By Frank Sabatini Jr.
One of our city’s most cosmopolitan culinary events is at SeaWorld, where its annual Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival has grown to include 127 beer options from 25 breweries, and more than 50 dishes representing eight world regions.
Now in its fifth year, the festival will run every Saturday and Sunday for eight consecutive weekends, from March 9 through April 28. The park’s executive chef, Dave McHugh, is presenting 33 new food items to the lineup. They include French-inspired escargot pistolet rolls; sumac-rubbed Angus kebabs from the Mediterranean station; crab causa salad of South American origin; and exotically spiced dishes in a debut section named “flavors of India.” Scattered throughout the park, each global food area will spotlight four different dishes served in appetizer portions.
“The event utilizes all the tools in my tool box,” said McHugh, who took over the executive chef position at SeaWorld San Diego in July after working in the same capacity for seven years at San Diego State University. He is also a culinary instructor at Grossmont College.
“I want to make sure that every dish is accurate and authentic and made with handmade techniques. We have more than 100 production staff helping to execute the event.”
Admission to the festival is included with park admission. Once inside, guests can purchase dishes a la carte, which range from $5 to $6.50 each. Or they can buy “taster sampler” cards that feature 10 items for $50 or 15 items for $65. The cards also apply to beer and wine samples. 500 SeaWorld Drive, 619-222-4732, seaworldsandiego.com.
Billed as “an elevated brew pub serving American comfort food,” the new Owl Drug Co. Social Eating House in Downtown’s Core-Columbia district recently opened within a 1908 structure known as the Colonel Fletcher Building. It occupies the first floor, which was once home to the Owl Drug Company, bowling lanes and a cafe. Most recently, it housed the short-lived Bell Marker Brewery.
Now under different ownership, it operates as a 15-barrel brew house amid 20-foot-tall ceilings, a cocktail bar and a lunch-dinner menu that includes pizzas and hot sandwiches. It also offers karaoke on Friday and Saturday evenings. 602 Broadway St., 619-756-7598, owldrugco.com.
As of late February, the long-established Lou & Mickey’s in the Gaslamp Quarter began dry-aging various cuts of beef in a newly constructed temperature-controlled room within the restaurant. It also recently hired in-house butchers to cut and trim the various cuts of beef, which originate from the Okanagan region of Washington state. The steaks are available at three different dry-aged levels: 30, 45 and 60 days. 224 Fifth Ave., 619-237-4900, louandmickeys.com.
The newish Little Italy Food Hall will see its first vendor replacement this month in the wake of Single Fin Kitchen’s exit from the original tenant lineup. It will be replaced by Bobboi Natural Gelato, a gelateria from La Jolla that uses locally sourced organic ingredients for its seasonal sorbets and gelato.
Single Fin’s chef/owner Antonio Quindere told San Diego Downtown News that he left the food hall because of high rent and lack of consumer flow.
“It wasn’t what we were expecting, but it gave us good exposure, so we’ll try to find a new spot soon — maybe in coastal North County, Hillcrest or North Park,” he added.
In the meantime, Bobboi’s ever-changing flavor options will keep food hall patrons sated with flavors that include chocolate chip-matcha tea; rosewater with honey; pistachio; dark chocolate and more. 550 W. Date St., 619-269-7187, bobboi.com.
More than 100 of San Diego’s homegrown craft breweries will be pouring their latest and greatest suds at the fifth annual Best Coast Beer Fest.
The event takes place from noon to 4 p.m., March 9, on the grassy lawns of Embarcadero Marina Park South. Food trucks and local entertainment will also be available. General admission is $55 (before March 8) and $60 the day of the event. 200 Marina Park Way; bestcoastbeerfest.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.