The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is not only a November favorite for locals to support their hometown with gastric pride. The Festival brings in a staggering amount of out of state tourists who enjoy piggy backing festival events on top of their holiday plans. Notable for its vast array of microbrews, wine country through Ramona as well as neighboring Temecula favorites, and chef celebrities, San Diego has more than just a little bit for everyone. Culinary influences converge throughout the county whether it be tortilla wrapped, bacon-infused, set with soba, or the many other fantastic pairings that Festival patrons piled on their wine ‘n dine party plates.
Saturday’s Grand Tasting is a true celebration of San Diego and its culinary experience, a city-wide Thanksgiving that bridges the gap between IPA-devotees and Burgundy disciples. The wide array of amuse-bouche encourages patrons to give something a try outside their boundaries as well as discover new interpretations of age-old favorites. Pushing past the pop-up Chipotle shop and tequileria, no need to fill up on fast food when Roppongi is serving up tender seared scallops on chilled cabbage and soba noodle or when there’s uni and barbecued clams to be had. New comer Juniper & Ivy fit right in with the veterans. Guests toasted with a bubbling glass of Tattinger and followed up with a Cabernet from the Alexander Valley. The skies were clear and the VIP booth with its shady tents almost seemed unnecessary considering the perfectly mild fall weather. Finish the afternoon, full bellied, with a sampling of Cravory cookies made out of childhood dreams.
The Festival guest chefs include notable names as Richard Blais of San Diego’s own Juniper & Ivy as well as Brian Malarkey of Searsucker and a slew of extraordinary culinary talent and sommeliers. For those looking for unique holiday gifts or a coveted kitchen addition, chefs were on hand representing their newest cookbook and laying signatures to their pages. Festival sponsor, KIA, even offered fun freebies including live silk screenings of red and white aprons and totes. But the real gifts came in the way of new restaurant favorites for foodies and inspiring cocktail concepts for the the at-home mixologist. A big hand to the janitorial services that seemed to empty trash just in time, keeping the grass green and open for plenty to rest between food stations.
For out of town guests, the location without a doubt lays bare San Diego’s greatest attributes. Set along the embarcadero marina, gueststake in the shining San Diego Bay along with their chardonnay. Several hotels are positioned with convenient locations making the event accessible by foot or pedicab. In addition to single ticket sales, the Festival offers several ticket packages to encourage patrons to enjoy and explore the flavorful scene to their delight. Whether you are in the industry, at-home chef, or wine collector, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival hopes your palate will join them in 2015 for their twelfth consecutive year. See you next year!