Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
A Cheapskate's Guide to Intelligent Splurging
I’m like most of you out there reading this and, by that, I mean not rich. Still, I indulge in pricey meals every now and then. It’s a necessary evil. Luxurious white linen fare doesn’t come cheap.
The trick is carefully choosing the best opportunities to get bang for my buck. If I’m going to plunk down major coin, I want the odds to be sufficiently stacked that I’m going to chow down on something truly exceptional. Two such opportunities — special one-night dinners benefiting culinary charities — are right around the corner.
The chef community is tight knit, and the best of these events garner big-time support from many of the country’s most talented gastronomes. Dinners like this bring multiple chefs together to bang out a collaborative multicourse menu featuring dishes that sum up their individual culinary perspectives. Having enjoyed several such affairs, I can say it’s one of the best ways to experience the trademark cuisine of several celebrity chefs for the price of a single meal.
Admittedly, these are expensive meals, but when compared to the time and expense associated with checking out each chef on their home turf, it becomes clear what an economical alternative this is.
On November 1, the James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour will make a stop at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club’s Marine Room (2000 Spindrift Drive). Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver will contribute their uni tuna tartare in plum sesame cones and pistachio Halvah chocolate bombe with frosted rose petals to a five-course meal that includes lemon verbena Kurobuta pork lomo, smoked oyster soup and halibut fillet cooked cartoccio-style (steamed in a parchment paper pouch) with langoustine ragu from chefs Jose Garces of Philadelphia’s Amada (also known for his role as a Food Network Iron Chef) and Nico Chessa from Valentino in Santa Monica.
The price tag for that meal is $150 and reservations can be made at 858- 459-7222.
On November 17, Addison, the AAA Five-Diamond, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star upscale dining room at The Grand Del Mar (5300 Grand Del Mar Court) will host a fundraiser for the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. Executive chef William Bradley will share his spacious kitchen with star chefs including Gavin Kaysen (the former wunderkind at Rancho Bernardo’s El Bizcocho who now heads New York’s famous Café Boulud and is the coach of the 2013 USA Team for the 2013 Bocuse d’Or Olympic-style culinary competition), Michael Cimarusti (from Hollywood’s two-star Michelin Providence) and Douglas Keane (Cyrus in Healdsburg). That dinner will consist of six courses for $300 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 858-314-1900.
Both events include fine wine pairings and receptions including extra offerings from host and guest chefs. If you’re going to splurge, you might as well get the most you can for your money.
More like this:
- Star Chef Gavin Kaysen Returning to Send El Biz Off in Style — May 18, 2012
- Chefs Unite to Support the Next Generation — April 12, 2012
- San Diego Chef Awarded Top French Title — Jan. 27, 2012
- Best Bites of the Year — Dec. 29, 2010
- Happiness on a Plate — Sept. 28, 2000