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The Best Food and Drink Events in February

Ocean-friendly Restaurant Week, Chef's Table Dinner at Tahona, and Gold Medal Wine Celebration Dinner
Justin McChesney-Wachs

Ocean-Friendly Restaurant Week

When: Feb. 17-24

Where: All over San Diego

You don’t have to be a crusader to acknowledge there are some fairly massive issues in our oceans right now. The science is resounding and clear. The biggest issue is micro-plastics leeching into every level of the food chain (scientists have referred to the oceans as “plastic soup”). And the way we as diners can enact change is with our wallets, supporting restaurants that are making a concerted effort to reduce plastic usage. And Surfrider’s list of “Ocean Friendly Restaurants” is a good resource for that. For restaurants to be included on the list, they have to ditch Styrofoam and plastic bags, prove proper recycling, provide only reusable foodware for onsite dining, and only serve plastic to-go utensils and paper straws on request, plus meet other criteria. During their “Restaurant Week,” is a good way to highlight those restaurants making an effort. Mention “Ocean Friendly Restaurant Week” and 10 percent of the sale will go toward supporting Surfrider. Surfrider and local operators are putting in real effort to keep our oceans from becoming more of a trash bin, and supporting them in that is the kind of decision making we need to start making in the restaurant scene


Cost: N/A


Chef’s Table Dinner

WHEN: Feb. 27, 7-9PM

WHERE: Tahona, 2414 San Diego Ave, Old Town

In my review of Tahona last year, I may have come in a little hot against San Diego’s Old Town. People like Diane Powers and others have worked for decades to keep that part of the city vital, and deserve due credit. I just love the city, you see. And I want one of the hearts of our Mexican heritage to not be limited to only 30-gallon margaritas and mariachi bands. And Tahona is one of my favorite additions to the area precisely because it’s not that; it’s a modern, sophisticated Mexican restaurant with one of the best mezcal tasting rooms in the country (over 140 different bottles). For this dinner, they’re inviting local chef Sergio Garcia Manriquez of Chicano Soul Food to cook some of his specialties, focusing on the Michoacán region. And there will be mezcal, of course. 

Cost: $100


Gold Medal Wine Celebration Dinner

When: Feb. 22, 6:30PM-9PM

Where: Gianni Buonomo Vintners, 4836 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach

I still remember the shock. I’d seen this little urban winery open up in Ocean Beach. The logo had a fedora, which didn’t seem terribly promising. I figured I’d taste a glass, shrug, check the box and—wow. The wine Keith Rolle makes is deep, complex, balanced, delicious. Now the awards are piling up, unsurprisingly. GB won two gold medals in this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition in the world with over 7,000 entries. Their 2015 Barbera and 2015 Avennio took home the medals and they’ll be sold to drink along with a three-course dinner at the celebration from chef Max Farina (Zafferano Catering). Meal includes a caponata con burrata (eggplant, tomato sauce, Kalamata olives, capers, onions, fresh burrata), polenta e maiale (fennel sausage ragù made with pork shoulder and belly), and cassata Siciliana (traditional Sicilian cake with ricotta cream, chocolate chips, and marzipan). It’s no longer a shock, but if you haven’t given their wines a try, it’s overdue. 

Cost: $55 ($45 for wine club members)


Justin McChesney-Wachs

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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