"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food" ~Paul Prudhomme

The stage..Catalina OP... the people, a group of talented chefs, sponsors, volunteers and food lovers, coming together for a night of awesome eats, for great causes.

From the handful of events this year, Collaboration Kitchen has donated $17,500 to San Diego charities.

What makes this event so great is, not only do you get to taste creative and phenomenal food creations, but you also get a live demonstration and recipes to help you recreate them at home.

On this special night, the featured chefs were, Logan Mitchell of Cellar Door, Christina Ng of Whole Foods Market Del Mar and Quinn Wilson of Balanced and Bright Traditional Foods.

What was cooked up:
Asian inspired Nicoise salad (that tuna!!)
Steamed clams in bone broth
Opah fish taco with mole
Grilled Baha shrimp with white bean succotash and Logan's amazeball chimichurri
Seared and chilled scallops with marinated vegetable ribbons
Salted Caramel Uni Profiteroles

Curds and Wine also provided delicious drink pairings, my favorite being the hard apple cider (and I'm not even a cider person).

The final treat was that everyone got to take home a bit of the beautiful decorative produce provided by Specialty Produce.

I love that Collaboration Kitchen is just about a good time and sharing tasty food, no fancy plating or silverware, no pretention surrounding ingredients and you get to see all the work that goes into making the event happen, through the open back kitchen. Following the demonstrations and after the event, you also get to talk to the chefs, pick their brains and get cooking advice on their recipes.

Be sure to follow them on facebook to see when their next event is.  Tickets always sell fast.


Click the link to read about the previous event

"If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Many years ago, on a night after a long happy hour, a friend took me to place where vegetarians and meat eaters could happily collide in enjoyment over savory good eats and converse under the glow of colored lights and cozy decor.

Fast forward to a summer Tuesday evening, I was invited to a 20yr celebration of tastes at World Curry.  With a couple of familiar faces and new friends, we got to sample flavors from across the world, and learn about the spices and seasonings that make the complex flavors found in varying curries.

**If there is one thing you MUST go to World Curry for, and absolutely must try, it's their Indonesian Bali Beef! After tasting this, I spent most of the evening musing over what size vessels I could bring, to have filled with their magical brisket, that is pressure cooked to tender savory perfection and served in a Rendang curry.

While the Bali Beef is my shining meaty star, we also tried an array of other wonderful bites.

- Tikka taco (delightfully good!)
- Veggie pakora
- Phall Popper (spicy but mild compared to it's curry counterpart)
- Naan bread
- Thai green curry with chicken and veggies
- Tikka masala with chicken
- Banana fritter with coconut ice cream

Bonus round:  A SINGLE BITE of the Phall curry, which is the longest lingering, most delicious, and spiciest thing I've ever eaten.

It was a really special evening, getting to talk to Bruce and Momo, hearing great stories from the last 20 years and learning about the time, detail and quality of ingredients that go into their food.

When I asked Bruce, if he's tired of curry yet, or if there is something he still eats every day, he had the best answer, "Bali beef and a bit of rice, every day!"

In celebration of their 20yr anniversary, until Aug. 30th, they're offering the above as a prefix menu for just $20!

Check them out at http://worldcurry.com/


a very special thank you to Amanda at Passion Roots, our designated drivers for the evening and Bruce and Momo for sharing your stories and food with us! 

Fresh seasonal ingredients, passionate people and a hunger for good eats, all of these elements collaborated together to make a magical food evening at Cafe Calabria.  

I was introduced to Specialty Produce through friends over at Catalina Offshore Products, and they not only provide produce to some of San Diego's best restaurants, but like Catalina, also have a retail front that sells to the public.   

Last week, Specialty put together this event of tastes and Cafe Calabria could not have been a more perfect location. 

I always have an amazing time at Calabria, whether it's an afternoon espresso, or a late night Sunday pizza with a glass of Sangiovese, the people always welcome you like an old friend and the inside foliage and nature elements make for a wonderful atmosphere.  

The food oh the food! 

Chef MJ (head chef at Calabria) and the chefs from Bracero Cocina  really did an incredible and creative job with the dishes that evening.  At some point, when everyone was out in the garden area, my friend and I found the lonely Tuna crostini and meatball trays and had quite the sampling of them. The merriment between the insanely fresh and tasty tuna with the aioli and dill, and the tender meatballs with roasted garlic and vegetables, had me in a whirlwind of food drunken happiness. 

Another favorite was this samphire salad with beets and radish.  I absolutely loved how bright this dish was, and could not stop eating the beets and radish.  

At the end of the evening, we headed upstairs for a bit of espresso and what I initially thought was a donut decorated with berries, come to my surprise it was a perfect dessert peach! 

But as always, the best parts of the evening, were getting to talk to the chefs, food lovers and providers, learning about their passion, how they came to where they are and what their favorite foods are.  

So, when "the world seems to shine, like you've had too much wine (or espresso, pizza & tuna)
That's amore!"

Till next time, Mangia Bene!
(eat well)

Say hello to some of San Diego's awesome food people.
Specialty Produce

A handful of times a year, a cast of superhero chefs gather at Catalina Offshore Products, for an amazing underground demo and dinner event, not only to showcase recipes, tips and tricks to cooking delicious seafood, but also to raise money for local causes and rockstar organizations that are changing people's lives.

The proceeds from this particular night went to the Chef Celebration Foundation of San Diego, who are assembling the next generation of chef avengers!

The chefs of the hour and what they cooked up.

Sam the Cooking Guy 
The 14 Emmy winning, "no foie gras or truffle oil, regular "cooking made easy" guy.

Matzo Brei with Lox and Caviar
Yellow Pepper Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp
Sweet and Spicy Chili Opah

Matt Gordon
Owner and Chef at Urban Solace / Sea and Smoke / and Solace and the Moonlight Lounge

Spot Prawn with Mole and Burnt Tortilla Pesto
Monchong with Uni-Pea Puree and Meyer Lemon Confit
Fermented Chili Rubbed HiramasA with Korean Noodle

One of my favorite things about Collaboration Kitchen is the open space that allows guests to see some of San Diego's finest chefs, working hard behind the scenes, making food magic happen. Adding to the evening's repertoire, was also an up close whole fish deconstruction demonstration by resident fish monger, Tommy Gomes and Chef Ken. (Whenever I buy fish from Catalina OP, I always ask to keep the heads and if they have extras, because yum!)

The other lucky treat to the evening, was having Alesmith brewing provide specialty beer pairings with each dish.

Over the course of a couple hours, we laughed, learned a lot, ate good food, and best of all got to know the passionate people making our food and where our seafood came from.

So, how do you score a seat to this event? Prior to each event, Collaboration Kitchen and Catalina OP will post the date and details to their facebook, with a link to purchase tickets.  Click fast, because these seats sell out.

This is the first of a series of blog posts that I'll be doing on Collaboration Kitchen, each one will feature more about the food, and a personal QA with chefs and people from the events.

HI Friends!
Check out some of the chefs, writers and friends from that evening.

Chef Sara Polczynski - The Blind Burro

Chef Miguel Valdez - Tabletop Commons (previously 100 Wines, when I first met him and got to hear about how he got started, his love for food, and that the food world is a small world where everyone knows Tommy)

Chef Billy "Butter" Joyce - Surf Side Cuisine

Chef Maria Hesse - https://about.me/maria.hesse

Sheen Fischer - North County Food (check out his awesome write up of this event).