On Friday, June 22, San Diego restaurants (and the people who love them) converged at Liberty Station in Point Loma for A Taste of Summer. The event promoted the launch of the San Diego chapter of The Postive Plate, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in the restaurant industry – fittingly, the theme of the night was sustainability as farmers’ market representatives and solar power installation experts dispensed education and local restaurants worked with fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients to whip up small bites in their own diverse styles. As a sponsor of the event, we stopped in to represent and see what it had to offer:
Organic produce delivery service Naturally to Your Door offered party-goers fresh kumquats.
Bacon dusted popcorn in cute paper bags from Carnitas Snack Shack.
For quite some time after trying it, I found myself wondering what kind of tender fish the ceviche from Casa de Luz was made of – surprise, it’s coconut ceviche from the city’s first 100 percent vegan and gluten-free organic restaurant. That’s smoked salt on the cucumber, by the way. Delicious.
Spicy white shrimp on a sweet potato puff, and a watermelon, cucumber, and heirloom tomato salad with feta and raisins from Urban Solace. Both deceptively simple but packed with flavor.
A pleasantly pickled albino beet salad, dressed with sherry vinaigrette and an orange segment on top from Sea Rocket Bistro.
Café Chloe offered up toast triangles topped with bacon, greens, and fava beans.
There was some talk among the crowd over which restaurant won Battle Watermelon Salad, Urban Solace or Gabardine? No one ever reached a consensus, because they each had some incredible points. It’s hard to argue with watermelon dressed in balsamic vinegar.
Time for a cocktail! The night’s signature drink came courtesy of the mixology experts at Blind Tiger Cocktail Co., using TRU Organic Vodka and other products from Greenbar Collective. (Also spotted on the table: Reed’s Ginger Beer, holler!)
The result: a vanilla bean hibiscus lavender mule. Yeah, we’ll take it. We’ll take several, even.
Another familiar face: Cups with an array of darling mini-cupcakes to choose from. We went with the 100 percent vegan Strawberry Milk flavor, and did not regret it. Rich and creamy, we only wished it was full-sized rather than fun-sized.
Gratuitous treat shot. Also dig the pretty succulent tablescapes.
We were able to pick up two offerings from Jsix in quick succession. The first one was our favorite of the two (and pretty high up there for the night), a scallop ceviche with heirloom tomatoes and Persian cucumbers.
But their seared albacore with olive puree didn’t disappoint, either.
Alchemy offered up one of the night’s heartier dishes: a pork and grass-fed beef meatball doused in a rich sauce and topped with cheese and herbs.
Stacy Clark entertained the crowd with folksy tunes (and behind her, hey a little self-promotion from your sponsor never hurt anyone!)
Perfectly tender, crispy around the edges, and ultra-flavorful, we could eat Carnitas Snack Shack’s sweet chili and spicy pork belly every day forever.
A light salmon canapé from Kitchen 4140, topped with a soft cheese and microgreens.
Casa de Luz’s collard green wrap was stuffed with vegetables, topped with bright lemony asparagus, and laid on a bed of cilantro-black bean puree. It was a bit difficult to eat without a knife to go with our fork, but it was worth putting in some effort.
It wouldn’t be a true Sea Rocket Bistro appearance without fish – so here is a whole fish, a persillade grilled sardine to be exact, with a cucumber and cherry tomato salad. Challenging, but those who were ready to dig in to a whole fish were rewarded with flaky tenderness and wonderful flavor.
If this is what positive plates look like, we’re thrilled to have The Positive Plate as a permanent San Diego fixture.