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Best Food & Drink Events in October and November

Spiny lobster dinner, Lieu Dit wine dinner, and ChefsGiving


Spiny lobster

Spiny Lobster Dinner

Where: Where: Grant Grill, 326 Broadway, Downtown
When: Through October 20


Right now off the shores all over San Diego, locals are dropping boxes into the deep to trap the local delicacy, spiny lobsters. It’s a short season for hunting, and quite honestly most of the catch is bought for export to China (whose lobsters are very similar to San Diego’s). Spiny lobsters are more delicate and sweeter than Maine lobsters, a wholly different experience you need to try if you haven’t yet. The place to do it this month is at Grant Grill, where chef Mark Kropczynski has designed a tasting menu for the classic restaurant. First course, spiny lobster and sweet corn blini, caviar, tarragon; second course, spiny lobster and octopus cioppino with fennel, saffron aioli; third course, butter-poached sous-vide spiny lobster with crispy braised pork belly, apple potato gratin; and dessert of lobster pistachio beignets; with a to-go bag of spiny lobster caramel corn. A feast of local waters.

Cost: $80
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Lieu Dit Wine Dinner

Where: Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, 2202 Fourth Avenue, Bankers Hill
When: October 17, 6 p.m.


Every once in a while I feel a need to re-divert people’s attention to the fact that James Beard–nominated Carl Schroeder is one of the top chefs in the country. His upscale space is Market in Del Mar, and his more urban, casual offshoot is Bankers Hill. Meals here always win. For this wine dinner, chef de cuisine Tyler Nollenberger has set up a four-course pairing menu for Lieu Dit Winery, which specializes in growing Loire Valley grapes near Santa Barbara. First course, Asian pear and butter lettuce salad with feta, persimmons, and honey-curry vinaigrette (pairing, 2017 Melon); second course, Dungeness crab and shrimp cake with potato chip crust, apple slaw, and caper remoulade (pairing, 2016 Chenin Blanc); third course, Moroccan braised lamb with saffron couscous, shaved almonds, pomegranate jus (pairing, 2016 Cabernet Franc); dessert course, dark chocolate mousse with vanilla-poached raspberries, Chantilly whipped cream (pairing, 2016 Gamay).

Cost: $79
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Where: Provisional Kitchen at Pendry Hotel, 425 Fifth Avenue, Downtown
When: November 14, 6:30–9:30 p.m.


This one’s personal, since I’ll be hosting the evening. I decided to do it because if there’s anything I love more than Thanksgiving dishes, it’s Thanksgiving dishes cooked by chefs far better than myself. And if there’s anything I like more than that, it’s eating those chefs’ Thanksgiving dishes while also raising money for San Diego Food Bank, which helps locals who need our help putting food on the table for their family. Each chef for the night will cook a Thanksgiving specialty, and it’ll be set up family style with Cambria wines on the communal tables. Chefs include Brandon Sloan (Provisional), JoJo Ruiz (Lionfish), Alfred Szeprethy (Pisco Rotisserie), Brian Malarkey with his chef de cuisine Shane McIntyre and pastry chef Adrian Mendoza (Herb & Wood), Tim Kolanko (Stake Chophouse), Lori Sauer (executive pastry chef, Blue Bridge Hospitality), and Anthony Wells (Juniper and Ivy). For every ticket, $25 goes to the food bank. Come do the holidays with us.

Cost: $145
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Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, by Food Editor and general good guy Troy Johnson.

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