Entertainment & Events

10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

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2009-Festival-GrandTasting-1400-Ken-LoystFor those of us who enjoy good wine and fabulous food, (and who doesn’t one or both?), the week of November 18th through the 23rd will be a very special time. Coming for its tenth anniversary week-long celebration of all things good wine and great food, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is set to create even more culinary and wine-related delight amidst America’s Finest City. Activities connected to the festival will be presented from Monday, November 18 to Sunday, November 24.

The 2013 vintage of the festival will be larger and more fun than ever before. There will be some interesting new kinds of events sprinkled in with the popular regular events as well as the usual suspects; famous chefs and celebrities from the entertainment, culinary and wine world. The finest wines from around the globe will be served; the pride of more than 200 wineries. In addition, breweries and purveyors of spirits; as well as cuisine from 70 of the best eateries San Diego has to offer will also be represented.

Join with aficionados, artistes, and just plain folk in regaling the rites, rituals and reasons for our love of food the drink. Included in the activities will be celebrity chef dinner, multiple tasting events, cooking classes, tasting panels and even a 5K run and yoga to build up one’s appetite.

Here are some highlights of the week’s events:

Monday, November 18th

6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

La Plancha Pop Up Dinner: Celebration of Baja & Tequila Tasting –  $75 – Romesco Baja Med Bistro

La Plancha means iron griddle. All of the dishes in this dinner will be cooked with la plancha. Chef’s without borders is the idea here. Plancha Baja Med’s Chad White, Mision 19’s Javier Plascenia and Nine-Ten’s Jason Knibb will all work together to create six different Baja Med (Mediterranean/Asian/Mexican fusion) meals. To wash it down: tequila pairings creatively selected by Hacienda de la Flor’s Marcela Valladolid.

Tuesday, November 19th

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Master Pairings: Beer and Cheese: Featuring Beer Sommelier “Dr.” Bill Sysak –  $45 – Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

There are those who will claim that beer is the beverage of choice for any pairing with food. They claim there is a much greater range of flavors, brewing methods, and styles than can be found with wine. Cicerone and acknowledged ‘beer-Einstein’ “Dr.” Bill Sysak may just convince you with his masterful marriages of the following beers and munchies:

La Tur partnered with Liefmans Cuvée-Brut; Brillat-Savarin splashed down with Westmalle Triple Trappist Ale; Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar co-habitating with Stone Ruination IPA; Camembert le Pommier coupled with Orval and darn good Duda Gouda allied with 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine.

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The San Diego Classics: Fish Tacos & Craft Beers Featuring the Fish Taco TKO Competition –  $45 – Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

In addition to San Diego being famous for its many wonderful craft beers, it may be even more famous for its world-renowned street-style fish tacos. Why don’t we get our best fish taco purveyors to compete with each other? Why don’t we all get to sample their wares? Why not while drinking craft beer? And why don’t we have it all at the new Liberty Station location of the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens? Why don’t we? We are!

2010-Festival-ReserveTasting-Joey-HernandezWednesday, November 20th

6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Haute French Cuisine & Vintage Burgundy Tasting Featuring James Beard Nominee Chef William Bradley  – $350 – Addison at the Grand Del Mar

William Bradley is the celebrated Grand Chef of San Diego’s only Five-Star/Five Diamond restaurant, Relais & Châteaux. For those participating in this event, he plans to create meal in six-courses for all to be engaged in. Elizabeth Huettinger will devise pairings for the meal using vintage Burgundy tastings. The menu is planned to include sea scallops, champagne, caviar, watercress, Confit de Salmon, Matsutake mushrooms, braised bacon, Lamb Persillade, Potato Gnocchi, and many other surprises.

Thursday, November 21st

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Passion for Fusion – Featuring Master Chef Peng S. Looi –  $70 – Macy’s School of Cooking

Fusion occurs when differing elements are brought together in a harmonious manner. Chef Looi clears up any fusion confusion as he shows us the basics of Asian fusion in this cooking class. The course will instruct in the ways of making the cuisine of today’s Asia, with the legacy of France always in the mix.

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Rock Your Roll: Sushi Making with the Masters –  $45 – Marriott Marquis & Marina

Anyone who loves sushi loves its combination of fragility and strength, delicacy and obviousness. Jeffrey Roberto, Executive Sushi Chef guides us on the journey of a yellowtail, from its capture in Japan, processing and shipment, and ultimate destination in a roll on our plate.

2011-Festival-GrandTasting-370-Ken-Loyst12:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Thomas Arvid Luncheon with David Arthur Vineyards –  $125 – Fleming’s San Diego

SDBWFF has proudly announced that Thomas Arvid will be the featured artist for the 2013 festival. Arvid is celebrated world-wide for his paintings depicted all aspects of the enjoyment of wine. A collector of both fine wine and fine art, he strives to evoke the pleasures that life can bring. His paintings hang in more than 40 galleries, and there is a wait of four years to obtain an original.

He has personally picked one of his recent paintings to be auctioned at the Wine Spectator Celebrity Chef Dinner & Live Auction.

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Louis Latour Double 9-Year Vertical Tasting Featuring President of Louis Latour Bernard Retornaz –  $150 – Marriott Marquis & Marina

Since the 1600s, Louis Latour has been one of most exclusive and elegant of winemakers. Bernard Retornaz, their president, will take participants through the making and tasting of some of their most appreciated wines. Seating is extremely limited.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

An Introduction to Juniper & Ivy: Cooking with Top Chef All-Stars Winner Richard Blais – Citi Card Member Exclusive –  $50 – Macy’s School of Cooking

Richard Blais, recognizable from winning Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars” will soon open Juniper & Ivy in Little Italy. He plans to stock his pantry exclusively with supplies available within walking distance of his restaurant. This event is a chance to preview what may just be the next big thing in San Diego.

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The Best American Cheeses You’ve Never Heard Of Featuring James Beard Award Winner Laura Werlin –  $70 – Marriott Marquis & Marina

As American cheese has evolved to be more than just grilled cheese sandwiches, this endeavor will show off prize-winning cow, sheep, and goat’s milk cheeses from all regions of the USA. Laura Werlin, American cheese enthusiast and author of several books concerning US fromage, will pair the cheeses with American wines. Not too cheesy!

5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Wine Spectator’s Celebrity Chef Dinner & Big Bottle Live Auction –  $250 – Marriott Marquis & Marina

In the Live Auction, more than 20 lots of wonderful wines will be sold. Master Sommelier Joseph Spellman will lead the event, the proceeds of which will help fund culinary and enological scholarships. Once the auction closes, participants will be wined and dined by 15 wineries, with the special pairings expected at such a gathering.

2011-Festival-GrandTasting-312-Ken-LoystFriday, November 22nd

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Pinot Nirvana – Featuring a Panel of Notable Winekmakers – $65 -Marriott Marquis & Marina

Take five of the best Pinot Noir producers. Put them on a panel that will cover every aspect of the special red wine from their wineries.

11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Italian Master Class: A Wine + Food Experience Featuring Acquerello’s Chef Suzette Gresham and Giancarlo Paterlini –  $70 – Macy’s School of Cooking

From the well-respected Acquerello in San Francisco comes Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti and Italian wine expert Giancarlo Paterlini. Together, they lead a class that will be of interest to anyone with a taste for Italian food. In other words, pretty much, everyone. Attendees will be taught Italian cooking techniques, will be given recipes for each meal prepared, will sample Italian wines picked by Giancarlo Paterlini, will be instructed in the history of all of the wines paired in the class.

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Belgium Beer Luncheon Presented by Stella Artois at Bankers Hill Featuring James Beard Nominee Chef Carl Schroeder –  $95 – Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant

While enjoying Belgium beers from Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella Artois, you are invited to enjoy the pleasure of some magnificent meals from Chef Carl Schroeder and Chef de Cuisine Ted Smith.

2010 Wine and Food Festival3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Master Sommelier Blind Tasting – Featuring Master Sommelier Joe Spellman –  $85 – Marriott Marquis & Marina

How to tell the varietal, vintage and AVA of wine? Master Sommelier Joe Spellman knows how. And he’ll be sharing his knowledge and experience in classic methods involving seeing, smelling and tasting wines to classify and categorize.

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The Vault: Reserve & New Release Tasting – The Collection All Access Featuring Official Festival Artist Thomas Arvid –  $135

We can also catch up with Thomas Arvid here. He will be hosting a limited-attendance exhibition called “The Collection”. Selections of his artwork will be displayed next to award-winning wines.

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Timeless Beauty: The 10th Anniversary Celebration Presented by Stella Artois –  $65 – Marriott Marquis & Marina

From the viewpoint of the Marriott Marquis & Marina, gaze over our beautiful city downtown, with Petco Park in the background, as your eyes glaze over from the delicious food and Belgian served. Champagne, craft cocktails and San Diego sushi will round out the affair. Your very special host is Official Festival Artist Thomas Arvid, who will lead us on a fascinating tour of some of his favorite works.

Saturday, November 23rd – The Fit Foodie Race Series

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Cooking Light & Health magazine’s – The Fit Foodie 5K Race Presented by Citi  – $55

A “fitting” end to the week-long celebration is the First Annual Fit Foodie 5K Run. Sponsored by Cook Light & Health Magazine and the SDBWFF, the race will combine athletic competition with, of course, food, beer and wine tasting (for the spectators, of course!) At the end is a Finisher’s Village populated by a Citi Refresh & Refuel station, Cupcake Vineyards wine tasting, Stella Artois beer tasting, Cheeks Baking Company sweets, and much more.

8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Cooking Light & Health magazine’s – The Fit Foodie 5K Race Presented by Citi + Grand Tasting Experience –  $155

Coming on the “heels” of the 5K run is the Grand Tasting event. All the stars of the festival will be out, shining, in the Embarcadero Marina Park North, situated in back of Seaport Village. 70 chefs and 30 gourmet food outfits will delight at least five of your senses. This culmination of culinary creation will be held within walking, running, taxi, or shuttle distance from the finish line of the Fit Foodie run.

2011-Festival-HeartyBoysClass-Denise-JonesSunday, November 24th

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Celebrity Sunrise Yoga & Brunch – $100 – Hilton San Diego Bayfront

This early morning (okay it’s 9am, but still, after a whole week of the festival…) yoga exercise is intended to cleanse the mind and body and ready us for a week without the SDBWFF. Cooking Light and Health magazines are hosting the experience and urge us all to clean up our acts with them.


The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival has, in its ten years, grown to be one of the best of the year, with something for everyone who appreciates fabulous food and drink. We highly recommend you check it out.

Photos by Ken Loyst, Joey Hernandez, Ken Loyst, Ken Loyst, Dan Auber, Denise Jones. Used by permission.

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