Taste of Thrillist San Diego


Is not having cable still a hipstery thing to brag about or is it just commonplace at this point? Whatever the case, I haven't had it in over a decade and so if a TV show isn't on Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, HBO Go, or Showtime Anytime, I don't know what you're talking about. Even if it is, with the exception of a brief, shameful period where I was really into Teen Mom, I haven't seen any reality TV.

But in San Diego, you don't need to have watched Top Chef to know who Brian Malarkey is. The superstar chef is the talent behind hot spots such as Searsucker and Herringbone, and even if I wasn't a foodie, I don't think I could avoid the buzz. Besides, my boyfriend's business provides knife sharpening services for his restaurants and my friend Jon of Lovelife often DJs sunset sessions at both the LA and San Diego Herringbone. Bottom line: I don't need to watch the show to know he's my favorite Top Chef!

Hence my excitement when Thrillist offered Ryan and I a pair of tickets to their Hotel Thrillist: Taste of Thrillist event last Friday at the Hard Rock Hotel downtown. The event was hosted by Brian and featured off-the-menu tastings from some of San Diego's top restaurants including Searsucker, Puesto, Slater's 50/50, and Salt and Cleaver. Obviously, I didn't hesitate to say yes and it's a good thing I didn't.

California Taco pc: Thrillist

Ryan and I got there early but there was a consistent line out the door the whole night. That's when we started to realize that this was a Big Deal. Luckily, we got upstairs fast and scooped up our food before the lines. For starters, Ryan was a fan of New York on Rye's Rueben Wontons, while I gobbled up the filet mignon goodness that was the California Taco from Puesto. Puesto had a 40-person wait for those tacos soon after, so I'm glad I got in first!

After food, we strolled around to check out the rest of the party. There was a gymnast rolling around the pool inside a giant inflatable ball, a photobooth sponsored by Jaguar, and live music provided by Good Graeff, a folk-pop group that I was actually pretty into. We also ran into Brian and I snapped a quick pic with him by the step and repeat screen. Then we headed to the insane dessert table... I had never had The Cravory's cookies or wookies (their version of a whoopie pie) before, but you can bet I'm a fan now! And though it was too much to be more than a once-in-a-lifetime treat, the PopTart donut creation provided by Donut Bar was ridiculously good.

Coronado Brewing pc: Thrillist

The event was sponsored by Malibu Rum so there were plenty of delicious looking rum cocktails being served at the bar, but since rum and I don't get along so great, I headed over to the Biergarten instead. There I learned something super exciting: all the breweries had brought their fall beers. Can I get a "h-Ale yeah" for pumpkin beer? #tooeasy

Karl Strauss brought their Oktoberfest, which was pretty tasty. They also had one of their "Hug a Brewer" stickers on hand, so I was finally able to grab one! I showed it to Brewer when I got home but he was unfazed. Speaking of dogs, the dog-friendly Mother Earth Brewing Company was offering a perfect seasonal beer as well: the Cali-Tax, a black-and-tan combination of their popular Cali Creamin' and their Sin Tax Peanut Butter Stout. But my favorite seasonal beer of the night was for sure Coronado Brewing Co.'s Punkin Drublic.... what can I say, I'm a sucker for pumpkins.

Because we're in the extremely fun process of moving, we were too exhausted to stay for more than an hour or so, but it truly was a great event. Especially since I found out that a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales went to the United States Bartender’s Guild (USBG) National Charity Foundation, which is aimed at ending childhood hunger. So if you get the chance to attend a similar Thrillist event in your town, don't miss it! You're chowing down for a good cause!

And San Diegans, if you missed the Taste of Thrillist event, don't worry: all the restaurants and food trucks featured will be offering their off-the-menu specials all week long. (Head to Puesto, stat!)