Thriving North County restaurant scene featured at North Eats

With the explosion of North County dining options, it was just a matter of time before a savvy event promoter put together a festival to celebrate it in one location. That promoter is Nino Camilo and the event is the inaugural North Eats Festival happening from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 13 at the Hilton Oceanfront Carlsbad Resort.

Camilo has teamed up with Baker & Olive to curate this cool new event showcasing the thriving food scene north of the 56 Freeway and is also throwing in a dose of surf culture and live music. I like that mix. The hosts for the event are Camilo and Chris Cote, the voice of televised surfing events and a North County local. Oh and by the way, Camilo is also founder of the always sold-out I Love Poke Festivals in San Diego and Orange County.

Let’s talk about the food first. The culinary portion of the event will include generous samples from
Angel’s Salumi & Truffles, Baker & Olive, Behind the Scenes Catering, Bier Garden Encinitas, Bistro West, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria, Chandler’s, Cucina Enoteca, David Bacco Chocolatier, Davanti Enoteca, El Callejon, Firefly Grill & Wine Bar, Mia Francesca, Old Mission San Luis Rey, Panca, Priority Public House, Privateer Coal Fired Pizza, Sadie Rose Bakery, Solterra Winery, Trattoria i Trulli, Whole Foods Del Mar, and Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub. That mix is sure to satisfy the most discerning foodies out there.

Several of these vendors have been featured on “Lick the Plate” but there are also a few that I’ve not tried out that I’m looking forward to doing some sampling from. I’ve heard great things about Privateer Coal Fired Pizza so this will be a perfect opportunity to check them out.
Camilo’s music selection is also perfect for the coastal setting and surf vibe of the event. Ray Barbee, the legendary freestyle skateboarder and multi-instrumentalist who is best known for his melodic jazz guitar riffs, will be providing a killer soundtrack for the location. The pairing of food created by 20-plus North County chefs alongside Barbee’s melodic jazz guitar riffs is hard to beat on a Sunday afternoon.

The surf element of the event includes a live “Cook or Kook” chef/pro surfer cooking competition that has Benji Weatherley and Taylor Knox each teaming up with a chef and going head-to-head to see who can whip up the tastiest dish. Again, a fun touch that combines surf and culinary cultures.

Weatherley, known for his high energy and sense of humor, is a professional surfer who grew up in Hawaii, traveled the world surfing, and then set down roots in North County where he continues to surf and shape surfboards.

Taylor Knox is a professional surfer known for his athleticism. Not only is Knox a well-rounded power surfer, but he is also known for promoting yoga and other types of physical fitness. Knox represents Carlsbad to the fullest and is also an ambassador for Saint Archer Brewing.

Together, Taylor Knox and Benji Weatherley are two highly influential surfers who gained notoriety through surfing magazines as well as films produced by Taylor Steele. They have been friends for a long time, have very different personalities, and are both highly competitive. It will be a lot of fun seeing these surfers out of their comfort zone and competing in a food competition to see who can cook and who the kook is.

The setting is the beautiful Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa that features Chandlers Restaurant & Lounge. This will all be happening outdoors as the sun is setting over the ocean right across Coast Highway. I can’t envision a more perfect location or time of day for this event.

Tickets for this event can be purchased at or purchase them in-store at Baker & Olive and receive a $10 discount. They can also be purchased at the event and the cost is $50 per ticket. That’s a great value considering the quality of the food, music, and location. Five dollars of every ticket purchased will be donated to Plant with Purpose, a nonprofit that helps reverse deforestation and poverty around the world by transforming the lives of the rural poor. “Lick the Plate” will be there so come out and enjoy a perfect North County Sunday afternoon full of food, music, and great people. The event location is 1 Ponto Road in Carlsbad.

Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday – Friday during the 7pm hour.  David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at or (858) 395-6905.


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