Nov. 27 2013 01:30 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Scene from the 2012 SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off
Photo by Arlene Ibarra


A helpful hint to the restaurants competing in this year’s SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-off: San Diego’s interim mayor, Todd Gloria, who’ll be among the judges, likes it spicy.

However it’s made, Gloria says, “chili is like public service: It may look like a mess but can be very gratifying.” That’s especially true when the money folks pay to eat it goes to a local public school—North Park’s McKinley Elementary.

“Our kids are able to have Spanish and art and ceramics and music at their school because of this event,” says event chair and McKinley parent Jen Byard, “so it’s pretty cool.”

Now in its fourth year, the South Park / North Park community shindig, which will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at 32nd and Thorn streets, is expanding—if not in its geographic footprint, then in its offerings. This year, Byard says, there’ll be “more of everything—more restaurants, more craft beer, more activities for kids”—including a new gaming truck— “more handcrafted vendors. There’s not an area that’s new this year, but everything is bigger and better.”

Thirty local restaurants will compete in the chili cook-off, including two-time overall champ Ritual Tavern (2010 and 2012), plus eateries that’ll make interesting dishes, such as a Spam chili by Fathom Bistro and an Ethiopian chili by Cardamom Café and Bakery, plus vegan and vegetarian versions.

Byard says the chefs are “extremely competitive. They’re all over Facebook calling each other out, trash-talking—in a nice way—but definitely very competitive. Last year, it was a tie. Ritual Tavern and Blind Lady [Ale House] tied for first; they’re both raring to get another championship.”

For $20, attendees get a unique bowl, handcrafted by a member of the San Diego Ceramic Connection, to take home. They also get two stages of live music and, for an extra cost, beer from 12 local craft breweries.

“It’s one of the most unique local events that San Diego has,” Byard says. “We’ve kept it very uncommercial. So, when people come, they can get an experience that is very North Park.” And South Park.


Shopping local is cool. You can feel a little bit better about yourself when you pass on your hard-earned bucks to small boutiques owned by people in the community. But hyper-local shopping is even cooler—buying goods directly from the people who make them. From noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, The Goods Show will be back for a third year, offering conscientious holiday shoppers the chance to spend Black Friday at Queen Bee’s (3925 Ohio St. in North Park), where more than 40 artists and artisans will be hawking their wares. The lineup includes artists David Michael, Chikle and Miranda Marks, plus local vendors like clothing companies Urban Octopus and Circles and Squares, tea seller JavateaCo and reVetro, which makes jewelry and accessories from repurposed glass.  


333’s Jazz at the Museum is the complete package: art, jazz, wine and tasty eats. The ongoing series—a collaboration between the Oceanside Museum of Art (704 Pier View Way) and 333 Pacific restaurant—brings local jazz musicians to the museum for an evening performance. From 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 333 will provide appetizers, desserts and wine while attendees take in a performance by pianist Danny Green, guitarist Dusty Brough, bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm. The museum’s current exhibitions will be open for viewing, as well—five don’t-miss displays that’ll compel you to see your surrounding environment in a whole new way, including James Enos’ Urban Entropy, Outside: Selections from the Doug Simay Collection and Stephen Curry’s Scape / Escape. Tickets are $30.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.