Favorite LTP addition to the Taste of Leucadia Kai Ola Sushi and its stylin’ new sign. Photo by David Boylan
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Lick the Plate: The ever-expanding Taste of Leucadia is back

I have to admit that given my weekly forays into the culinary world for the past 10 years, taste events and restaurant weeks are not really high on my priority list. That said, the Taste of Leucadia is special and one that I make sure I’m around to attend every year.

For me it’s the combination of the location that stretches up Coast Highway 101 from Duff’s at the Beach on the south end to Fish 101 to the north. It’s one of my favorite stretches of road anywhere and even as Leucadia gentrifies, it’s doing so in a somewhat controlled manner and there are still bits of Leucadia funk scattered throughout. Not sure how long that will last so enjoy it while you can.

Captain Keno’s would be a prime example of the funky Leucadia that still exists. It’s also very cool to see the stretch of road where I pretend to be a runner come alive like this every year.

Enough about funk though, this is a celebration of food, drinks and music and there is no better place to spend a Thursday evening in April than strolling up Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia. Every year there are several new stops along the way and I don’t see that trend slowing down any time soon.

New culinary stops this year include Duff’s at the Beach, OH! Juice, Nectarine Grove, and one of my new favorites, Kai Ola Sushi. You may recall me gushing about Kai Ola in a recent column and it just keeps getting better. They have added a killer new sign that pretty much completes the place that keeps pulling me in as I’m heading somewhere else. That’s usually a good sign.

There are 27 restaurants and a plethora of retailers, craft brewers and local vintners whooping it up this year along the 101. It’s a music thing as well and I’d suggest stopping into Lou’s Records to check out their extensive vinyl offerings. The live music will happen along N. Coast Hwy. 101 with a Beatles cover band joining the event this year along with crowd favorites Buena Vista SoCal Club. Check out leucadia101.com for updates on the lineup and set times.

Libations will happen at nine Sip Stop locations that will be open after hours for attendees to enjoy local breweries and wineries in their super fine locations on 101 and Vulcan Avenue. Sip Stops are a chance for attendees to explore some of Leucadia’s best retail and spa locations with the bonus of a drink while at it. Newcomers include Design 4 Corners and Four Moons Spa. The outdoor Craft Beer Pavilion will take place at Priority Public House that will include garden beautification by Anderson’s La Costa Nursery and free photos in the killer Camera Camper vintage trailer photo booth. Electra Bicycle Company is back again this year with their bike valet at the Craft Beer Pavilion so you can peddle your way to the Taste and not have to deal with parking.

Another point of interest should be the Glaucus Corner Ambrosia Garden back for the second year hosted by Leucadia Plant and Floral, Randoms Boutique, Bowie x James, The Hatch Bicycle and Adventure Workshop and Solomon & Co. At the Ambrosia Garden ticket holders can sample some hard kombucha, cider, gluten-free beer, mead and more. This is a cool stop for sure and definitely has some of the funk still and of course The Lanai is there. 

Just keep walking north after that as your end goal should be Fish 101. My big love for them continues and I’m sure they will be sampling something worthy. Maybe stick around for some of their soft serve or amazing desserts.

Food Tasting tickets are $25 in advance ($30 the day of, if they last!), Food and Sip Stop Tickets (craft beer/wine tasting included) are $40 in advance ($45 the day of). Each ticket holder with Sip Stops will receive a cool taster glass for their beer, wine and elixir tasting. This event will sell out so get on it!

If you can’t bike or walk you can still avoid parking frustration. Leucadia 101 will provide an eco shuttle that runs on biofuel, which will transport attendees from the upper parking lot at City Hall (505 S. Vulcan) to Leucadia and will drop off riders in the heart of the event. The shuttle will be running throughout the night to bring guests back to City Hall. The last pick up will be 8:55 p.m. from HapiFish, so plan accordingly. Last call will be at 8:15 p.m. and beer and wine locations are strictly 21 and up. For complete event details, visit www.leucadia101.com. It’s happening April 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.               

More at www.lick-the-plate.com