This is the first time I’ve attended a food and wine festival in San Diego (or any where for that matter!). Not really sure what to expect but we went ahead and attended the opening party dubbed as Wine Rave at the W hotel in downtown. I thought the venue was a little too cramped to enjoy the different sampling of wine presented. They also advertised “mouth-watering food” so we didn’t eat before we arrived at the party.
How disappointing to find just a table-full of mini baguettes and a couple of dips! There were a couple of waiters who walked around with “spoon appetizers” but certainly not the caliber of “mouth-watering food” as advertised.
The next event on our schedule was the Grand Tasting Event which was held Saturday at the Embarcadero Park North. With our early entry/ VIP tickets, I figured we’ll get really good food this time. And I was not wrong! With a 70degree weather at the park by the bay, sunny and rows and rows of wine and unbelievable array of really mouth-watering food, this was the party to be in! Since I was the designated driver, I didn’t get to enjoy the wine this time. My husband tasted to his heart’s content different wine from California, Australia, Chile, Spain and France. I, on the other hand, walked and tasted as much food as I can. My favorite was this amazing fish dish from NOBU (who doesn’t know NOBU?!). It was a slice of fish with jalapeno sauce served in a bed of lettuce and topped with crunchy rice sticks.
The House of Blues, a popular downtown restaurant, served Zen of Seared Diver Scallops which is grilled scallops on forbidden and bamboo rice with yellow coconut sauce and a sprinkling of edible flowers.
Jake’s of Del Mar had Caribbean Style Australian Hiramasa, a white fish marinated in mint, rum and lime juice served with garlic fried rice, yuzu butter and garnished with micro greens and pepitas.
Viejas Casino had a Soba Noodles with a slice of skirt steak, chopped asian vegetables and sesame miso dressing.
There were also the old standbys: Donovans with beef steak sandwich, Dick’s Last Resort with pulled pork sandwich, Suite and Tenders with a crunchy and nutty appetizer of pecans, and Harney Sushi with Textures of Kabocha and Yellowtail and Persimmon Sashimi, two amazing dishes served with uni mousse.
The event was open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm but after only a couple of hours, we were about ready to bail out. I had to be at the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk by 3:00pm for my volunteer duties.
After a quick trip to the dessert aisle and enjoying decadent chocolates and cupcakes, we headed home. It was a fun experience and something we would like to do again next year.