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SD Magazine Best of San Diego Party -- surprising best and worst foods

CTDub Aug 22, 2010 07:36 PM

If you went to San Diego Magazine's "best of" party last week at Liberty Station, what did you think were the best and worst food samples there?

I don't envy the restaurants (or staff) doing it -- feeding thousands of people a bite sized portion of something with limited cooking space, and presumably without getting paid for it other than in PR. But it's interesting to see which ones do it well and which ones failed.

Not to focus on the negatives, but my friends and I were a little shocked by who was behind what we thought were the two worst dishes of the night:

Tomato gazpacho -- acidic, unpleasant, and made you look for something to get that taste out of your mouth, made by....Kitchen 1540!

Shrimp with candied ginger -- overpowering ginger that tasted like sickly sweet ginger marmalade, made by....Addison!

We really like those restaurants so it's surprising to see them fall so flat.

Our favorite dishes:

Organic heirloom tomato gazpacho -- maybe not a total standout by itself, but fresh, clean, tasty, and embarrassed the Kitchen 1540 dish 50 feet away, made by....JSix.

Carnitas, made by....Maria Maria

BBQ ribs, made by....Phils

Anyone else go?

  1. Fake Name Aug 24, 2010 08:16 AM

    At the Eat,Drink,Read benefit for the San Diego Council on Literacy, we specifically limited the number of invitations just for that reason. We invited the best places, and made sure our guests did not have the same experience you did.

    We'll be running it again- keep an eye out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fake Name
      SDGourmand Aug 24, 2010 08:32 AM

      That's the way to do it. You have to limit the tickets. I wasn't speaking of the San Diego event that the OP went to just my experience in these types of events. The ones I went too were Vegas uncorked grand tasting and american wine and food festival at the universal backlot.

      1. re: SDGourmand
        littlestevie Aug 24, 2010 10:42 AM

        I will just mention the Celebrate the Craft at the Lodge at TP will be held this year in Oct. 31st. Of all these type of events this really is the best one I have been too. However, it can get hot out on the croquet lawn where they hold it. They do have a website, sorry I am crummy with links. Celebrate the Craft is the website and when you go to it, you can see they really get a who's who of SD chefs.

        1. re: littlestevie
          FireFlyFiftyFive Aug 24, 2010 12:11 PM

          Oh! Halloween! I like it! Looks like costumes (while not quite required) are highly suggested! ;)

    2. j
      juantanamera Aug 24, 2010 12:18 AM

      Considering the length of the lines I encountered, I'm surprised anyone had the patience to sample as many dishes as you did!
      In my opinion, the ratio of exhibitors to tickets sold was shameful; I certainly wouldn't buy a ticket next year.

      2 Replies
      1. re: juantanamera
        SDGourmand Aug 24, 2010 07:57 AM

        It seems it's like that in all these multi station tastings. The idea of them is great till you get there and there is a mess of people everywhere, bumping into you, spilling wine, not a fun atmosphere for me anyway. That's unfortunate that two of the best restaurants didn't execute properly.

        1. re: SDGourmand
          CTDub Aug 25, 2010 09:25 AM

          I agree, I wouldn't go again. It felt like a bit of a cattle call. Our tickets were $25, and I think we got our money's worth in the end, but if I paid $50 at the door I would have been upset. And we all agreed we'd have actually preferred to pay more and get more.

          I still think it's a fascinating scene, both because of the crowd (some people dressed way up hoping this would be a classy party, the stilt walkers were frantic and inspired a new fear of clowns, and yet overall it was really a food court atmosphere) and the food challenges (if you were a restaurant, what would you choose to serve to thousands of people, and why did I suddenly think that Phil's BBQ was seriously the best thing ever...?).

          Celebrate the Craft looks amazing. But on Halloween, really?

          Phil's BBQ
          3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

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