The heat was sweltering. The wine poured freely. And the food. Oh, the food.
We arrived at the food fest at 11:45 a.m. and grabbed our complimentary loaves of bread from Sandie Rose — crispy, flavorful mini baguettes. After snatching a couple of wine glasses and trays, we headed into the bacchanalia that is the San Diego Food and Wine Festival. Over 60 restaurants. Hundreds of wines. Food and spirit samplings. Sigh.
There was so much food (and many restaurants served various renditions of ahi tuna and steak) that it all began to meld together, particularly after a few glasses of wine and after standing under the beating sun. But there were some standouts:
* Antelope (!) Wellington with Plantain Hash. Flavorful and very distinctive. I can’t say I’ve ever eaten antelope before!
* Deconstructed Sushi – A cube of cucumber gelee, a block of sushi rice, a cube of soy sauce gelee and a cube of sushi-grade ahi tuna all on a skewer. Creative and whimsical.
* Taro Taco with Asian Guacamole and Ahi – Yes, more ahi, but it was crunchy, creamy and delicious.
* Marsala-braised Pork with Kabocha Squash and Green Curry Panna Cotta – One of my favorites of the day. The pork was tender and flavorful and the panna cotta was creamy and lush.
* Duck Prosciutto with Tangerine Sauce – A neat take on prosciutto, but with a richer, gamier taste.
* Karma Champagne – Dry and crisp. Impressive, particularly for Champagne sold in a glass, screw-top bottle.
* Lemongrass and Lavender Dry Soda – A lifesaver on a hot day. And delicious. Not overly sweet, but just enough to freshen and tempt the taste buds.
* Sweet Corn Tamales – Creamy and sweet.
* Raw Quail Egg, Fish Roe and Oyster Shooter – Served in martini glass that rested on a table made out of ice. Accompanied by sake that was shot out of an ice horse. Dramatic — and the food was good, too!
* Testarossa Pinot Noir 2007 – Floral, silky, red cherry and Santa Rosa plums. Mmmmm.
* Chiles En Nogada – One of my favorite dishes from Morales, Mexico. Roasted, stuffed chiles poblanos smothered in a walnut sauce topped with pomegranate seeds.
I’m sure there were many other standouts, but either we were absolutely stuffed to the brim when we got to them or they reminded me of other dishes. The event was fabulous, if a bit overwhelming. You simply couldn’t try everything without bursting!