Disclosure: I was invited by McFarlane Promotions, the event planners for San Diego Restaurant Week, to attend the San Diego Restaurant Week Launch Party in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you enjoy food as much as I do, next week is one of the best times for a foodie in San Diego, local or visitor.
That’s because San Diego Restaurant Week starts September 20, 2015 and runs through September 27, 2015.
You can enjoy a fixed price meal at over 180 restaurants during San Diego Restaurant Week. Prices range from $10 to $20 per person for two-course lunches and $20 to $50 per person for three-course dinners.
San Diego Restaurant Week Launch Party
This year’s theme is “Celebrate Local” with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients, including meat, produce, and grain. To to kick off the festivities the San Diego Restaurant Week Launch Party was held at Go Green Agriculture on Saturday, September 12, 2015.
In addition to my invitation, I was also given two additional tickets to the SDRW Launch Party to giveaway to a lucky reader. The SDRW Launch Party was a great preview of the delicious meals and tasty drinks you can enjoy during San Diego Restaurant Week.
The event was outdoors and despite a normally cooler temperature Encinitas, it was sweltering with brutal humidity. But that didn’t stop the chefs from showcasing their food.
It did, however, affect some of my photos including one of the best dishes of the day: a melt in your mouth huge slice of pork belly marinated in a cilantro sauce with greens on a slice of watermelon courtesy of PARQ Restaurant & Nightclub.
I’ve left the less quality photos off this post so you’ll have to use your imagination. Or better yet, visit PARQ during San Diego Restaurant Week and try the pork belly yourself.
SDRW Launch Party Bites and Sips
I started with the Salmon Poke (salmon, sesame-ponzu, red chile flakes, pickled cucumbers, green onions, and quinoa sesame crunch) from The Blind Burro. The cold, fresh salmon was a respite from the heat and was so delicious I practically inhaled it. You can order the Salmon Poke everyday at The Blind Burro because it’s not part of their SDRW lunch or dinner menu.
While gorgeous in presentation and a cool shot on a hot day, the Tomato Gazpacho with olive tapenade on a caper crostini from Blue Point Coastal Cuisine is not offered on their San Diego Restaurant Week dinner menu nor their regular menu.
Tuna was a hot commodity (pun intended) at the San Diego Restaurant Week Launch Party. The Ahi Tuna Tartare with avocado puree, creme fraiche, and cilantro from Waypoint Public hit the spot.
You can select the Heirloom tomato appetizer with avocado, cucumber, grilled corn, cilantro, cotija cheese with a chipotle vinaigrette from Croce’s Park West’s San Diego Restaurant Week dinner menu.
I’m a big fan of dates and loved how Tidal paired (wink) a local Asian Pear & Medjool Date with pancetta, Point Reyes blue cheese, sumac-roasted almond with a honey vinaigrette to create a light savory, sweet salad. And it’s available on their SDRW dinner menu. That salad alone is worth visiting Tidal during San Diego Restaurant Week.
Because it was so hot (How hot was it? Stinkin’ hot.) the cold bites like the Tuna Crudo with citrus, California olive oil, and sea salt from Tom Ham’s Lighthouse were going fast. The crudo is available on for both lunch and dinner during restaurant week.
Another delightful tuna dish was the Spiced Ahi on top of a bed of Furikake rice with wasabi cream and ginger soy from Peohe’s. You can chose the Spiced Ahi from their San Diego Restaurant Week dinner menu.
Casa De Bandini brought a Cheese Quesadilla and Grilled Chicken Burrito with avocado and mango from their San Diego Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus.
The Steak Tartare with potato chips, quail egg, and capers from Stake Chophouse & Bar was an interesting combination of textures. And it’s one of several appetizers you can select from their restaurant week dinner menu.
Nicholas Palumbo and his lovely wife Cindy from Palumbo Family Winery poured samples of their Sangiovese and Grenache Blanc wines.
Did I mention how hot it was? It was as hot as a witch’s…
Witch Creek Winery supplied a couple of red wines for everyone to enjoy.
The Sous Vide Flat Iron Steak with fried potato puree, spicy guacamole, swell tomatillo sauce, charred scallion, and micro cilantro from The Patio on Goldfinch and Lamont is available on their dinner menu.
The generous portion of flat iron steak presented in a paper boat was extremely hard to eat without a knife. I’m sure I looked like a chipmunk as I shoved the entire piece into my mouth. That’s one way to ensure that you get all the flavors in one bite. 🙂
The cold pepper soup from Sbicca Del Mar was a good call and relief from the overbearing heat. However it’s not on their restaurant week menu.
The Grenache from Stehleon Vineyards is made from grapes grown in the San Pasqual Valley and their Sauvignon Blanc grapes come from Valley Center.
A variety of spirits were on hand from Kill Devil Spirit Co: Valor West Coast Gin, Ugly California Rise & Shine, Ugly California Moonshine, and Rx Unfiltered Vodka. Flavored spirits is a new hip trend and had I not been driving (nor it been an inferno) I would have sampled them all.
Having never had farro, Solare Ristorante’s farro salad topped with stracciatella cheese was a great introduction to this crunchy grain.
I’m a Hyatt girl and I LOVE the food at the Park Hyatt Aviara. So I was really excited to try their samples from Argyle and Vivace and I was not disappointed.
The Torta al Cioccolato Burro di Arachidi con Fichi Caramellati aka fig cake with peanut butter and jelly or what I’m calling a deconstructed PB&J was amazing! Next to the Salmon poke it was my favorite bite of the day.
The combination of whipped chocolate on top of the fig cake with peanut butter and jelly although all one texture was heavenly. And how could you not love the cute terrarium it was served in?
The s’mores tart, well, although marshmallows are my weakness (but who am I kidding, all desserts are), the graham cracker crust was a little overcooked. And I would have loved if it were milk chocolate vs dark chocolate. But it was still tasty and I’d eat it again.
Neither dessert is offered on their restaurant week menu. But you can get the Torta al Cioccolato Burro di Arachidi con Fichi Caramellati from Vivace’s regular dessert menu.
Food for Kids
In three simple steps, you can help feed San Diego children through the “Food for Kids” program that provides backpacks filled with food to local children on Fridays.
Sysco San Diego will donate $1 to the Food 4 Kids Backpack Campaign when you:
1. Snap a photo of your meal
2. Share it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter
3. Tag your photo with “#Food4Kids”
It’s a quick and easy way to help provide food for kids. Are you in?
The San Diego Restaurant Week Launch Party at Go Green Agriculture showcased local ingredients from 20 restaurants, craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries in the San Diego area.
It was a great preview of what’s to come during San Diego Restaurant Week from September 20, 2015 through September 27, 2015.
While not all 180 restaurants require reservations, due to the popularity of SDRW, you may want to book in advance. You’ll find a complete list of all participating restaurants including menus on the San Diego Restaurant Week website.
And while dining, you can help Sysco San Diego provide food for kids simply by uploading a photo of your meal to social media and tagging it “#Food4Kids.”
Which restaurants are you trying during San Diego Restaurant Week?
Stay tuned for my post on Brockton Villa’s San Diego Restaurant Week dinner menu.
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