Just over a week ago, the clouds that formed May gray and June gloom (and the six consecutive months of overcast skies in Southern California) decided it was time to leave. Eternal somber became eternal summer and now it’s time to rejuvenate our social lives with a line-up of local events to soak up the sun. If you plan to host your friends this summer, perhaps Haley Hazell’s Coconut Poached Rockfish with Corn and Peppers is a suitable dish to impress guests. Pair it with a local crisp white wine crafted by distinguished Mexican winemaker Hugo d’Aosta of Milagro Farm Winery in Ramona.

The recipe for this Coconut Poached Rockfish with Corn and Peppers by Haley Hazell is easy enough for a weeknight but good enough to feed a crowd. Image: Haley Hazell.

If being wined and dined is more your style, I suggest a trip to The Miller’s Table in Oceanside where you can experience a top-notch farm-to-table dining experience highlighting the bounty of early summer’s harvest. Gather around The Miller’s Table for weekly community table dinner parties, this week’s menu centers around the bright, seasonal, farm-fresh produce to ring in July and celebrate the talented farmers of Oceanside. 

Image source: The Miller's Table.

For those looking for a unique, casual, and comfy affair, head on over to chef Drew Bent’s BBQ outpost, Papalo. It’s located in the former Amplified Ale Works space in East Village and takes diners on an adventure through the flavors of the Sonoran Desert. Desert cooking utilizes every ingredient to its fullest and thus Bent encourages zero waste cooking at Papalo. He invites a star-studded chef line-up to his kitchen every Monday and Tuesday to make wood-fire pizzas from the weekend’s excess. Guests are encouraged to dine in their pajamas at this weekly Monday and Tuesday pizza experience called, Slumber Party Pizza Pop-Up. Tune in to their Instagram to see who the next guest chef will be!

Slumber Party Pizza Pop Up with Jeffrey Brown and Jenny Chen of Izola Bakery. Image courtesy of Drew Bent.

July is a time for fireworks, food, and friends and with the uptick in picnics and BBQs, Mission Beach Park hosts thousands for the 4th of July celebration. I Love a Clean San Diego and the Surfrider San Diego have teamed up to host a Morning After Mess Cleanup to clean up the beaches and picnic areas around the park following the 4th of July holiday. Meet the cleanup crew at Fiesta Island at 9am on the 5th of July to lend a hand.

Volunteer to help cleanup post-holiday debris with I Love a Clean San Diego and Surfrider. Image: iStock/Art Wager.
Image source: The Fermenters Club.

Maybe after all of these outdoors activities, a break from the heat with an indoor event would tickle your pickle. Join pickle enthusiasts, the Fermenters Club, at their Ferment the Perfect Pickle workshop on July 9th in Normal Heights. Learn how to pickle local farmers' market produce from the experts while sipping on a refreshing hard kombucha. At the end of the event, you’ll have a jar of your very own pickles that you can bring to the next summer picnic or BBQ!

Culinary pleasures await beneath the July new moon at Sage Hill Ranch Gardens in Escondido on July 15th. The crew at Sage Hill take farm-to-table experiences literally as they have guests dine right on their farm with ingredients sourced from the property. Complete with welcome cocktails and grazing boards upon your early evening arrival and a farm tour with the owner and founder of the farm, Spencer Rudolph, this event will surely be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Come prepared to dine entirely outdoors with (as the website states) “wildlife present”. Follow the moon cycle to the new moon dinners in August, September, and October, when local chefs Davin Waite and Anthony Wells inflect their spin on the season’s menu.

As the days remain longer, twilight is the perfect time to set up a lawn chair and a blanket to watch a movie under the stars. Coastal Roots Farm invites you to do just that at the first event in their Farm Film & Music Series on July 20th. Join for their showing of Rooted, a 2021 food justice documentary that chronicles the activist and urban farmer, Germaine Jenkins, in her fight to advance civil rights in the South Carolina food system. Entrance opens at 7pm and guests will be serenaded by the musical stylings of Aura Walmer until showtime at 8:30pm.

No matter how you plan to spend the first month of summer, try something new. After all, the sun is finally out and about and you can be too.

Cheers to summer,

Ryan Rizzuto

Highlight of Featured Events

Hero image: iStock/Anthony Vance.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Rizzuto
Ryan Rizzuto is a chef, entrepreneur, and event curator in San Diego. You can taste his work at his own soul food popup, Southside Biscuits. Chef Ryan was nationally-recognized as a 2020 Food Hero by Edible Communities and Niman Ranch for his Covid-19-related hunger relief operations at Kitchens for Good. Follow him on Instagram at @chefryanrizzuto and his soul food and public events at @southsidebiscuits.