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The Best Food & Drink Events in November and December

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival Grand Tasting, Prisoner Wine Dinner, and Kettner Exchange/You & Yours/Catalina Offshore Dinner
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

By Troy Johnson

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival Grand Tasting

Where: Embarcadero Marina Park North, 400 Kettner Boulevard, Downtown

WHEN: November 17, 12 p.m.

The SD Bay Wine and Food is the city’s biggest event of its kind. Many of the top local chefs and sommeliers and drinks people are there, but they also pull impresarios from all over, including James Beard winner and two-star Michelin chef Graham Elliot, cook and author Michael Ruhlman, and others. While they have events all week throughout the city (visit their website for a guide), it culminates in the Grand Tasting, which gathers 60 chefs and restaurants, and 150 wine, beer, and spirits makers on the grassy knoll next to the bay. Every year, a “Chef of the Fest” is named. It’s a hell of a party for the seriously food-and-drink minded.

Cost: $135–$225

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Prisoner Wine Dinner

When: December 13, 6 p.m.

Where: La Valencia Hotel, 1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla

It’s been 18 years since a bottle of red zinfandel blend with a macabre Goya artwork hit the market and blew the doors off the wine world. At the time, vintners were mostly focused on single varietals, and so The Prisoner’s splashy blend was a break from convention. And it looked dark, edgy, disturbing—meaning it stood out among the frilly, cursive-y wine marketing at the time (of course, now we have “Bitch” wines and the like, but trust me, at the time, this was edgy for wine). Founder Dave Phinney sold it to Constellation Brands in 2016, but it’s still a world-beater. This wine dinner will be five courses: scallop with hazelnut XO sauce and mandarin shellfish consommé (pairing, 2016 “Blind Fold” white blend); poached king crab leg with dragon fruit, apple, and winter pear (pairing, “The Snitch” chardonnay, 2016); oxtail and mascarpone agnolotti with butternut puree, pomegranate and red mustard frill (pairing, “The Prisoner” red blend, 2016); whole roasted prime beef tenderloin with porcini cream (pairing, “Cuttings” cabernet sauvignon, 2016); and crème fraîche crémeux with citrus beet puree, spiced almond, black pepper sponge, and manuka honey chunk (pairing, “Saldo” zinfandel, 2016).

Cost: $125

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Kettner Exchange/You & Yours/Catalina Offshore Dinner

Where: You & Yours Distilling Co. Tasting Room, 1495 G Street, Downtown

WHEN: November 29, 6:30 p.m.

You & Yours is one of San Diego’s better distilleries—the first female-owned distillery in Southern California, under the guidance of Laura Johnson. Brian Redzikowski is one of San Diego’s top chefs; he went from Cirque to Nobu to Joël Robuchon to Kettner Exchange in Little Italy. And Catalina Offshore is one of the most sustainable, top-quality seafood distributors in the country. Put all three of those together for this five-course pop-up dinner and it’s hard to go wrong. Redzikowski will use the top catch from Catalina’s fishmonger, Tommy Gomes (who will be on hand to educate diners about the fish served), paired with cocktails featuring vodkas and gins from You & Yours.

Cost: $90

More info

The Best Food & Drink Events in November and December

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival | Photo by Joey Hernandez Photography

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