfred “Alfie” Szeprethy was working the booth for Toast Gastrobunch, a restaurant I've been hearing good things about recently! They served a fluffy red velvet pancake with a semi-sweet glaze that day.

The Trails Eatery brought fall into the mix with their pumpkin cheesecake pancakes. I especially delighted in their Fuzzy Sweater drink with muddled berries. We found out later that they had partnered with JuneShine, which made sense why we enjoyed the drink so much!

I wanted more of this refreshing heirloom gazpacho from Topside Terrace Kitchen & Bar (Hotel Republic), which gave a little bit of crunch from the cucumbers and a nibble of poached shrimp.

One of the long time breakfast spots, Fig Tree Cafe, delivered a sweet treat with their Cinnamon Apple French Toast.

The healthy snacks from Lesser Evil are fun treats. Product has a stronger scent and taste...

Chef Turok of Mascarpone Cheesecake really does have exquisite desserts... we're not fans of cheesecake but this bite is quite heavenly.

The Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt samples were MINE ALL MINE since Dennis isn't a fan of greek yogurt! I was happy that the yogurt wasn't overly tart plus the fruity mix-ins were wonderful.

On the other side of the field were these bite size arepas from Congress Cafe. They had two options, one with meat and one with beans. A coupon was handed out for a free arepa when you bring a friend!

Hello Chef Nellie! Breakfast Bitch was representing with their pancake. I'd like to see what else they have at this new hotspot in Hillcrest.

We're not into bloody mary's BUT we're down for the toppings! A closeup of the bloody mary favorite from Breakfast Republic!

Let me pour you a cold one... Ace Cider was one of several cideries representing this year!

Dennis's favorite flavor of the day was the apple pie from Julian Hard Cider! The other available taster was their lei'd back pineapple. We recently bought a growler of that flavor after Apple Picking at Volcan Valley Farm.

Oh JuneShine! Dennis loves how close you are located to work so he'll be back for more!

Um yes, more rose kombucha from Bootstrap Kombucha please! We've been on a boozy rose water kick as this flavor has caught our interest lately! 

Get your booch on with Boochcraft Hard Kombucha.

Seven Seas Kombucha is my favorite non-alcoholic drink plus it is located close to my workplace! That day we enjoyed their Tuktuk Tea (coconut lemongrass and lime) and Garden of Eden (pomogranate, rose water, chamomile) samples. Dennis was really enjoying the selection of booze this year too! Other alcohol vendors (not pictured) included Little Miss Brewing, Misadventure Vodka, Societe Brewing Company, North Park Beer Co, Mike's Hard Lemonade... etc.

Topo Chico for some refreshing sips between bites and booze. Dennis drank mine so I don't remember what it tastes like haha!

Found Heartwork Coffee for a little wake-me-up. Another coffee spot, S3 Coffee Bar, brought drinks AND acai mini cups!

Cute bracelet making station!

Live artwork and music at the event.

Cheers to the happy guests with stacks of sample cups. We felt content with the plentiful food and drink options, enough to fill up but not overwhelm us. We unfortunately missed out on two vendors, BFD and Park & Rec, so I'm curious what their samples were! The majority of food was available until 2pm though a few more spots were closing shop within 30 minutes of the event end. Congratulations to Cocina 35 for taking home the glorious title of best brunch bite. Runner ups included Union Kitchen and Tap followed by Royal Rooster. Breakfast Republic had the best bloody mary. Sounds like all our favorites did quite well! We are looking forward to next year's event so make sure to buy tickets before it sells out!

Disclaimer: We were invited to the event and the food and drink were complimentary. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own.

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Soo Hom's picture
Submitted by Soo Hom (not verified) on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:50am

That was alot of samples! The chicken and waffles did look the best.

Faye 's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Fri, 11/15/2019 - 11:04am

Yummmm. The pics made me so hungry. I always think it's best to get to these events early b/c the sample presentations tend to decline towards the later hours. Were the lines pretty bad an hour into event? The chicken and waffle dish looks so good right now !

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