DEL MAR — As if on cue hazy, overcast skies cleared at almost exactly 5 p.m. on June 18, bringing sunshine and blue skies to Del Mar Village Association’s 20th annual Summer Solstice at Powerhouse Park.
More than 700 people were on hand for the once-again sold-out event to sample food, wine and beer from more than a dozen area restaurants, wineries and local breweries.
Tastings that seemingly spanned the globe and were limited by only the chefs’ imaginations included tamales, gnocchi with Bolognese sauce, prime ribs and octopus carpaccio with charred pomegranates and crispy hominy.
The most popular items were Zel’s black butte porter braised short rib poutine with hand-cut Kennebec fries, fontina fondue and gravy, Sbicca’s carnitas taco made with braised pork, mango salsa, pickled onion and lime crema and a lobster club from Jake’s Del Mar that apparently had a winning combination.
“Jake’s is always the best,” Linda Luke said.
“Anything with lobster is going to be good,” Nancy Schmall said.
Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin and the Surfing Madonna red wine blend from Carruth Cellars were among the notable libations.
The three-hour event also included live music, complimentary massages from the spa at L’Auberge Del Mar and a silent auction featuring vacation and spa packages, passes to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, overnight stays at area hotels, gift certificates to local restaurants, a free Powerhouse Community Center rental, a rescue boat ride with city lifeguards and a year of free parking in Del Mar.
Many of the attendees said they have been coming to the beach-front party nearly every year since its inception. Some, however, were first-timers, including Mihai Lupu, who moved to Carmel Mountain from Romania a few years ago.
He and his friend Heeae West said they definitely plan to come back again.
Proceeds support DMVA’s downtown revitalization efforts. For the second consecutive year a portion of the money raised will also benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound, which provides surfing opportunities for injured warriors and first responders.
DMVA plans to donate $6,500 to the organization for a 10-by-20-foot pop-up tent and 15 discounted wetsuits from local retailer Matuse that will be used for the surf clinic held every Thursday in Del Mar at the 17th Street beach.
The clinic is an ongoing sports and fitness program for U.S. military personnel, veterans and first responders with physical challenges.
Summer Solstice culminated at sunset with lifeguards surfing ashore carrying tiki torches.