seattle: my kind of town

Fearless readers, postings have been slow around A Fine Kettle of Ish lately, I know. For me, summer in San Diego means beautiful weather and all the delights therein: gardening, grilling, late night picnics, cold beer on sunny patios (heck, cold beer on dark patios). In short, “so much to eat, so little time to blog.”

One of the things holding my attention lately was a trip north to Seattle. Home to a city of food and drink enthusiasts, i’s a fantastic destination for anyone passionate about craft beer, local food, and painstakingly researched cocktails. If you haven’t been to Seattle, or haven’t been lately, now’s the time to plan a trip: summer in Seattle offers an occasional respite from the rain and clouds, and non-stop flights from San Diego can be found for around $200.

My whirlwind trip covered all the food and cocktails I could squeeze into three days – here are a few highlights and lowlights:

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get on your eating pants, people

Hope you all enjoyed a relaxing Memorial Day weekend, because the season for food & drink events in San Diego is upon us!  The next six months are already chock full of fun things to do, from the San Diego Spirits FestivalInternational Beer Festival, and San Diego Festival of Beer, to CityFest, San Diego Restaurant Week, and the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, with more great events on the way. 

“But Ish!” (I hear you ask)  “Where can I go to find out more about fabulous San Diego food events?”   “What if I’m planning a trip and lack Googling ch’i?” Fear not, readers – just go to our Food Events page for regular event roundups plus calendars of major events in San Diego and beyond! 

event roundup (memorial weekend edition)

saturday, may 28

9am-11pm.  Get a cultural start to the weekend at this year’s Lebanese Festival!  This three day festival includes Lebanese food (kebbeh, tabbouleh, hummus, grape leaves, kafta), musicians, and cultural performances, including dabke (literally “stamping of the feet” in Arabic), an extremely popular folk dance performed at weddings and other celebrations.  Complete festival schedule and list of vendors/performers at

10am-7pm.  The Santee Street Fair gives you another reason to venture east with over 300 vendors, plus rides, music, and wine & beer garden.

If you were one of the many that missed out on this morning’s Veritas 009 release at The Lost Abbey, why not console yourself at Vintage Bottle Weekend at O’Brien’s Pub?  Event includes limited vertical flights, including a 7 year vertical of Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2004-2010), a 4 year vertical of Unibroue’s anniversary ales, and vintage bottles such as 2008 North Coast Old Stock Ale, 2008 Rodenbach Vintage, and 2009 Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme.

sunday, may 29

10am-5pm.  Celebrate the 31st Ethnic Food Fair at Balboa Park’s House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.  Event features food for sale from over 32 nations, as well as ethnic music and dance, costume, and cultural presentations.  Click here for a complete list of entertainment, participating groups, and food for sale, and someone please save me some alfajores.  And, okay, some varenyky and galabki while you’re at it.   

If you happen to find yourself in North County instead (or just fear the crowds at Balboa Park), head over to the Strawberry Festival in Vista and celebrate all things strawberry from 9am-4pm with music, costume and pie-eating contests, vendors, food, dance, art, fashion shows and more.  Once you’ve had your fill of strawberries, swing by Green Flash Brewery’s Vista location and say goodbye to the old brewery at their Relocation/Customer Appreciation Party from noon to 4pm.  Enjoy complimentary food, prizes and beer as the company looks forward to the opening of their new Mira Mesa location next week.

monday, may 30

This Monday is Memorial Day, a day we pause to remember all those who have gone before, particularly those who have given their lives in armed service to the United States.   Several memorial events are scheduled throughout San Diego County; you may notice that the flag is lowered to half mast, but only from dawn until noon.  “The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.  At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.”   At 3pm local time, a national moment of silence is observed throughout the country. 

Why not celebrate Memorial Day this year by challenging yourself to at least one day of volunteerism in support of service personnel, including the more than 40,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan?  The United States Department of Veterans Affairs offers several programs to donate or volunteer, including supporting President Barack Obama’s United We Serve initiative, or check out these other great ways to help:

  • Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm’s way.
  • Freedom is Not Free is dedicated to assisting wounded service members and their families, and the families of the fallen.
  • Operation Stand Down brings homeless veterans together in a single location and provides them access to community resources to begin addressing their individual problems and rebuilding their lives.  Veterans Village San Diego is currently recruiting volunteers for Operation Stand Down San Diego on July 15, 2011 to support the more than 2,000 homeless military veterans in San Diego County.

If other eyes grow dull and other hinds slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us. Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation’s gratitude—the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.” 

– John Alexander Logan, May 5th 1868 

so what’s happenin’, mama? (10 feb)

thursday, february 10

6pm – 10pm.  Valentines gift bazaar at El Take It Easy.  Free tosti locos and all night happy hour – eat and drink while supporting local businesses by buying crafty gifts for your sweetie!

friday, february 11

10am – 1pm.  Alchemy of the Hearth presents “Start a Food-Based Business.”  $65. 

saturday, february 12

11am – 4pm.  Six contestants compete in a live cooking challenge for a spot as an instructor at Great News! Cooking School.  $10.

12pm-5pm.  Pizza Port Carlsbad Brewbies Festival!  20 local handcrafted beers plus a special edition Pizza Port pink beer. 100% of the proceeds go directly to Keep a Breast to support their efforts to increase breast cancer awareness among young people.

1pm-5pm.  For the Love of Chocolate.  Downtown Escondido festival will include vendors, chocolate pairings by local breweries and wineries, champagne garden with live music, and beer & wine bar.  Tasting tickets are $20 for 10 tastes.

sunday, february 13

10am – 5pm.  Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with San Diego Chinese Historical Society & Museum in downtown San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District.   Why not make a day of it and also hit up the Third Ave Certified Farmers’ Market and Asian Bazaar between Island Avenue and J Street from 9am to 1pm?   Check out the San Diego Farm Bureau for a complete daily listing of farmers’ markets around town.

monday, february 14

Well, it’s Valentines’ Day.  Seriously, this is a made up holiday and all the restaurants will be slammed, which means your food will cost more, take longer, and not be as good as it usually is.  This is not romantic.  Do yourself and your sweetie a favor and make a romantic dinner at home tonight.  Not sure what to make?  All thumbs and no knife skills?  Check out tomorrow’s post for a no-fail, super easy, romantic dinner roadmap!

No sweetie?  No problem!  Make a beeline for Proper Gastropub’sAnti-Valentine’s Day” Party starting at 4pm and enjoy their specially priced “Kiss-Off!” cocktail list.  Dress in black or bring a pic of your former flame and get a Screw U Driver off the special cocktail menu for just $1 (and isn’t that cheaper than therapy?). 

tuesday, february 15

730pm – 8pm.  Stop by O’Brien’s Pub and catch Three Sheets with Zane Lamprey, a half hour tv show featuring drinks and drinking customs around the world.  If you’re lucky, they’ll have some Dogfish Head left over from this week’s Dogfish Head night!

 wednesday, february 16

7pm – 11pm.  It’s DRINKABOUT time!  Hop on the free bus and do a loop of some of the best craft beer bars in San Diego (or beyond!) with stops at the Blind Lady Ale House, Small Bar, Live Wire, Toronado, Hamilton’s and more.  Complete schedule and map here.

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