KAABOO – Not Your Average Music Festival

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:

dscn0544

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?

 

dscn0557

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.

 

dscn0550

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.

 

dscn0568

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.

 

dscn0593

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.

 

dscn0588

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…

 

dscn0571

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.

 

dscn0577

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.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-12-31-02-pm

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.

Top 5 Eats at Outside Lands 2016

As you know from my previous post, I was lucky enough to attend Outside Lands again this Summer to discover more of the amazing food the festival has to offer! Year after year, the restaurant lineup only gets better. With the addition of Ground Lands, Cocktail Magic, and a private dining event by Trestle, Another Planet Entertainment isn’t messing around! Yesterday I shared just a taste of what the weekend had to offer, but I saved my top 5 picks for below. If you don’t buy a pass for next year’s festival just based on this #FoodPorn below, you’re crazy! In no particular order:

#1. Chicken Skin Sandwich from Rove Kitchen

DSCN0457

This sandwich was the perfect ratio of fried chicken skin, pickles, and slaw. This was definitely one of the more popular dishes at the festival. You couldn’t walk to a stage without seeing a few pass by in the hungry hands of festival-goers.

2. Heritage Pork Chorizo Sausage and Curtido Sauerkraut Melt from The Farmer’s Wife

DSCN0380

I know that this list is supposed to feature my top five food picks with no particular hierarchy, but this sandwich was the best thing we ate at the festival. The portion size was generous, the ingredients were fresh and tasted amazing together, and the chorizo was perfectly cooked, and not at all greasy – which is a common gripe I usually have with the meat.

3. Cheeseburger from The Bacon Bacon Truck

DSCN0463

Bacon Bacon always has a hit on their hands. Since they burst on the scene a few years ago, this truck has been at the top of SF’s event list ever since. After having their burrito last year, I knew I needed this cheeseburger in my life. Do you see the gap between the patties? There’s a brick of bacon right in the middle, and it is glorious! The cheese not only covered the entire burger, but was dripping off of the sides of the top patty, need I say more? My only regret was no getting chocolate covered bacon for dessert.

 

4. Lamb Poutine Sloppy Joe from Azalina’s

unnamed (1)

This was the dark horse of our choices this year. We didn’t know what to expect when we ordered it, but damn it was good. The lamb had a great flavor, and was in no way overcooked or gamey. I think this was originally supposed to be a simple lamb sandwich, but they added the ‘sloppy joe’ to make sure you knew the wonderful mess that you were getting yourself into.

5. Breakfast Sandwich from Precita Park Cafe

DSCN0515

If you know me, you know that breakfast sandwiches are my weakness. While my dining companion wouldn’t agree in the slightest that this is one of my top five picks, I have to do it. The bacon, egg, and cheese combo on fresh bread just gets me. It gets me every damn time.


If you attended Outside Lands this year, or in the past, COMMENT below with your favorite eats from the festival. There might be a chance I haven’t tried it yet, and would love to add it to my list for next year!

Outside Lands: CA’s Premier Food Festival – with some music

I have attended Outside Lands for the last 4 years, and each year seems to top the last. I’ll be honest, though. After seeing Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and other stand out acts in the past, this year’s music lineup left me feeling a little disappointed. Not only did the food lineup more than make up for it, the artists that showed up, SHOWED UP.

Obviously, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie, and J. Cole put on great shows, but Chance the Rapper, Big Grams, Miike Snow, Oh Wonder, and Fantastic Negrito attracted large crowds for their set times and put on some amazing shows. The members of Oh Wonder made a comment about playing a show in SF 6 months prior to a crowd just over 200, and then playing on the largest stage at Outside Lands. Their feels gave me the feels. Also, never thought I would say that I enjoyed watching The Muppets’ Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, but alas, their covers and video accompaniment were fantastic and the crowd was pumped for the puppets. And then there was Peaches… There really are no words to describe what I witnessed, so here’s a photo from Annie Lesser of SFist:

e3e026b7apeaches_outside-lands-day-2_aug-7-2016_annie-lesser-1-jpg-mobile

In addition to the music, the festival had sections for Beer Lands, Wine Lands, mini-golf, and art.

So, I know you didn’t stumble upon my food blog to read about music and mini-golf, well maybe you did, but if you didn’t, scroll below for all the foods…

 

Fish Tacos from Tacolicious

DSCN0430

 

“Waffle Fries with CRAZY toppings” from The Up & Under Grill

DSCN0425

 

Ramenburger from Nombe

DSCN0429

 

Donut Cheeseburger from Straw

DSCN0492

 

Spicy Chimichurri Fries from 4505 Meats

DSCN0394

 

The Giant Smore from Charles Chocolates

DSCN0426

 

Plantain Arepa from Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen

DSCN0505

 

Ramen from Itani Ramen

DSCN0499

 

Smashed Potatoes and Egg from Rove Kitchen (keep an eye out for these guys in my next blog post).

DSCN0454

 

Fried Chicken and Waffles from Little Skillet

DSCN0486

 

Chicken & Dumplings from Three Babes Bakeshop

DSCN0450

 

Turkey Momos, Jeera rice pulao with nepali-style chicken curry, and a nepali chicken curry burrito from Bini’s Kitchen

DSCN0413

 

Pepperoni pizza from the ever popular Del Popolo

DSCN0391

 

Brisket Sandwich from Southpaw BBQ and Southern Cooking

DSCN0482

 

Italian-style loaded tater tots from Stone’s Throw

DSCN0386

 

Banh Mi from Freshroll Vietnamese Rolls & Bowls

DSCN0485

 

The ingredient that makes Split Pea Seduction’s split pea soup so damn good…

DSCN0438

 

Porcini Donuts with Raclette Cheese from Rich Table

DSCN0396

 

Malaysian Peanut Tofu Braised Nachos from Azalina’s Kitchen

DSCN0387

 

Sausage Poutine from Rosamunde Sausage Grill

DSCN0487

 

 Nori Chicken Taco from Namu Street Food

DSCN0363