The word foodie – defined as having “a particular interest in food; a gourmet” – has more than quadrupled in usage in day to day conversation, online print, magazines and more in the past 10 years. So why the sudden increase in what seems to be a made up word?
Recently, major cities across America including Los Angeles, Aspen, Austin, Portland and New York have become home to some of the nation’s, if not the world’s best chefs, serving up unique farm to table creations that truly tickle the taste buds. While these chefs focus on the quality of their products and the cohesiveness of their menus, they also emphasize dining experience, giving way to a “foodie culture” intended to ignite feelings of fun, happiness and satisfaction. Restaurateurs are bringing the technologically-dependant workaholics back to the simple life of good food and good conversation in a relaxed environment.
Although a smaller city, San Diego is joining the foodie revolution, even hosting major food inspired events including San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, Vindiego and Latin Food Fest to name a few. So if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie and are heading down to America’s Finest City for a relaxing weekend getaway, save your dollars by staying at a cheap downtown San Diego hotel, and eat your way through the streets:
If you have even the smallest insight to the world of celebrity chefs, the name Brian Malarkey is one you’ve heard time and time again. Breaking into the industry as a contestant on Top Chef and a judge on season one of ABC’s The Taste, Malarkey is known for his eccentric personality which is captured in his menu at Searsucker in downtown San Diego. Swanky cocktails such as the Peter Rabbit and the Honeybadger show Malarkey’s fun side, followed by small plates you probably won’t find anywhere else like “farm bird lollipops + snake oil + bleu fondue” and “marrow bone + sea salt + onion jam.” And for the main course, we’ll leave it up to you to check it out for yourself!
REI DO GADO
We’d like to preface this section by saying it’s in your best interest to stay an affordable hotel near the Gaslamp because dinner will cost you a pretty penny, and you’ll likely be too stuffed to walk more than few blocks to get back to your hotel. That said, Rei do Gado is a new Brazilian steakhouse that combines past traditions with a modern twist. In addition to an included salad bar which offers much more than salads (enjoy charuterie, cheese, fruits, veggies and more) patrons can choose from an unlimited amount of meats with a dozen cuts to choose from including lamb, pork tenderloin, tri tip, turkey breasts wrapped in bacon and filet mignon. Simply sit down, show you’re ready to eat, and relax as the servers bring around a constant and never ending supply of food.
Don’t mistake this underground bar for pretentious, because it is exactly the opposite. While you do have to make reservations in advance (about a week) via text, the small speakeasy is a hidden gem that never disappoints. The prohibition style theme gives the bar a unique feel and a laidback atmosphere, and the craft cocktails can’t be beat. Pair a stiff drink with something off their eclectic bar menu and enjoy a one of a kind dining experience. Holding just over 25 people at a time, it’s more of a lounge than a restaurant so you might want to get a snack ahead of time.
If you’re really up to try something new, you’ll want to head to Cellar Door. This private dinner club is hosted in the home of a San Diegan with all guests asked to sit at a single table, family style. Yes, you may be dining with strangers, but you’ll likely have the love of food in common which is more than enough to excite and push you through the fixed course menu. The dishes change on a seasonal basis and you’ll have to pre-purchase tickets ahead of time because they always sell out, but diners are always raving about the quality of food, the passion and kindness of the chefs and the amazing experience as a whole.
Reserve a room at one of the hotels near the San Diego Airport so you can sip and savor each restaurant in San Diego, right until the time you have to board your plane! If you know someone who is going to visit the city and has a passion for food, share this article with them on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the icons at the top of the page.