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FOODfare: San Diego Beer Weekend

San Diego Beer Weekend takes place June 10-12 and kicks off with Beer Hall at the Lodge at Torrey Pines
San Diego Beer Weekend takes place June 10-12 and
kicks off with Beer Hall at the Lodge at Torrey Pines
Courtesy Photo


Deck the Hall

Only two years into its tenure, San Diego Beer Week has been such a raging success that it’s hard to envision life before it. November’s 10-day ode to the mother lode of top quality hand-crafted beers native to America’s Finest City has earned backing from the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as the Mayor’s Office. In fact, last week, Mayor Jerry Sanders (who recently tabbed San Diego Brewers Guild President Adam Carbonell to be his official craft beer industry advisor) declared June San Diego Craft Beer Month. This commemoration seems fitting considering that the annual San Diego Beer Week preview event, San Diego Beer Weekend, will take place June 10-12, kicking off with Beer Hall, an event that rivals just about anything that will take place in November. This year’s Beer Hall will once again take place at the iconic Lodge at Torrey Pines and feature beers and representatives from eight San Diego breweries (AleSmith, Ballast Point, Coronado, Green Flash, Karl Strauss, Lightning, Port/The Lost Abbey and Stone) paired with the unique offerings of the culinary minds behind our county’s biggest name craft beer establishments. That list is comprised of Blind Lady Ale House, Churchill’s Pub and Grill, Hamilton’s Tavern/Small Bar, The High Dive, O’Brien’s Pub, Ritual Tavern, Toronado and The Grill at Torrey Pines. Some of the dishes guests can expect are beef cheeks slow-braised in AleSmith Wee Heavy Scottish Ale, Jerked Duck Pate on Brewers Malt biscotti with Green Flash Le Freak onion jam and bread pudding with Ballast Point Rum-soaked raisins, rum caramel sauce and blue cheese crème. Uh, YUM! The event will take place on June 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person and include unlimited food and beer tastings as well as valet parking at The Lodge. 11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, 858.453.4420

Flying High

Over a year after the debut of their cookbook Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World, the chefs that penned it, Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver of La Jolla’s heralded Marine Room just earned some big bragging rights for their informational tome. The book just earned two awards at the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards, which are considered the gold standard in the cookbook publishing industry. And we’re not talking honorable mentions. Guillas and Oliver beat out such celebrity chefs as Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless in the “Chefs and Restaurants” category and also won the hearts and stomachs of the public by taking home the “Peoples’ Choice” award. There were over 500 entries submitted for consideration in this year’s IACP competition, making the local duo’s feat that much more impressive. It is particularly good news for this food journalist, as I was involved in helping to forge the project into hard-covered reality, assisting in development of its overall structure and writing the majority of the text preceding the recipe sections. To work with these talented gastronomes, a pair of inspired individuals who are equal parts friends and colleagues, was a pleasure and an honor and to see them recognized for a labor of love that took two years to realize is great for me as a co-conspirator and a San Diego food enthusiast. Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World retails for $35 and is available online at amazon.com.

Flowers and Chocolate

She’s prepared luxe, uniquely flavored truffles for celebrities at the Oscars, yet for the most part, she’s essentially operated as a hidden treasure over the past four years. That’s all about to change for Isabella Valencia, the incredibly gifted artisan at the helm of Dallmann Confections. She’s branching out from her production facility in El Cajon to open her first-ever storefront; a chocoholic wonderland situated in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Mall, where finally her sumptuous wares will be available fresh-made on a daily basis. A product of Austria’s most famed confectioner family, Isabella was the first to venture out of her home country en route to the U.S. It didn’t take long for her gumption and lessons learned from her forefathers to build her a solid reputation among local chefs and restaurateurs (including the aforementioned Guillas and Oliver, who debuted her truffles at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club). Still, this is the biggest accomplishment for Valencia and one that comes as a result of years spent tirelessly chasing her dreams, beating the street and drumming up business. Rich Belgium chocolate, butter fat, sugar, nougat and the American dream realized. Who wouldn’t want to get a heart-shaped box full of that? 2720 Villa De La Valle, Del Mar, 619.808.1749

Twice Bitten

Tourists and locals who enjoy a good staycation every now and then can enjoy a walking tour of Coronado with stops at several of the island’s eat spots courtesy of Bite San Diego. The company opened for business last year with walking tours over a 1½ mile course that intermingled San Diego history and downtown dining tidbits. Stops on the Coronado route, which will make its debut on June 11, include Il Fornaio, Peohe’s and Moo Time Creamery, to name a few. Tours take place Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.