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Monday, June 13, 2016

Foodie Fest Encinitas celebrated sustainability with coastal farm freshness



After a beautiful breakfast at The Kate Stanton Inn and a bit of relaxation, it was time to head down to the waterfront for Foodie Fest Encinitas. The event was held in The Lumberyard Center’s parking lot. Vendor tents from local restaurants, bakeries, chocolatiers, and other artisans lined the lot like a maze. Although in this maze, you are rewarded at each stop with delicious bites.

Frazier Farms served up Carrots al Pastor (roasted carrots marinated in an achiote paste, guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, pineapple, herbs, and spices), Frazier Farms Fresh House Hummus (topped with cilantro), El Nopalito tortilla chips, Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars, Pecan Bars, Trail Chew Bars, Smoked Chipotle Butterscotch Cheesecake, Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake, and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. Special recognition needs to be given to the Trail Chew Bars. They are amazing! These would be fabulous on a long hike to give you yummy calories for the workout. The Smoked Chipotle Butterscotch Cheesecake was also great! It had a slightly spicy touch which worked quite well with the creamy cheesecake. Rating: 5/5

The Flying Pig offered kielbasa with cherry and marjoram served on a toasted crostini topped with a cherry beer mustard and micro-radish greens. This housemade sausage is fantastic! Just the right size grind with a great mixture of spices. This would be great inside a sandwich! Rating: 5/5

Bistro West served up Soy-ginger marinated Pacific ahi cubes with seaweed, heirloom tomato, furikake “granola”, mango tajin sorbetto, and West Farm microgreens. Although it looks like poke (and was described verbally as poke), it is a play on their best-selling ahi tartare dish at the restaurant. It definitely has a Southern California coastal flare from its use of the seaweed and mango tajin flavors. The ahi itself was succulent and full of flavor. Although the mango sorbetto was a little too sweet, the presentation and creativity were phenomenal. Rating: 4/5

Barrel Republic served up house smoked salmon (2-day cure in sea salt brown sugar before being smoked) atop a housemade seaweed cracker with dill and red onion cream cheese and garnished with caper gremolada. This is one of the best cured, smoked salmon you’ll ever have. It was succulent and had just the right balance of sweet, salt, and smoke. This would be great on top of an “everything” bagel toasted along with that dill red onion cream cheese! Rating: 5/5

Wrench and the Rodent Seabasstro-Pub served up seared albacore with Cyclops Farms strawberry BBQ sauce and frilly mustard greens. The albacore needed some added seasoning to balance the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. But kudos for presentation! Rating: 4/5

Panca Peruvian Rotisserie served up Peruvian Shrimp Chowder with corn, panca chile, potatoes, peas, cheese, and rice. OMG! This was muy delicioso! The shrimp was perfectly cooked and the flavors of the chile along with the sweet corn and peas made a very well-balanced dish. Rating: 5/5

Sadie Rose Baking Co. is a San Diego stable. Most of the restaurants locally source their bread from Sadie Rose. If you’re at a festival in San Diego, you will definitely see an array of their freshly baked bread on display. A favorite is their pretzel bread with its beautiful glaze and chewy interior. Rating: 5/5

The Craftsman offered Blue Ribbon Butterscotch Pudding with sea salt and topped with whipped cream. OMG! It tastes just like salted caramels! This little bite of heaven was a welcome respite from all the savory tastings. Rating: 5/5

The Cork and Craft served up Steamed Bao Buns with pork belly, cucumber, and hoisin. The pork belly needed to cook a little longer as it did not quite get to that “melts like butter” texture. The addition of crushed peanuts would be a nice textural element. Rating: 4/5

Fishbone Kitchen served up fresh stone crab. Plated like an hors d’oeuvre, they created a solitary bite that centered entirely on the sweet meat of the stone crab. Very simple, but oh so delicious! Rating: 4.5/5

Priority Public House served up Turkey Meatballs with pickled jalapeno and lemon grass/soy glaze; Pickled beets, fennel, and pickles; and Kale Salad with citrus segments, shaved fennel, and grilled citrus vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar from Baker & Olive and kale from Coastal Roots Farm. You can tell this restaurant loves its community and local farms and purveyors. Everything tastes fresh. Eating the three samples together gave you the balance of bitter, sweet, sour, and savory. Rating: 4/5

Casa del Q’ero served up Adobo de Chancho – tender morsels of pork marinated in Peruvian chilies and chichi de jora beer, braised until fork tender, and served over sweet potatoes with sauteed swiss chard along with fried corn and plantains. This spicy little number had great flavor too. It paired perfectly with the pork and the fried corn and plantains were fantastic! Rating: 4.5/5

Gourmet Culinary had quite a number of products for sampling like Zoe’s Meats / The Salami Store, Olli, and Vella Cheese Co. Great salamis and cheeses for the skewering. The Jalapeno Salami from The Salami Store was fantastic! There are spicy notes from the jalapeno, but the rich salami flavor still breaks through to shine in all its meaty glory. What’s better than cheese and cured meats? Rating: 5/5

Local Tap House & Kitchen served up deviled eggs with ponzu, caviar, sriracha aioli, and bacon. Deviled eggs are sometimes like a drug and you just can’t get enough of them. LTH really knows how to do them with the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors with a luscious, creamy texture. So be careful. You might just get hooked. Rating: 5/5

MotoDeli served up their Banh Motto with pork belly, cinnamon pate, house ham, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, and Moto Spread atop a torpedo roll. The MotoDeli version of a banh mi is simply delicious! At the event, the aroma drew you right to the booth with pork belly sizzling on a flattop grill. The pork belly had nice texture from crispy exterior to a tender pork interior. The vinegary, spicy, and refreshing flavors of the veggies paired well with the salty, fatty pork belly. Rating: 5/5

Yelp! San Diego was also in the house with schwag galore and The Foto Box (always a favorite) to capture your memories of the event. Love these folks!

Jake’s Del Mar served up a hamachi crudo made with yuzu dashi, marinated cherry tomatoes, and kimchi cucumber. It has the flavor of Asian-inspired ceviche from the acidity from the yuzu and kimchi. It was a refreshing bite, but the hamachi was unfortunately masked by the other ingredients. Rating: 4/5

Chandler’s at Cape Rey Carlsbad served up Local Ceviche + Chamomile with halibut, prawns, bay scallop, cucumber, hearts of palm, red onion, lime, sweet peppers, and white corn tortilla chips. It was beautifully presented like a piece of fine art. The ceviche was perfect; not too sour, not too citrusy. Chandler’s really hit the sweet spot which allowed the fresh seafood to shine through. Rating: 5/5

Angel’s Salumi & Truffles served up a variety of cured meats. Some favorites are Black Truffle, Venison Berkshire, Wild Boar, and Duck salamis. They all had great texture. Each meat excelled in its own way through with its own unique flavors by concentrating the gaminess of the meats with just the right balance of fat that melted like butter once it hit the palate. Rating: 5/5

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum served up Fried Brussels Sprouts with pork belly, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and maple syrup. Another great mix of flavors (albeit unusual) in one bite – sweet, salty, nutty, and tart. Would love to try this in the full starter format. Rating: 5/5 Congrats to Chef Gregory Krol for his Best of the Fest Competition Grand Prize Win!

If you enjoyed what you saw here, keep an eye out for the next Foodie Fest Oceanside in 2017.

For more information:
Foodie Fest Encinitas

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