Chef curated fall 2023 happenings and events
If I close my eyes tight, I can still smell the musty funk of dried hay bales that cushioned my siblings and me during a tractor ride to a pumpkin patch on the far end of a farm. As we bounced to our destination, we passed dried rows of corn stalks and stuffed scarecrows.
Yes, as a child I was excited to pick our family’s pumpkin that would adorn our front step and greet trick-or-treaters on Halloween, but I was most looking forward to indulging in our annual treat at the end of the pumpkin-picking excursion. Apple cider doughnuts. Packed in brown lunch bags stained with grease and cinnamon sugar dust, we would buy these puffy, warm delights by the dozen.
Try your hand at making them this autumn with my recipe for apple cider doughnuts and pair them with a warm cup of mulled cider or hot coffee. While you tantalize your taste buds, mull over these upcoming autumnal food events happening in San Diego this month.
U-Pick Pumpkin Patch at Bates Nut Farm and Oma’s Family Farm
Now through October 2023
Relive your childhood or share your pumpkin-picking tradition with the next generation of young ones with a trip to Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center or Oma’s Family Farm in Lakeside. Each farm offers a fun-filled day for the whole family with tractor rides, corn mazes, seasonal delicacies, farm markets, and of course, the famous pumpkin patch. Pick your family’s favorite gourd any day of October at Bates Nut Farm or Tuesdays through Saturdays in October at Oma’s Family Farm.
20th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week
September 24 to October 1, 2023
San Diego Restaurant Week is in full swing from now until October 1. Don’t miss out on this eight-day edible extravaganza when over 100 restaurants offer variations of multi-course menus starting at $20. This week is an ideal time to try new restaurants throughout the city as chefs transition menus to align with the new season’s harvest.
Taste of North Park
Saturday, October 7, 2023, 11am–3pm
Embrace the global flavors of North Park at this neighborhood culinary and craft beverage showcase. Held at the new North Park Mini Park located behind the Observatory, guests will enjoy tastings of the area’s top-selling bites and beverages with the purchase of a $65 combo ticket. Separate food-only and beverage-only tickets are available as well. Be sure not to miss North Park newcomer, Falafel Heights, where chef and owner, Lialie Ibrahim cooks the scratch-made Arabic street food of her childhood.
4th Annual Lobsterfest at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market
Sunday, October 8, 2023, from 8am until sellout
Support your local fishermen right on the docks of Tuna Harbor at the annual return of Lobsterfest on Market Pier in Seaside Village. Admission to the family-friendly event is free and guests can purchase locally-caught spiny lobster to cook at home or special dockside dishes crafted by Chef Marcus Twilegar. Lobsters sell out in just a few hours so arrive at 8am for the best selection of this premium crustacean. Try making this Grilled Spiny Lobster recipe by Theodore Niekras.
Master Gardener Fall Festival
Saturday, October 14, 2023 from 8am - 3pm
Sharpen your gardening knowledge at the Master Gardener Association of San Diego’s 40th Anniversary Fall Festival in Kearny Mesa. Admission to the festival courtyard is free while classes and workshops require a fee and registration. Free information booths will be sprinkled throughout the festival to offer guidance on local gardening and garden-related items such as succulent pumpkins, garden art, birdhouses, and planted pots will be for sale. Free lightning talks from Master Gardeners will take place throughout the day on topics such as native bees, how to involve children in the garden, and global culinary gardening techniques.
However you plan to spend the upcoming month, expect it to be delicious and a little spooky! Celebrate the traditions of Día de los Muertos in Chula Vista or walk the haunted trails of Balboa Park to send chills down your spine.
Chef Ryan Rizzuto