San Diego

Weekend roundup

August 25-28


San Diego Distillers Guild Fest

Aug. 27. Head to The Lane by Moniker Group (across from Broadway Pier) for an interactive evening of imbibing by the bay. Ticketholders can sample complimentary spirits from at least 20 craft distilleries, as well as meet and mingle with master distillers. The lineup includes Cutwater, Storyhouse Spirits, Liberty Call Distilling, Malahat Spirits Co., You & Yours and Seven Caves Spirits. Local restaurants will also be on hand, serving sweet and savory bites; along with live music. 6-9 p.m. $85 (connoisseur all-area pass); $30 (designated driver pass). 900 Bayfront Court, downtown.

Little Italy Urban Challenge

Aug. 28. How well do you think you know Little Italy? “Sam The Cooking Guy” (Sam Zien) himself is emceeing this third annual scavenger hunt through the ‘hood—presented by Little Italy Food Hall and the Little Italy Association. Teams of two each will be tasked with deciphering clues about local landmarks, businesses and history; with the top three teams scoring gift baskets and other prizes from Little Italy restaurants and retailers. See website to register. Noon-4 p.m. Starting at $34 per team. Piazza della Famiglia, 550 W. Date St., Little Italy. Register

Stone Brewing’s 26th Anniversary 

Aug. 28. The ninth largest craft brewer in the U.S., Stone Brewing celebrates its 26th anniversary at its Liberty Station outpost: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. The fun includes sips from Stone and 50 guest breweries—including Bagby Beer Co., Boochcraft, Burgeon Beer Company, Maui Brewing Co., Modern Times, Pure Project, The Lost Abbey and Juneshine Hard Kombucha—plus live music and food for purchase. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $40 (includes 20 beer tasters and a souvenir glass); $15 (designated drivers). 2816 Historic Decatur Road, Liberty Station. More Info

SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival

Through Sept. 11. This weekend festival—taking place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (plus Labor Day Monday)—features 100-plus local and regional craft beers. SeaWorld has set up nine themed stations around the park—where guests can stop and sample select brews; along with elevated food bites for the perfect pairing. Participants include Mike Hess Brewing, Ballast Point, Alesmith, Karl Strauss, Stone Brewing, Pizza Port, Coronado Brewing Company and Bivouac Ciderworks. See website for hours, admission info and tickets. $55-$70. 500 Sea World Drive, Mission Bay, 619.222.4732.

Food + Drink

Taste of New Orleans Festival

Aug. 27. Be transported to the Big Easy where the “turf meets the surf.” This celebration of New Orleans food, libations, music and culture unfolds at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s Seaside Cabana. Indulge in Cajun cuisine from gumbo to beignets to jambalaya; cocktails like frozen daiquiris and Hurricanes (which originated in New Orleans in the 1940s); live music from the Bayou Brothers and Euphoria Brass Band; and festivities such as face painting and hat-making with the Rad Hatter. 1-6 p.m. $34 adults (includes entry to the racetrack). 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

Gnarly Girl Pizza

Now Open. There are many reasons to adore this casual new pizzeria, among them: NYC-style pizzas by the slice; Sicilian-style pies; a dozen rotating draft beers and ciders; specialty veggie pizzas; Sega Genesis and Nintendo games; and retro pop-culture art lining the walls (think: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters). Basically everything about Gnarly Girl Pizza is clever and tasty—from the Fred Flintstone and Hungry Hippo meat pies, to the Gnarly Knots with mozzarella and red sauce. Tu-Sa noon-10 p.m.; Su noon-9 p.m. 2302 El Cajon Blvd., University Heights, 619.782.9776.


Now Open. Uptown hotspot Madison on Park has a new little sister. Welcome to Madi, an adorable cafe with offerings for every speed—from business meetings and quick refuels to leisurely meals. The light, bright ‘hood hangout serves brunch daily; plus lunch, wine and mimosas; and a counter serving pastries and grab ‘n’ go coffee. The menu features griddled carbs (including a 60-year-old family pancake recipe), “Madi Faves” breakfast plates, build-your-own bowls, and lunch fare like the chicken-pesto sando and albacore tuna melt. Open daily 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 3737 Adams Ave., Normal Heights, 619.915.5522.

Arts + Culture

Concerts at The Shell

Aug. 26-28. Maestro Rafael Payare conducts the San Diego Symphony in “Tchaikovsky’s Symphonic Tales” on Aug. 26; with George Benson, WAR and the Commodores all performing on one stage on Aug. 27. Triple-threat Jennifer Hudson—the winner of two Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and Emmy Award—joins the Symphony for a special concert on Aug. 28. (And save the date for Sept. 4, when the 15-member Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra—led by renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis—will take over The Shell’s stage for an electrifying evening.) 222 Marina Park Way, downtown, 619.235.0804.

Balboa Park Hidden Gems Tour

Ongoing. How well do you know the “Crown Jewel” of San Diego? A seasoned tour guide takes you on a fun exploration of the city’s 1,200-acre park, whose buildings date back to the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-16. You’ll learn little-known facts about its development over the decades; as well as its 17 museums, gardens and cultural outlets. Each 90-minute tour comprises approximately one mile of walking. See website for tour schedule. $33. Meet at the front steps of San Diego Museum of Art, Plaza de Panama, Balboa Park, 619.504.9474. More Info

Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)

Upcoming | Aug. 30-Sept. 25. La Jolla Playhouse presents Andrea Thome’s inspiring play, featuring original music by Sinuhé Padilla (pictured) and directed by José Zayas. A celebration of camaraderie and resiliency among strangers who become friends and family, the production centers on a group of Latin American immigrants gathered at a community center for a fandango. When their festive celebrations are interrupted with reports of a looming citywide ICE raid, their connection and sense of community grow even stronger. 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, 858.550.1010.

Photo credits: Madi (2) by Diana Sciacca. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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