We are blessed with many special events that focus on food, so I picked a few of my favorites to steer you in the right direction of the pure foodie (and libation) activities that are happening this summer. We all have limited time and budgets, so I wanted to bring you the ones that are definitely on my culinary to do list.
This year is the 11th season for Avila’s Farmers Market. It takes place every Friday (April – September) from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on the Avila BeachPromenade. The focus is food, delicious and cooked right then and there for you. But at this market, Fish Tacos are the star. Olde Port Inn has the number one spot with fresh fish pulled from the sea, then grilled and served on a tortilla with pico do gallo, cabbage and lime juice. This is the best meal you will eat standing up. I also like Fat Cats Cafe and the Custom House BBQ pit. My new adoration is hosted by Home Plate with their fresh salmon and lingcod tacos. While I did go a bit crazy for the Mole and Chili Verde Nachos, Crab and Corn Chowder and the Tilapia Ceviche. There is live music and dancing every week with beach side bands that blend perfectly with the seaside rhythm. This is a fun and inspired event for the whole family and it is the best place to take visiting friends. There is a free trolley that runs around Avila, the Port and Five Cities during the market. It’s not only free but every rider gets a Farmers Market buck to spend at any booth.
The Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival will feature a range of amazing oyster preparations, the best wines, brews, exclusive cocktails, and a full lineup of knockout bands to play throughout the day under the most beautiful settings. They have concentrated on creating an experience unlike any other to equally highlight entertainment and art right alongside the food and wine experience.
With sipping on libations surrounded by ocean views under amazing art installations, Ten chefs from across the Central Coast will go head-to-head for the “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” Chef Award, and the audience will be invited to taste their sumptuous efforts and have the opportunity to judge their favorite on the official Central Coast Oyster Festival mobile application to participate in the People Choice Award.
Prices include a full day of live music and a Foodie Stage that includes the shucking contests, demonstration and local chefs preparing oysters in various ways. The Aphrodisiac Lounge brings you the most delectable raw oyster bar, oyster shooters, sparkling wine, port, chocolates and cheeses. Purchase Tickets at www.CentralCoastOysterFestival.com. You can also ride the Free Trolley to this event.
CentralCoast Vodka Martini Shakedown hosted by Rosa’s Resturante is June 8, from 12:00pm to 3:00pm. This is the 7th year of my favorite event of the area. 10 bartenders from local bars and restaurants all compete to make the perfect martini. While the swanky music floods this darling restaurant, you get to try as many of these libation as you want while snacking on the unsurpassed food spread ever offered.
The food comprises of fresh seafood including poached salmon, crab claws, and shrimp, clams casino. Also enjoy cheese and gourmet vegetable plates, beef empanadas, fried raviolis, assorted pizzas and pastas, and chocolate covered strawberries.
There is always a raffle and silent auction (prizes include gift baskets, wine, hotel stays, a TV, even a MacBook Air). This sells out every year, so if you are a martini fan, get your tickets NOW. Proceeds benefit the Culinary Arts Program at Arroyo Grande High School through scholarships and direct donations. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased online at www.rosasrestaurant.comor at Rosa’s Italian Restaurant, 491 Price Street in Pismo Beach.
Bacon& Barrels at Saarloos & Sons field is July 18-19th in Los Olivos. Billed as the ultimate food festival for bacon lovers everywhere, Bacon & Barrels is an all-day festival showcasing local chefs’ most imaginative recipes incorporating bacon, and highlights the best artisan and craft barrel beverages such as bourbon, beer, wine, and scotch. The all-day event includes over 140 food and libation booths with all-inclusive tastings from some of Santa Barbara’s hottest boutique wineries and unique, high-end small batch whiskey, scotch and tequila from local artisan purveyors as well as live music from popular indie bands. There will also be a selection of craft beers to taste while enjoying a variety of inventive and unexpected bites from participating chefs.
Named One of the Top 5 Festivals in California by The Huffington Post, this bacon infused culinary creations and craft barrel beverages also includes
live mixology and chef demos from the industry’s best, including Iron Chef America Alum, Vic Casanova. For more information on the food and drink providers and to purchase tickets, please visit www.BaconandBarrels.com.