Evans Mission Bay Magazine Issue 2 - Page 24

DESTINATION DINING From fresh seafood to local produce, ethnic infusion and creative chefs, San Diego is a standout locale for culinary-focused travelers seeking to taste their way through town. SECTION BY TIFFANIE WEN S ampling a region’s food—particularly if the area is known for a signature dish or type of fare— has always been a key part of traveling. Who could imagine spending time in the South without tasting the barbecue, or visiting France without trying a buttery croissant or chocolate eclair? But in recent years, culinary exploration has become the reason for a trip in and of itself, with shows like “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” and “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” pop- ularizing the notion that the best way to experience a new place and understand its people is through the local cuisine. San Diego is an obvious travel destination for its gor- geous beaches, nearly perfect climate and world-class, fam- ily-friendly attractions. But its booming food scene, increas- ingly marked by a commitment to locally sourced ingredients, also means it has plenty to offer the epicurean adventurer. One way to taste the city’s offerings is through Bite San Diego, which has offered pop- ular food tours since 2010. These excursions each include 24 mini tastings—or “bites”—from several eateries, with guests learning about the restaurants and cuisine as they dine, as well as the history of San Diego and its local neighborhoods. In running the tour company, gen- eral manager Jered Martin has noticed a few themes popping up. “The most prolific trend that I’ve noticed is the impor- tance of sourcing menus locally and, if possible, providing a farm-to-table menu,” Martin says. “There are a ton of great farms as you make your way out of the city and into the ‘coun- tryside.’ There are even some Venus clams at Tidal, a participating eatery in San Diego Restaurant Week urban gardens in San Diego like Suzie’s Farms, and just about every neighborhood has its own farmers market.” Andy Baumann, chair of San Diego Restaurant Week, a semiannual event that takes place in September and January, also credits the amazing food offerings to the wide-ranging backgrounds of this city’s resi- dents. “I feel that our diversity is what truly enhances the scene here in San Diego,” he says. “Everyone who passes through or decided to settle in our city brings a little of their culture … and, for us in this industry, their cuisine. The regional cuisine is only amplified by our access to local products, our amazing agriculture and farming com- munity, produce, dairy, sea- food—everything is the freshest in the country.”