I recall getting an email from Nino “Neens” Camilo about a year ago pitching me on his upcoming North Eats festival and I was amazed by the number of top tier North County restaurants he had already lined up for this first time event. That in itself was enough to sell me on the idea of having him as a guest on Lick the Plate on KPRI. Well, that and the fact that he had already produced several of his famous Poke Festivals. Nino is the Event Creator and Curator of this fabulous event and it’s being held again this year at the beautiful Carlsbad Hilton Oceanfront Resort on Sunday, April 26th and the number of participating restaurants is even more impressive this year.
Baker and Olive is the sponsor of the event and owner Nol Calabreeze has really stepped up their involvement in the festival. Baker & Olive sells to the public and to restaurants, many of who are utilizing their olive oils and other gourmet ingredients in their offerings at North Eats. If you have not been to Baker & Olive lately I would highly recommend it. It’s one of those places that can really expand your horizons as a home cook. I will be following up Nol in a future column, as he is a very interesting guy who has taken Baker & Olive to a whole new level.
With that, let me get back to North Eats. I get to a lot of these festivals and can honestly say this one stands head and shoulders above most of them in San Diego. That and the fact that it is so conveniently located makes in a no-brainer for any food, music and surf culture lover in North County. But convenience aside, the location is world class, the participating restaurants are amazing, there is very little waiting for food, very healthy sample portions, amazing beer and wine options, killer entertainment, an eclectic crowd, and of course the Kook or Cook competition. It’s a matchup between pro-surfers paired with professional chefs going head-to-head all top chef style. That combination provided some great entertainment last year with the pro surfers displaying some surprising kitchen skills under pressure.
All my favorite restaurants from North County participate in this and last year there were a few newcomers and this gave me the opportunity to do a little tasting in advance I’ve been to these festivals before where the sample sizes are so small and the lines so long it was really not worth the effort. Not the case at North Eats. There is food in abundance and never a long wait…and if so, you will more than likely meet someone cool in line.
Nino is an event manager extraordinaire and he shows that off at North Eats. The venue is perfect, the layout flows between indoors and outdoors and the event unfolds as the sun is setting over the Pacific. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
A sample of participating restaurants includes Angels Salumi & Truffles, Baker & Olive, Behind the Scenes Catering, Beir Garden Encinitas, Bistro West, Bloom Natural Health, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria, Craftsman New American Tavern, Cucina Enoteca, David Bacco Chocolatier, Davanti Enoteca, El Callejon, Firefly Grill & Wine Bar, Fish 101, Guahan Grill, Hodads, Mia Francesca, Old Mission San Luis Rey, Panca Peruvian, Petite Madeline Bakery, Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, Sadie Rose Bakery, Solar Rain, Solterra Winery, Trattoria I Trulli, Whole Foods Del Mar, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, Yummy Cupcakes, Chandlers and a whole lot more. It’s like the all-star game of North County restaurants, all together in one place, putting their best stuff out there for all you foodies to sample in one place. And another bonus of the location is the ability to stroll around the beautiful Carlsbad Hilton Oceanfront Resort. Sample for a while then walk it off then get back to it. It’s the perfect combination of the best in North County cuisine, music, wine, beer and surf culture in the perfect setting. Not much more you can ask for from a culinary festival.
I would reserve tickets early for this killer event. It’s happening Sunday, April 26th at the Carlsbad Hilton Oceanfront Resort. Go to www.onoyum.com