Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos courtesy of Eat Drink SF
If you know anything about me, I love a great food festival. And living in San Francisco lends itself to some amazing festivals and award-winning restaurants — just a short bus ride away. I first found out about Eat Drink SF on Instagram and little did I know that they were the brains behind one of the City’s best food, wine and spirits festival.
In its seventh year, Eat Drink SF offers four days (from August 20-23) of food and booze filled events, competitions, private parties and more. This year will be the second time the main Grand Tasting event convenes at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, with smaller events taking place across the City.
I’ll be at the Saturday afternoon and evening Grand Tasting events this weekend so stay tuned for photos on our social media pages. (And yes, I’m fasting now so that I can completely indulge this weekend.) With more than 30 different restaurants at each event and 70+ wines, beers and cocktails, I’m in for it.
Celebrity chefs will be demoing and emceeing and there’s a huge list of restaurants that I’ve been meaning to try offering some of their best nibbles. I’m especially salivating over tastings offered by restaurants like Bon Marché Brasserie & Bar, Huxley, Gaspar Brasserie, Gitane, ICHI Sushi, La Mar Cebicheria, Nick’s Cove, Palm House, Slanted Door, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Twenty Five Lusk, Park Tavern and Zero Zero.
The Wander crew is happy to announce our first giveaway!
Congratulations to Tiffany A, who has been selected as our winner! We hope you enjoy yourself this Saturday!
Don’t fret if you weren’t chosen; there is still plenty of time to buy tickets to the event at https://ticketsauce.com/e/uncasked15. The event is expected to sell out again this year, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended. Each $20 ticket includes a branded tasting mug, 10 tickets for pours, unlimited food and beach games.
We are teaming up with Bay Bird Inc. to give away a pair of passes to Westfield UTC’s 2ndUncasked event coming up on Saturday,August 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Westfield UTC (4545 La Jolla Village Drive).
If you’re looking for an amazing opportunity to enjoy the great San Diego backdrop, combining Westfield UTC’s beautiful outdoor setting with San Diego’s favorite craft breweries, including Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Rough Draft Brewing Company, Groundswell Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company & Mother Earth Brew Co., then this is the contest for you!
Guests can try ten local brews while sampling unlimited bites from some of Westfield UTC’s favorite restaurants, including fresh California cuisine from Lemonade, savory grill items from Seasons 52 and comfort food from Tender Greens. To round out the afternoon’s festivities, guests will enjoy live music from Casey Turner and Nathan and Jessie, plus play fun beach games while they sip their suds.
Comment with your name and the name of your favorite local brew by 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Check our Facebook page at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 18.
If you want to guarantee that you get to go to Uncasked, tickets can be purchased at: https://ticketsauce.com/e/uncasked15. The event is expected to sell out again this year, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended. Each $20 ticket includes a branded tasting mug, 10 tickets for pours, unlimited food and beach games.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from Uncasked will benefit the San Diego Brewers Guild, the local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and increasing visibility of fresh, locally brewed beer. The SDBG is responsible for maintaining San Diego’s reputation as the “Capital of Craft,” and does this through its core annual events and public education. The proceeds from this tournament will help to sustain these initiatives, including San Diego Beer Week, and the Rhythm & Brews Music and Craft Beer Festival.
Anyone who has visited a small coastal California city will likely feel an odd sense of nostalgia when visiting Cambria – narrow streets lined with locally owned antique shops, a sprinkling of ‘for lease’ signs, and a hodgepodge of restaurants offering up everything from Mexican to Italian.
Though bite-size, Cambria is the perfect counterpart to any hectic city lifestyle. Don’t worry about packing the latest fashion trends for your evening outing, making an endless stream of reservations, or book excursion after excursion. Cambria’s appeal is the anti-city where long afternoons spent watching 5,000-pound elephant seals or strolling along Moonstone Beach make you forget about “FOMO” (at least for the weekend).
We escaped for a getaway that began at El Colibri Hotel, a contrast of sorts from the traditional beach motels or bed & breakfasts that line Main Street. Despite its youth (the hotel opened in 2010), El Colibri delivers comfort with in-room fireplaces, a luxurious spa complete with Jacuzzi tub, and educated staff that make it feel right at home in this rustic town.
WHERE TO EAT
Quintessentially small town appeal is the bread and butter at Linn’s, or rather the olallieberry at Linn’s. This mogul family owns much of the West Side in the shape of various restaurants, gift shops and packaged goods. Linn’s Easy as Pie, Linn’s Restaurant and Linn’s Fruit Bin are all equally comfortable in setting as they are hearty in country samplings. As cliché as it might seem, no one here will bat an eye – order up an olallieberry pie, warmed, or a breakfast pastry to savor the sweet local flavors of Cambria.
For any San Franciscan, finding an outdoor space is an anomaly, In Cambria, Main Street is lined with patio after patio, but Indigo Moon isn’t just packed because of its tree-lined deck and star-filled views. The food or is equally as spectacular for both lunch and dinner (plus weekend brunch), with hearty portions and favorable pricing. Highlights from brunch included the eggs benedict, grilled chicken, brie and apple sandwich, and spice rubbed wild salmon salad.
Robin’s is the Ritz Carlton of Cambria. Precocious (but not too pricey), Robin’s Restaurant offers unique cuisine in a fantastic setting. A landscaped deck offers prime outdoor seating for brunch, lunch, and dinner and the eclectic menu caters to every taste bud in your party. Don’t be concerned about sharing a pasta special, Thai noodles or a curry alongside artisan cheese plates or spring rolls – the flavor combinations are always on point.
WHAT TO DO
Upon arrival, kick off your shoes and take advantage of your proximity to Moonstone Beach Boardwalk where locals typically enjoy sunset. The rocky beach is breezy and warm, and the perfect welcome to your Cambria stay.
Cambria often gets overlooked. Its seaside neighbor, San Simeon, boasts one of the world’s largest estates in the States. Hearst Castle is a short drive away and well worth the visit. Book your tickets for a Sunday morning Grand Rooms Tour (extend your stay with a Cottages & Kitchen Tour) and forget the crowds or lines.
As your bus tour winds down the road back to ground level, keep an eye out for Piedras Blancas Light Station, your next destination. Reserve a tour and escape into history alongside the rocky shores.
While you’re in San Simeon, stop at the vistas to view the elephant seals where, depending on the season, hundreds or thousands of elephant seals bask in the warm sand and sunshine of W R Hearst Memorial State Beach.
If you’re ready for an unusual encounter that’s been marked as a historical landmark, escape to the Nitt Witt Ridge – a collectors obsessed-turned museum that offers daily tours. After your experience, sample the day’s tastings from local brewery Cambria Beer Co. (open daily).
WHERE TO SHOP
Garden Shed is an oasis within walking distance of downtown, offering an eclectic collection from local artisans. With DIY in their blood, everything in the 6,000 sq. ft. indoor/outdoor space is appealing in their unique displays, friendly faces and original collections. Peruse for the afternoon, or if you’ve got a green thumb and ample outdoor space, find something for the garden.
Wineries are ingrained in any city dweller escape, and Cambria offers a great selection of local vineyards offering weekend tastings on State Route 46.
Local favorite is Stolo Family Vineyards, located just off the beaten path. The Stolo family lives on the property where their 94-point Syrah was created, as well as refreshing and ceremoniously scrumptious Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. The $8 tasting fee is a steal compared to any Napa getaway, and bottles ranging from $25 to $50 are a must, as they can’t be purchased anywhere else.
Thank you again to El Colibri Hotel for hosting us and Archer and Hound for setting up our destinations. Feel free to check out more things to do at Visit Cambria.
Calistoga and Saint Helena: Sun, local food and wine at your fingertips
Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez
After more than five months in the City, I’m starting to finally feel like I have a handle of the neighborhoods, my commute and my watering holes. But like any other restless traveler, I’m constantly looking elsewhere to explore. After my first trip to Napa Valley a couple months ago, I was long overdue for some wine tasting, farm-to-table eating and legit wine country sun. Thankfully a trip to Calistoga was just what the doctor ordered.
I always get a little giddy when I’m one of the first people to experience a new boutique hotel, taste a vintage wine straight out of the barrel, or get a sneak peek at a music festival’s lineup. But nothing gets me going more than dining at a new restaurant in town and meeting all of the wonderful people behind a soon-to-be burgeoning business. I had the absolute pleasure of dining at Valette, Healdsburg’s newest restaurant, which opened in March 2015. These guys are definitely going to make waves in the neighborhood.
Envisioned by brothers, locals Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini, the duo wanted to create a restaurant inspired by Sonoma County’s food, wine and deeply-rooted passion. Executive Chef Dustin is at the helm of the beautiful, open kitchen while Aaron mans the front of the house while offering wonderful service. (We’re talking hugs and kisses to frequent guests, asking where diners are visiting from and treating everyone like family. You rarely see this kind of service in the City, that’s for sure.) The service is authentic and every server, runner and person on the dining room floor will go out of their way to take care of you, yet stay out of your way when necessary. It’s a beautiful culinary dance to be a part of if you’re lucky enough to find it. Read more