I was lucky enough to spend the last weekend of Summer in Del Mar. KAABOO invited me to enjoy their ‘mixperience’ festival and try some of San Diego’s best eats. Though music and food was a big focus, this festival incorporated much more than that. Between the various stages, art displays, beer garden, wine and cocktail offerings, and vendor booths, there was something for everyone. The lineup, location, and last year’s reviews, seemed to draw an older crowd in comparison to many other California music festivals. Only in it’s second year, KAABOO has room to grow, and improvements to make from this year, but they are well on their way to standing out in the Summer festival lineup in years to come. Gin Blossoms, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Jimmy Buffett, Third Eye Blind, Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls, ALO, G. Love and Special Sauce, Blues Traveler, Donavon Frankenreiter, and Jack Johnson put on great shows and pulled big crowds for their set times. Now, for why you are all here…the food!
Not only did KAABOO offer food booths around each stage, they offered, PALATE, an entire hall dedicated to satisfying your every craving including small bites, seafood, craft beer, cocktails, art for purchase, and live art demonstrations.
Here is a selection of some of our favorite foods from the festival:
These Tri-tip Nachos from Seaside Market were a great way to carb-load before walking around on the first day to explore the grounds. The meat wasn’t overcooked and quite flavorful. They were definitely one of the more popular booths throughout the weekend, and based on the above photo, can’t you see why?
I am happy to say that I ate this sandwich and came out the other side with my arteries still intact…I think…I have yet to consult a professional. Gouda Boys had two booths on both sides of the festival to serve your cheesy needs. Stuffed with Pulled Pork, Bacon, and Mac & Cheese, this sandwich caused an instant food coma. If this sandwich didn’t give you any clue, their menu is all over the place, but not in a bad way. They have a variety of these sandwiches with smoked meats, but they also offer a creative take on egg rolls – they supersize them and add smoked meats and cheese. They seem to be a known presence in the festival circuit, but this is the first time I’ve seen them, but I’ll definitely seek them out in the future.
I am counting down the days until Puesto opens their Irvine location near my office. I’ve only experienced their presence at San Diego festivals, but I am always blown away by the quality and flavor they pack into their beautiful tacos. Whether you’re into meat or seafood, these guys get it right every time.
This chicken flatbread from Alforon was a wildcard choice for us. It wasn’t until their veggie flatbread was served to someone that we knew we had to try their food. Their veggie flatbread was served with fresh veggies and falafel on top, and looked delish! I still regret not trying it for myself, but this chicken flatbread left me feeling just as satisfied. Covered in perfectly cooked chicken, cheese, and not enough of their addictive garlic sauce, this was a great way to start the second day.
This poutine from Poutine Your Mouth was an impulse decision after a long walk from one stage to the next, but I’m glad our stomachs led the charge on this one. It was still early in the day, so we opted for the breakfast-y choice. The fresh, crisp fries were covered in crispy bacon pieces, maple syrup, a fried egg, cheese curds, and at the recommendation of an employee, green onions. It was the perfect portion for two, and left us feeling full without the food coma.
I’ve been curious about Caliburger since I heard about their origin. The chain was started in Asia as an homage to In-N-Out, or according to a 2012 lawsuit, a not so welcome imitator of our beloved chain. They have now started to invade the states, and I was stoked to see what all of the knock-off fuss is about. Well, as you can see, they serve their burgers and fries ‘Cali Style’ with a pinkish sauce and grilled onions, totally different from ‘Animal Style,’ and by totally different I mean, there is no discernable difference on the outside. Their food is served wrapped and boxed in a very familiar manner, and their prices are low for the size and quality of the food. Ultimately, I will let you be the judge on this comparison, but I must say, if I am in a closer vicinity of Caliburger when hunger hits…
I was so excited that Poseidon was offering ceviche sans shrimp, since I’m allergic. This halibut ceviche probably counts as the classiest dish we indulged in at the festival. It was the perfect portion and satisfied our seafood craving.
Tostadas North Park and City Tacos teamed up to bring KAABOO multiple offerings, including the above pictured Lamb Taco and Carnitas Torta. The lamb taco was juicy and flavorful without being too gamey. The torta, though fresh, wasn’t as flavorful as we hoped, but the salsas they gave us fixed that right quick.
My sweet tooth didn’t get as much love as I would’ve liked, but that is in no way the fault of the festival. My dining companion doesn’t share in my severe sugar cravings. However, I am happy to report, that The Milk Bar‘s milkshakes gave us the sugar rush we needed to finish out the festival on Sunday night. It was easily one of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had, and they were cranking those babies out on mini-blenders before you could even decide which flavor you wanted. For the record, we chose Cookies & Cream and Andes Mint. My sweet toothless counterpart absolutely loved his Andes Mint shake 😉
I would highly recommend keeping an eye on this festival and next year’s lineup. KAABOO has amazing potential, and I hope that they rise to the occasion. For more information, visit www.kaaboodelmar.com.