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The Best Food & Drink Events This Month: February-March 2016

The Cheeses of Europe, Festa Della Donna, San Diego Masters Cocktail Challenge


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The Cheeses of Europe

The Cheeses of Europe

WHEN: February 19-20, 11AM-6PM
WHERE: Macy’s Fashion Valley (out front), Fashion Valley Mall

It’s always nice when a federal government gets behind a culinary pursuit. Because that means they’re sending the best of what they have. Money is no object. Creating a good name for their country is.

The EU is financing Cheeses of Europe. Representatives come bearing samples of Brie, Camembert de Normandie, Fromager d’Affinois, Mimolette, and a sampling of 30 other European stars of the hard-milk scene.

COST: Free (cheeses available for sale at discount).
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SD Mag Brunch Bash

WHEN: March 6, 11AM-2PM
WHERE: Estancia La Jolla, 9700 N. Torrey Pines Rd.

San Diego Mag's team worked tirelessly and bottomlessly to find the best brunches and breakfast experiences in San Diego for February's "Best Brunch" issue. And now they've invited the gems they found to the same place—the stunning Estancia La Jolla, perched on the cliffs of Torrey Pines—for the day-party of all day-parties. There will be unlimited eats, bottomless beers, brunch cocktails and a bloody mary battle. Restaurants include:

COST: $40.
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Festa Della Donna

WHEN: March 8, 6:30PM
WHERE: Cucina Enoteca Del Mar, 2730 Via de la Valle, Del Mar

As most men who value personal safety realize, every day is woman’s day. But for this four-course charity dinner, five female chefs from around San Diego are cooking in honor of International Women’s Day to raise money for the Center for Community Solutions, which provides domestic violence shelters and other services. The chefs include Cucina Enoteca's own Rosa Geremia, plus Karrie Hills (ex-Red Door), Katie Grebow (ex-Café Chloe), Donna Antaloczy (Ironside Fish & Oyster), and Gina Freize (Venissimo Cheese), plus, the host and womanly brains behind the Cucina group, Tracy Borkum. Each course will be paired with wines. I’ve tasted the food of every chef involved, and it’s pretty spectacular. Plus, the gender bias in the restaurant world is pretty remarkable. Anything to remind us the kitchen isn’t a boys club is always welcome.

PRICE: $125
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San Diego Masters Cocktail Challenge

WHEN: March 5, 6:30PM
WHERE: Westgate Hotel, 1055 2nd Ave, Downtown, 619.238.1818

Cocktails have come a long way. It literally is the liquid kitchen these days, with chefs doing deep-sea dives into sunken warships to recover old grog recipes and whatnot. If you’re still opening a can of juice and dumping it into a bar bottle, you’ve lost. And spirit makers are no longer just the big boys, anymore. Local spirits companies are what craft beer companies were 20 years ago—new, exciting, and thriving. One of San Diego’s best is Old Harbor Distilling from founder Michael Skubic. Seriously. Bartenders rave about both the booze and the man. For the release of their new spirit, Ampersand—a cold-pressed coffee liqueur in collaboration with San Diego’s Coffee & Tea Collective—they’ve putting on a cocktail competition with the best in town. That includes Stephen Kurpinsky (George’s), Mark Broadfoot (Galaxy Taco), Nick Messenia (Sycamore Den), Tim Stevens (formerly Prohibition & Seven Grand, now proprietor of a bar in New York), Ryan Walsh (Kettner Exchange), Mike Mayaudon (formerly Captain Charles Kenneth Speakeasy, now the Rose & Rave in Portland, OR) and Irving Gonzalez (Westgate).

COST: $56 ($96 for VIP)
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