San Diego

Friends know me as the deal queen especially when it comes to food! I've compiled a master list of birthday freebies and offers including local San Diego businesses which I'll update approximately twice a year (once for my birthday, once for Dennis's birthday). Some offers improved this year. Souplantation now gives you a free meal instead of B1G1 with drink purchase. Some aren't as good as before such as Noodles & Co offering a rice krispie instead of an entree. Regardless, you do YOU and sign up for what you want to eat or whichever businesses you want to support.

I enjoy the occasional glass of wine (our wine rack is never empty) so was interested in the chance to try out a new Wine and Cheese Club here in San Diego. Boutique Vino was started about a year ago in August and is an online “pop up” wine shop. Every month the shop pops open online for around 10 days at a time (new wines are discounted) and then closes. It then reopens the next month with a whole new line up of wines. The limited production wines are available afterwards at regular price until sold out.

I met with the creators Justus and his wife Michelle to find out a little more about their business. They try every wine themselves before deciding to feature it on their site and focus on small, family owned boutique wines as well as unique varietals or wines from lesser known regions. There's an exisiting Wine Club and they've partnered with Venissimo cheese (another local San Diego Shop) to start a wine and cheese club. Each month, club members are sent 2 wines and 2 cheeses (approx. 1/3lb) each...

It was a HOT weekend but luckily this year's Latin Food Festival (LFF) was within reach of the ocean breezes and a gorgeous view! Embarcadero Marina Park North provided a great spot for LFF, which was held on September 13 between 11-3pm. We purchased our second ticket and invited readers and friends to join us!

After picking up wristbands at the entrance, we headed into the event. The main area had two rows of tents, one with food vendors and the other with drink vendors. Since we hadn't eaten any breakfast, we decided to start with food first! Drinking on an empty stomach is *risky* business!

Our first stop was the Smoke Fusion Catering booth. What's a Latin festival without some tacos, right? These carnitas tacos were only the beginning of that trend...

As we were driving through Mira Mesa last Monday, we noticed the familiar shape of food trucks by the Epicenter, a local youth center.  We immediately u-turned, found ourselves a parking spot nearby and headed toward the enticing scents.

We asked someone what was going on and were informed that recently, several participating food trucks set up shop here every Monday evening and donated 10% of their profits to the youth center. Very charitable! There were about 7 food trucks that night but we decided to dine from the Devilicious food truck, who were on the second season of The Great Food Truck Race. They were also at the Del Mar Food Truck event this year but we didn't try them at that time.

After my less-than-perfect experience at Barona's Seafood Plaza, I am happy to say that their Italian Cucina was wonderful!  The atmosphere is much different than Seafood Plaza.  At the Italian Cucina, there is a warm, friendlier feeling.

One of Barona Resort & Casino's newest eateries is Seafood Plaza.  It is across from the food court and down the escalators.  This area has been remodeled.  It used to be a bingo hall.  There are two other restaurants: Italian Cucina and the soon-to-be new Barona Oaks Steakhouse.  I like this area because it was definitely more quiet than the rest of the casino.

Corner Grill is one of the cheaper alternatives at Harrah's Rincon.  They offer burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizzas, and salads as well as appetizers, pastries, and desserts.  They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The San Luis Rey Cafe used to be next to Fortunes, but it has been moved next to the pool, where Cabana Cove was.  It's a little bit nicer in the new location because there's a view, but the decor is still Cabana Cove.  It makes me think that they're remodeling and will be moving the Cafe back to the old spot.  I asked an employee about it, but he didn't know anything...

Anyway, there are a lot of different items on the menu: appetizers, salads, soups, tacos, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, pasta, BBQ, steaks, fried rice, breakfast, and dessert!