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FOODfare: Breast Cancer Hits Home At The High Dive

Chicks for Beer at The High Dive.
Courtesy photo

I first met Ingrid Qua six weeks ago at a San Diego Brewers Guild meeting. We got to talking about our mutual affinity for craft beer, and our shared respect for local brewers. It became instantly clear that she was my kinda people.

I visited her at The High Dive, which she and her husband own, and recently converted to a bar specializing in local craft beer. Over the course of our dialog, it became clear to me what a special, driven and altogether likeable person Qua is. Her positive spirit is positively infectious.

Days after our gab session, I heard Qua had been diagnosed with an aggressive breed of breast cancer that required her to undergo a mastectomy. I immediately reached out to offer support. Instead of finding a broken, defeated victim, I was happily surprised to discover an even feistier woman on the other end of the line, sharing plans to not only overcome her affliction, but help others do so by using her business and her savvy to make a difference.

She finds it quite the coincidence that she should be going through her ordeal during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, from 2 to 11 p.m. on October 19 (the day before she begins chemotherapy), Qua and her previously purely recreational Chicks For Beer club will be holding a fundraiser at The High Dive.

For $20 (plus any additional contributions) event-goers get two pints of craft beer in a commemorative pint glass. T-shirts will also be on sale and proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

A special collaboration beer brewed by Ballast Point Brewing Company and Coronado Brewing Company will be made in honor of Qua and others battling breast cancer. A Belgian amber ale brewed with cocoa nibs, orange and a hint of ginger, the beer will debut at the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival at Liberty Stations NTC Promenade on November 6, and will be available at a special San Diego Beer Week event at The High Tide on November 10. Proceeds from sales of the beer will be funneled directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The High Dive, 1801 Morena Boulevard, Bay Park, 619-275-0460

Going Toque to Toque

Chefs are, by nature, competitive. Many put on their best poker face and pretend it doesn’t matter who makes the best insert-dish-here, but none will deny that the only thing that tastes better than a perfectly seasoned slab of foie gras is the sweet taste of victory and knowing your cuisine reigns supreme.

Enter Chef Showdown, an annual fundraiser benefitting the Center for Community Solutions’ efforts against domestic violence, where two sextets of local chefs battle head-to-head Iron Chef-style while gads of foodie spectators marvel at their skill and spontaneity (and gorge on food and drink from dozens of local eateries). This year’s competition will take place at the NTC Promenade at Liberty Station and include gastronomic gladiators from Busalacchi’s, Cucina Urbana, El Vitral, Mistral and other local restaurants.

Even though it’s for charity, these are big-time bragging rights that mean a lot to the competitors. In the fourth year of this running battle, Chef Amy DiBiase, then of Roseville, was on the losing end and was so ticked about it that she took the role of captain the following year, won, then proudly and prominently displayed her gold-plated trophy from year five’s melee at her restaurant. This year, she’ll be wearing a different chef’s coat (from The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant), but that competitive fire will surely burn just as brightly. Tickets for Chef Showdown are $125 apiece and the event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on October 21.

2801 Rosecrans Street, Liberty Station, 619-573-9260

That’s Using Your Noodle

Staying in business for a quarter of a century is certainly worthy of a mention, but remaining a thriving and much adored spot for authentic Thai cuisine…now that’s worthy of (in keeping with the competitive theme of this week’s FOODfare) a food fight. So, on October 18, Saffron owner, chef and cookbook author Su-Mei Yu will put one of her greatest recipes up against the best chefs Ricardo Heredia (Alchemy) and Craig Jimenez (Craft and Commerce) can muster at a Pad Thai Throwdown, which will take place at the restaurant and will be decided by a judging panel that includes local personalities and food writers. The public is welcomed to join in the fun, which will begin at 6 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for Judges’ Favorite, Audience Favorite and All-Around Winner.

3731 India Street, #B, Five Points, 619-574-7737

Flayed Out

Word must have gotten around about all the dining dueling going on this week. On Saturday, chef Bobby Flay, a combatant on not one, but two Food Network reality competition shows (Iron Chef America, Throwdown with Bobby Flay) is coming to town to meet local fans and sign copies of his brand new cookbook, Bobby Flay’s Throwdown! The superstar chef’s latest instructional tome includes recipes from 50 of the nearly 100 episodes of the program, which is about to enter its eighth season and, in season six, featured an episode in which Flay took on…and lost to…local boy Cesar Gonzalez of Hillcrest’s Mamá Testa Taqueria. The book retails for $27.50 and the signing will take place starting at noon at the Williams-Sonoma store at Fashion Valley Mall.

7007 Friars Road, #583, Mission Valley, 619-295-0510

The new Phil's BBQ.
Courtesy photo

Northern Exposure

San Marcos is about to get a whole lot saucier when one of San Diego’s most patronized (in a good way) businesses, Phil’s BBQ, opens the doors to a new ‘cue venue on October 19. The occasion will be memorialized by a ribbon-cutting courtesy of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce who will then promptly stand aside lest they be trampled by salivating North County carnivores hungry for slow-cooked goodness sans the cross-county commute.

579 Grand Avenue, San Marcos

RIP Zocalo – Viva La Miguel’s

Turns out visitors to Old Town are more interested in Ameri-Mex munchies than a fusion-istic amalgamation of Mexican, Caribbean, Central and South American cuisines. Need proof? Zocalo Grill, a restaurant in Old Town that offered the latter fare has closed, putting an end to what The Brigantine family of restaurants billed as their “tradition-in-the-making.” In its place, The Brig will open a fifth iteration of its highly-successful Miguel’s Cocina concept, which offers standard chips-and-salsa gringo fare that will be right at home on a thoroughfare bustling with out-of-towners looking for an internacional experience that’s just the right amount of adventurous.

2444 San Diego Avenue, Old Town, 619-298-9840