Foodie Fest Encinitas: Raising the Bar on Sustainability

Encinitas Foodie Fest Features Sustainable Products

We’ve attended a lot of food festivals around the world. While participating restaurants strive to feature their best foods at these events, Foodie Fest Encinitas chefs really set the bar on culinary creativity with remarkably and deliciously unique offerings that set this event to the top of my list. And adding to this noteworthy achievement, they did it while accomplishing a secondary culinary goal – supporting the local community by using sustainable products grown on area farms. And, they’re doing it every day in their restaurants.

Foodie Fest Encinitas participants included over 30 local beach town restaurants. Wine and beer purveyors, musicians, and artists -all bring their very best much to the delight of the many attendees. And with the lines of people waiting to get into the event, it was obvious this Foodie Fest was popular. Entrance fee for the gourmet food tasting gave visitors free range to enjoy tastes of the best restaurants and artisanal food purveyors in North County San Diego.

Foodie Fest Encinitas
Foodie Fest Encinitas

Proceeds from this event supported the very worthy goal of fighting Cystic Fibrosis. Its popular success has spurred other local communities’ interests to establish similar venues featuring local pubs and restaurants while supporting charitable causes.

Recently named among the 20 best beach towns in the world by National Geographic, Encinitas is a lovely town with beautiful coastal beaches and an authentic Southern California beach vibe. It serves as an unspoiled reminder of the historic Highway 101 beach culture that thrived in the mid-1900s. The town boasts an emerging art scene, quaint shops, historical architecture, a host of outdoor activities and a lively restaurant scene that attract visitors worldwide.

Surfers on Swami's State Beach Encinitas
Surfers on Swami’s State Beach Encinitas

Encinitas also wears the crown of “Flower Capital of the World,” because of its extensive collection of unique nurseries and gardens- and the world’s leading grower of the Christmas flower, the poinsettia. Encinitas Station Farmers’ Market held each Wednesday features some of the very best local produce and artisanal food offerings in all of coastal North County.

Lively music by talented local musicians greeted us at Foodie Fest, held in the courtyard of The Lumberyard Encinitas, a shopping center with quirky boutiques, retail stores, pubs and restaurants. Built on the site of an old lumberyard, just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean in north county San Diego, the setting could not have been more perfect for celebrating the sustainable movement that’s been growing exponentially in the San Diego region.

Coastal Fun from Bamboo2U and Tikis Too
Coastal Fun from Bamboo2U and Tikis Too

Here, chefs were skillfully representing their restaurants’ preparing menu entrées we never expected to see at an outdoor food event. And every dish was delectable and beautifully presented with pride and professionalism. Each bite moved us closer to complete gastronomic heaven! And the tastings each purveyor offered were delightfully different and creative.

Chef John Miller of Carlsbad’s Bistro West’s Soy Ginger Marinated Ahi with Mango Sorbet served in white cones was one of the biggest hits of the day.

Bistro West's Soy Ginger Marinated Ahi with Mango Sorbet
Bistro West’s Soy Ginger Marinated Ahi with Mango Sorbet

Cardiff by the Sea’s Casa del Q’ero’s colorful table setting alone lured attendees to her spot. Then, the enticing aroma of the Adobo de Chancho, marinated pork marinated in Peruvian chilies and served over sweet potatoes and swiss chard was too much to resist. And the taste of this South American themed delight? Magnificent!

Casa del Q'ero Peruvian Delights
Casa del Q’ero Peruvian Delights

Another fascinating take on a food item was Oceanside’s Privateer Coal Fire Pizza’s Spicy Cauliflower, a slightly crisped vegetable with a tantalizingly tangy balsamic topping. And not to be outdone, Encinitas’ own Moto Deli could barely keep up the demand for its Bahn Moto, a southern-inspired sandwich bursting with spicy flavor. Featuring a mouth-wateringly delicious grilled pork belly accompanied by cinnamon pate, ham, pickled carrot and daikon, jalapeno, and cilantro, served on a torpedo roll, this amazing Deli delight was a massive hit.

The seaside decorated table of Chandler’s Oceanfront Dining from Carlsbad was a perfect accompaniment to their very savory Local Ceviche and Chamomile, filled with halibut, prawns, bay scallop, cucumber, hearts of palm red onion, lime, sweet peppers on white corn tortilla chips.

Chandler's Ceviche
Chandler’s Ceviche

The entire list of local participating restaurants and food vendors at Foodie Fest is too numerous to mention. A local bakery, chocolatier, barbeque café, several pizzerias, taverns and coffee houses were all here. And each and every one of these businesses brought their best delights to the table, leaving no one disappointed.

Frazier Farm's Tantalizing Desserts
Frazier Farm’s Tantalizing Desserts

Being about just as full as we could possibly get after oohing and aweing at yet another impressive show of culinary delights, I doubt we’ll ever forget the incredible homemade Blue Ribbon Butterscotch Pudding from Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria located in the Lumberyard itself. Think you know butterscotch pudding? We thought we did too. But, this one made with sea salted caramel and topped with fresh whipped cream is like something we have never tasted before- and probably never will again.

The optional add-on Barefoot Bar area was represented by local artisans like Ballast Point Brewing Company and Spirits, one of the earliest founders of San Diego’s famous craft beer industry. Bad Stuff Tequila, Lorimar Vineyards and Winery, and Masters Kitchen and Cocktail were among local businesses that provided patrons tastings of other local craft brews, wines, tequila and creative mixed drinks.

Blue skies, warm ocean breezes, lively music, art and other beach-themed artisan shops all added to what was truly one memorable outdoor food festival. And, the food offerings, fabulous enough in their own respect, seemed a little sweeter, a little tastier, and a lot more special with the proud factor because these vendors used organic produce, grown by local farms using sustainable practices.

Internationally known Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme once wrote “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food”. This couldn’t be truer than having the chance to sample classy, exquisitely prepared cuisine in a setting which celebrates the Southern California lifestyle.

Noreen L. Kompanik
Noreen L. Kompanik

Noreen L. Kompanik is a registered nurse and freelance writer and photographer based in San Diego, California. Fortunate to have lived overseas as a Naval Officer’s wife, she has traveled extensively and her many Italian and other European adventures have sparked her passion for cooking and wine tasting.

A member of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Association, Noreen is a frequent contributor to several online and print publications. She shares her latest adventures, photos, and published stories on her What’s In Your Suitcase? Facebook page. Her stories reflect her love for travel, history, adventure and family.

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