Preview: 2016 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

The week-long culinary event, happening Nov. 14 through Nov. 20, highlights top-notch sips and food in San Diego

John Audley

The 13th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival (SDBWFF) makes its tasty return this week, bringing delectable dishes and premiere wines to feasting foodies.

The week-long fest, which runs Nov. 14-20, will showcase San Diego’s thriving food scene and culinary talent through a series of 60 events across the city, including tastings, workshops and special dinners. Of course, like in years past, the fest will also focus on luxury wines and spirits. 

With so many events where one can sip and savor, here is a scrumptious sample of a few of those mouthwatering activities for foodies to sink their teeth into as the SDBWFF makes its grand return.

Opening Night Dinner at Campfire (Nov. 14)
6:30 p.m., Campfire (Carlsbad)
The SDBWFF’s opening night will include a host of special dinner events at buzzy restaurants around the county, including one at the upscale-chic Campfire in Carlsbad. This particular dinner includes culinary creations from Campfire Executive Chef Andrew Bachelier, with guest chef Jason French of Ned Ludd/Elder Hall. Tickets cost $125 per person. Other eateries hosting Opening Night Dinners include: Galaxy Taco; George’s at the Cove; Ironside Fish & Oyster; Deckman’s En El Mogor. 

The Fish Taco TKO (Nov. 15)
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Quartyard
Finding a good fish taco in San Diego is easy, but finding the BEST fish taco is up for discussion. The Fish Taco TKO returns to the SDBWFF for its 5th year – a showdown between 13 top local chefs serving their versions of sustainable fish tacos. Attendees will taste all of the tacos and crown a winner in the “People’s Choice” category, while a panel of judges decides on the “Judge’s Choice.” This event at Quartyard in downtown San Diego also includes live music, plus beer and tequila tasting stations. Tickets cost $50 per person.

Safe Harbor: Sustainable Seafood – Myths, Truths & Misinformation (Nov. 16)
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., United Portuguese Hall
Panelists, including nutrition experts and chefs, will lead this educational food event at United Portuguese Hall (2818 Avenida de Portugal), which will take a look at the impact our seafood choices have on our oceans. The panel about food production, consumption and the environment is spearheaded by the Berry Good Food Foundation and will include food and drink samples from Chef Isabel Cruz and local farms and fishmongers. This event is free; there’s limited space and you must register in advance to attend.

History of Craft Beer: Ancient to the Present (Nov. 17)
5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Craft beer culture is thriving in San Diego. This SDBWFF discussion featuring industry leaders will explore how beer influenced the start of human civilization and how craft beer has evolved and risen over time. Panelists include Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch, Jennifer Glanville, director of brewing at Sam Adams, and Mark Weslar, of Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Tickets are $55 per person; space is limited.

The Tasting at SommCon (Nov. 18)
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina – Pacific Ballroom
Winos, this one’s for you. The Tasting at Sommcom will give sommeliers of all levels a chance to savor sips from more than 100 exhibiting wine, spirit and brewery producers while mixing and mingling with the industry’s top professionals. Tickets cost $65 per person. 

The Lexus Grand Tasting Event (Nov. 19)
12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Embarcadero Marina Park North
If you attend only one San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival event this year make it this – the big finale of the SDBWFF. The Grand Tasting at Embarcadero Marina Park North, right behind Seaport Village, will boast 150 wine, spirit and beer purveyors pouring hundreds of sips from around the globe. In addition, 60 of San Diego’s top chefs will take the spotlight at The Grand Tasting, whipping up their finest fare. The Chef of the Fest” competition will determine the best of the best, with one winning chef walking away with up to $50,000 in cash and prizes and, of course, serious bragging rights. Attendees will also enjoy samples from more than 30 gourmet food companies, plus live entertainment. Tickets range from $135 to $225 (VIP access), depending on the extras you’d like to add. Designated Driver tickets are also available.

Pizzapalooza (Nov. 20)
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Broadway Pier & Pavilion
Foodies are passionate about pizza, and this event will shine the spotlight on pies of all kinds – from deep dish to Sicilian. Pizzapalooza will include several tasting stations from San Diego’s top dough-slingers, plus live music, craft cocktails and a “Battle of the Bartender” competition. Tickets are $55 per person.

There you have it – a small slice of what’s cookin' at the 2016 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. By the way, foodies who want to attend more than one of these events may want to opt for special packages, which include tickets to multiple activities and other swag. For all of the details on San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, visit the event website.

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