San Diego Farm to Fork Week 2019
Some of our picks for Farm to Fork Week, September 8-15, 2019
San Diego Farm to Fork Week is a celebration of local chefs, brewers, winemakers, farmers and the sustainable, regional ingredients, methods and philosophies they bring to local cuisine. We are excited and proud to be the media sponsor for the week-long event, which includes a (sold out) kick off party and farm-to-table tasting, a bunch of events, meet-and-greets, takeovers, special menus and more at San Diego Farm to Fork member establishments from September 8-15.
To help you plan your schedule for the week, you can check out their calendar of Farm to Fork Week events, and then read about some of the participating restaurants we’ve covered in the pages of the magazine in the past. Here’s our roundup of some of our favorite recent stories on local farm-to-table restaurants and chefs.
We’ve covered this Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient quite a bit in recent years. In last fall’s Food Issue, we asked several amazing regional chefs to show us around where they like to eat. Deborah Scott, of the Cohn Restaurant Group, took us to Kettner Exchange for a cocktail.
Truth be told, she’s not there for the booze, though she says they have an impressive craft cocktail program. “Oh my god, I’m addicted to the kale salad,” she says of the small plate made with apple, almonds, golden raisins, Parmesan and lemon olive oil. “I won’t emulate it because it’s too good not to go there just for that. It’s amazing.”
And (digging a little deeper in the archives) we also hit up Kettner Exchange in our monthly Dish column in 2015:
Increasingly the city’s restaurant mecca, Little Italy is less and less about pizza and more about creative fare presented in impressive settings. Kettner Exchange is a hunky double-decker with grand bay views that also provides intimate quarters in which to explore chef Brian Redzikowshi’s menu. The fun stuff is on the small plates, like braised oxtail on artisan grits (really!) with artichoke and tomato, a cross-cultural event that slides happily down the throat. Servers entertain with such announcements as, “Instead of bread service, we do popcorn service.” The sriracha-lime flavor-of-the-day was pretty good, particularly ahead of Thai-style suckling pig larb, a mince of spicy sweet-herby meat wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Kettner Exchange: 2001 Kettner Blvd., 619-255-2001, kettnerexchange.com
Ramona Ranch Winery
Our profile a few years ago of the Ramona Ranch Winery took an unusual approach. The family-owned winery is a haven for rescue creatures, from pups to farm animals, and was recently recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Plus, you’re encouraged to bring in a picnic and enjoy the view on their tasting patio.
Teri and Micole aid local nonprofits with fundraising, including holding events for the Labrador rescue group from which they got their lab, Peppermint Patty. Additionally, they give all proceeds from winery logo T-shirts sales to SLAP Equine Rescue. Their ponies, Thelma and Louise, are recent rescues from a feedlot in Arizona.
For Farm to Fork Week, Ramona Ranch Winery is hosting a special event on Sunday, September 8th: Peter Hall will perform live acoustic music at the Ranch. Sip wine on the patio and enjoy some music from 3-6 p.m.
Ramona Ranch Winery: 23578 Highway 78, 760-789-1622, ramonaranchwines.com
Royale! and Nopalito Farm & Hopyard
The family behind Royale in Ocean Beach is also the family behind Nopalito Farms in Valley Center. We profiled the family — and Nopalito’s beautiful property — this spring, when Jordan and Mariah Brownwood cooked for us at the farm. Royale is lauded for its gourmet hamburgers, grilled-cheese sandwiches and tater tots as well as its artisan cocktails, salads and weekend brunch. Read the full profile (and get some amazing recipes) here.
Also, chef Andrew Santana took us to Royale! for lunch last November for our Food Issue. Here’s what he had to say about the modern, eclectic, sustainable diner:
“There’s nothing like a good burger, and this place isn’t pretentious, it’s got a good feel and they make the classic with cheese perfectly,” he says of the creation piled high with bacon, Gruyère, caramelized onions, mustard, pickles and a special sauce.
And one more (we love Royale!). Our food columnist sampled the fare about a year ago.
The word “royale” is so grand—regal as only French monarchs can be—that it fits enchantingly in the name of Royale! Cocktails & Hamburgers in Ocean Beach.
The Voltaire Street premises have been home to a number of bars, and now house a place that honestly specializes in farm-to-table food and drink. Proprietors Jordan and Mariah Brownwood own an 8-acre, certified organic farm in North County and serve some of their produce in agreeable salads, sandwiches and so forth.
Avocados, wedged into eighths, battered and deep-fried, have an unexpectedly intense flavor. Onion rings are à la carte but necessary adornments for the Royale with cheese, a 1/3-pound patty crowned with bacon, Gruyère, caramelized onions, pickles, the house special sauce and mustard, all wrapped in a rich buttermilk bun.
Passion fruit and lemons harvested near Valley Center combine in a cocktail called The Mezcal that goes down altogether too easily.
For Farm to Fork Week, Royale is offering their Nopalito Farm Melon Salad, and is hosting a special event, “Tiki Takeover,” featuring farm cocktails with False Idol’s Bill and John Boy.
Royale: 4204 Voltaire St., 619-431-5653, royalesd.com
One of our favorite spots in Balboa Park, this restaurant is part of the Tiger! Tiger! and Blind Lady Ale House [note: B.L.A.H. will host a Stehly Farms showcase and “meet the farmer” on Thursday September 12] family. Panama 66 is tucked proudly between San Diego Museum of Art and its sculpture gardens.
When SDMA’s Austin Mahn showed us around the park, he took us there.
Austin frequents the space for the art, Panama 66’s beer selection (he recommends the Insurgente “La Lupulosa” IPA), the food (he loves their Tiger!Tiger! Green Chorizo Sausage) and the live music on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Panama 66: 1450 El Prado, 619-696-1966, panama66.com
Supannee House of Thai Restaurant
This Point Loma farm-to-table restaurant was featured in an “Around Town” story with boutique owner Theresa Renfro.
We just pop into this Renfro family favorite a couple of doors down from Coffee Hub. It’s nearing lunchtime, and the smells wafting from the kitchen are enough to make a mouth water. Embracing the farm-to-Thai table concept, the husband-and-wife House team, who co-own this restaurant, grow some of their own veggies in a garden in the neighborhood. Theresa recommends the Green Curry, “as hot (as in spicy) as possible,” she says, with bamboo shoots, green beans, Thai eggplant, bell peppers and Thai basil with tofu or seafood since she doesn’t eat chicken, beef or pork.
We also profiled Supannee House of Thai long ago, back in 2013!
Like the little engine that could, Supannee House of Thai did — by morphing from a cramped space to a large, gracious room that allows many to simultaneously enjoy killer tom yum, a ravishingly tart, hot-sour soup spiced wowingly with roasted chili paste, and specialties like the Screaming Tiger marinated flank steak salad, a true culinary departure for the formerly sheltered Shelter Island neighborhood. Curries marry flair and imagination.
It’s also featured in our latest September issue, on newsstands now!
Supannee House of Thai: 2907 Shelter Island Drive, #110, 619-795-8424, sdthai.com