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The Best Food and Drink Events in December and January

New Year's Eve at Barbusa, "Low Life" NYE at Hundred Proof, and Make Cheese, Drink Wine at Venissimo



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Barbusa | Photo: Sam Wells

NYE @ Barbusa

When: New Year’s Eve until 1 a.m.
Where: Barbusa, 1917 India Street, Little Italy

Last week I had dinner at the Busalacchi family home for a story that’s coming in a future issue of San Diego Magazine. I need to save most of the details of that experience for the story, but I’ll say this—the Busalacchis have deep, deep Italian roots. They’re basically the godfathers of Little Italy. They were there before it became the food destination it is now. And Barbusa is one of the better projects they’ve done in a while. So if Little Italy is the destination for New Year’s Eve, which it will be for a lot of San Diego, there’s no better place to do it than with the family that helped kick-start the neighborhood’s ascension. There’ll be an exclusive NYE menu that highlights the most popular dishes they’ve created, plus à la carte dining. The dining room turns into a dance floor to ring in the New Year, and there’s a complimentary Champagne toast.  

Cost: Varies
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“Low Life New Year’s Party” at Hundred Proof

When: New Year’s Eve 7 p.m.–1 a.m.
Where: Hundred Proof, 4130 Park Boulevard, Hillcrest

Trust Restaurant Group has been one of the brightest notes in the city’s food-and-drinkscape over the last couple of years. Co-owners chef Brad Wise and GM Steven Schwob brought their fine dining chops (Schwob worked at Addison before meeting Wise during a stint at Jrdn) to a more casual, modern neighborhood concept. Trust was first, and an outright winner. They doubled down with Hundred Proof, a gourmet bar down the street, and really made a statement when they brought on Stephen Kurpinsky, who established himself as one of the city’s top cocktail minds while at George’s Level 2. This NYE they’re embracing the lowbrow in all of us with Old Forester Old Fashioned Jello shots, craft cocktails in red Solo cups, a cornhole tournament, and a Miller High Life toast at midnight. Come back to the scene of the crime the morning after for their Cutwater Spirits Brunch, including a Cutwater Black Skimmer Rye toast at noon.

Cost: Varies
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Make Cheese, Drink Wine

When: January 9, 6–8 p.m.
Where: Venissimo Liberty Station, 2920 Historic Decatur Road, Liberty Public Market

So you made good on your resolution of going to the gym for the first week of 2019. That feels like enough. Now it’s time to move on to the “make cheese” part of your personal reinvention and rebranding. Venissimo is the city’s top purveyor of world-class cheese, and for this event their cheesemonger, Paul Savage, will teach everyone how to make fresh mozzarella and ricotta on your own at home. It’s really not that hard, and worth it every time. Guests will also get food samples and a glass of wine for their struggles.

Cost: $50
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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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