I had the great opportunity to check out 2013 VinDiego Wine and Food Festival this weekend Downtown at the Broadway Pier right on the water amid the gigantic cruise ships and the Midway looming on both sides of the pier. It was a beautiful spot to hold the festival with lots of wineries present doing pours and bits and samples of food throughout the whole affair. Here’s a recap of some of the items Stacey and I tried at the VinDiego festival this year.
Broadway Pier Downtown
Stacey and I at the beginning of our quest to try as much as possible.
As soon as we got in, I started feeling a little claustrophobic with the crowd. There were a ton of people mingling around at the entrance and all I could think was “TOO MANY PEOPLE!” I made my way through the entrance towards the middle, trying to get to the back in the hopes that it would be a less crowded place for us to start. On the way, I spied these baskets of pretzel bread.
We stopped and grabbed that first because… hello? Pretzel bread? Why would I ever pass that up!
It was a whole little loaf and turned out to be the perfect thing to grab to try with olive oils, vinaigrette, cheeses and other little items throughout the evening. And it was magically delicious!
Before we started drinking, we got a little bite of food. This was a little sampling of food from Flagship Cruises & Events – a short rib slider and lobster mac and cheese.
The “lobster” was indeed present, but it was practically microscopic and I didn’t taste it at all. It was kinda cheesy, fairly decent. The short rib slider was a little too rich for me with its intense, rich, deep beef flavor. Which, I suppose, is what some people are looking for when eating short ribs. I loved the mini little bun though. That was adorably cute.
We got our first glasses of wine after the first bites of food from Adelaida Cellars (White Glenrose for me and Pinot Noir for Stacey). I stuck with whites almost all night (except for one sample of red) and Stacey stuck with reds.
You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t say much about the wine. I’m not much of a wine person. All I know is if I like it, or don’t like it.
I liked this one.
We started alternating between foods and wines – we’d get some wine, go eat some food, find more wine then eat more food. It turned into a little pattern which was to our benefit.
Above is a little sampling of some vegetarian organic foods from a home delivery service called Bee Green. They had a little coleslaw that had red cabbage, carrots, almonds, cilantro and other goodies packed into it. Flavorful and yummy. The pasta was also good with edamame, broccoli and other veggies.
Right next Bee Green was a set up for Way Better Snacks. They had five different samples available of their Sprouted Tortilla Chips which are vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, certified kosher snack chips. The sprouted grains and seeds increases the nutrients and every serving of these special chips has healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
Also: they were way tasty. I always suspect something “good” for me to not taste very good, but these snack chips were actually really good! They had the same crunch and delicious saltiness that I know from regular chips – just with more “stuff” on em (from the seeds you can see right in the chips). Might have to try getting a bag of these from the supermarket soon.
Here’s a few more photos of some other wines we tried, plus some delicious cheeses. The green cheese is a Sage Darby which I love, love, love. It has hints of sage in the semi-hard cheese giving it a nice, earthy flavor. One of my favorites!
Fresh & Easy also had a table at the show. They had some of their cheeses up for sampling (which I’ve had many times in my life) plus these cocoa dusted truffles which I haven’t seen before… or never noticed. I grabbed two – one for Stacey and one for me – and Stacey commented how another lady just went by and swiped a cupful (which had maybe 6 truffles in it). By the end of the event, I followed that lady’s lead and went back and swiped a cupful for myself. Which I shared with Stacey, of course. We are partners in crime, after all.
Mimi’s Cafe was also there with some more substantial food – one big ass piece of butternut squash risotto with a little piece of their carrot raisin bread. The filling was quite smooth and soft and we wished the outer pasta was more al dente to make up for that. Also: I wished it had been mushroom instead.
There were also these little pretty silver spoonfuls of food and I had no idea what it was before I ate it. Turned out to be a sweet, creamy herbed cheese with a touch of sweet Thai chili sauce. I couldn’t identify the herb on top, either, but it sure was pretty and a nice, smooth bite of food. This was from Chef Brian Overhauser at Hahn Winery.
I didn’t take notes of what I liked and didn’t… hmmm.
Little samples of cakes from Nothing Bundt Cake – red velvet and lemon.
This wine I do actually remember, because it was my favorite wine from the whole event!
I’ve learned that I really enjoy Moscato and this one from Terra d’Oro was really excellent. I think I like these wines since they tend to be a lot more sweet. Dry, crisp wines aren’t my thing at all.
I’ll have to pick up a bottle of this stuff!
The Sea Salt Candy Company from Vista, CA came with a few samples of their sweet and salty candies: caramels, toffees and boozy caramel sauce. I just tried the caramel and toffee – both which were really delicious with that bit of saltiness to bring out the flavor of the candy. Very, very yummy!
There were a few places that offered “shots” of olive oil or vinegars, but me personally, I’d rather dip it in some bread to get the flavor. This is when our pretzel breads came in handy when we sampled some of the olive oils from Temecula Olive Oil Company. I tried this Hickory Smoked olive oil which had a delicate, smoked flavor infused into the olive oil. I could see this being a great addition to dressings and cooking, giving that slight smoky flavor to a dish. Really delicious!
Stacey tried the Blood Orange which I had a little taste of, too – nice and fruity, the blood orange flavored was bold and pronounced. Really liked that one, too! The olive oils here are hand blended and made from California olive oil made on an olive ranch in Temecula.
Specialty Produce had a little spin-the-wheel game where you could win some organic foods or a farmer’s market bag certificate. I really wanted strawberries… and I won them! I guess technically my spin moved over to oranges but the nice lady said I won strawberries since it was quite clear that’s what I wanted. How sweet!
All in all it was a lovely time with SO MUCH WINE. We didn’t sample all of the food (and certainly not all of the wine) but I think a few more “hearty” foods would have been nice to see to pair off with the wines. Stacey and I had a good time though and watched this pretty, pretty sunset out on the back dock while we drank a little bit more wine.
Thanks very much to VinDiego for inviting me!
* Disclaimer: I received two complimentary tickets to VinDiego. I was not otherwise paid for this post. All opinions are my own.
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