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:


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.

A Crash Course in Pieology

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the newest Pieology location in Westminster. Only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Huntington Beach and a block away from my favorite Thursday food truck lot, I felt right at home. I had never been to a Pieology before and was excited to experience ‘The Study of Custom Pizza.’ With their house-made crusts and sauces, fresh toppings, and create-your-own style assembly line, each pizza is truly unique to each customer. That doesn’t mean they don’t have suggestions, though! Their Pieologists suggest some of the more popular combinations, and don’t scoff at your seemingly odd choices. With pizzas ready in under 3 minutes, they know how to cure a ‘hangry’ human.

Check out some of the combos that my foodie friends and I enjoyed below:


Garlic Bread


This is a close-up of my custom creation.

White crust with herb butter and their house sauce, chicken, bacon, mozzarella, parmesan, red peppers, pepperoni, tomatoes, and garlic.



For a limited time, you can try two new custom made pizza flavors that will have your mouth taking a vacation to the ‘Sizzling Southwest.’


Above, is the Chicken Chile Verde Pizza (white crust, olive oil, green enchilada sauce, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, diced mild green chile and cilantro, topped with sour cream). This one had a small kick of spice to it, but was yummy! I’m a sucker for anything green chile so I found the flavors to be familiar, but the presentation was very unique for a pizza.


The Spicy Southwest lived up to its name (white crust, olive oil, red enchilada sauce, mozzarella, cheddar, roasted red pepper, jalapeños, cilantro, chicken, topped with sour cream). The jalapeños made this one spicier than its Southwest counterpart, but every bit as delicious!


And since I become a bottomless pit whenever I am presented with pizza, you bet I had room for their Chocolate Chip Churro dessert pizza.

Pieology makes the custom experience easy, fast, and affordable for all!

For more information, visit pieology.com

Restaurant Marin Redefines the Modern-Day Diner

I’m not afraid to drive far for good food, and when I live in between LA and OC good food isn’t hard to come by. However, there are too many places on my ever growing list, especially when it comes to newer openings. I am a huge fan of Arc in Costa Mesa, so when I heard that the owners were opening a modern-day diner right next door, I was counting down the days until they opened. I was lucky enough to try Restaurant Marin for an early Mother’s Day lunch with my parents a few weeks in to their opening. Read on for the many highlights:


First off, this place is teeny tiny in the best way possible. The decor is clean and modern while still evoking the cozy diner feel. Breakfast is served all day, but they also offer unique Lunch and Dinner menus. They have a no-tipping policy, but hospitality is included in their pricing, which is on the higher end. Don’t let that deter you. The service is personable and top-notch and the quality and portion sizes of the dishes won’t make you think twice when the bill comes. Now, for the most important part, THE FOOD.

c05ab65d-1316-467b-be6b-fbee2ecfe960First of all, you can order this breakfast sandwich at all hours (7AM-12AM) since breakfast is served all day. Appropriately names, The Muffin, this breakfast sandwich is a force to be reckoned with. A fried egg, aged cheddar, heaps of shaved bacon, and spinach are served in between a freshly baked muffin bun. If you are a follower of the blog, you know that I am a breakfast sandwich addict and aficionado, and I have to overwrite any previous statements that I have made about having had the perfect breakfast sandwich. This tops them all. Even better, you can remove the top muffin and ask for a side of fresh jam and save that for ‘dessert.’ Worth it.


I ordered the Fried Chicken sandwich filled with warm brie, peppers, red cabbage, and fried lemon. The chicken was perfectly crunchy, not overwhelming in size, and the juiciest chicken I have ever had. Seriously. It will be difficult not to order this again and again.


On the healthier side (since this picture doesn’t do the sizable portion justice), this Grilled Steak salad was heavenly. Served with farro, arugula, blue cheese, roasted sweet peppers, parmesan, and flavorful grilled steak, this dish was also a winner. They also have 4 other salads on their lunch menu, one of which is protein-less for any vegetarian friends you may have.


Did you really think we were going to leave without having dessert? Our table happened to be very close to the counter where they display some of the cakes and pies that they are serving that day, so it was inevitable that we were going to indulge. After careful consideration, we settled on the Apple Pie. It was served hot with fresh whipped cream and was packed with sweet apples and cinnamon. The crust to filling ratio was spot on. We were unable to finish the whole pie between the 3 of us.


Before we left, we made reservations for an early Father’s Day dinner in June, because their dinner menu looks just as amazing, if not better, than their lunch and breakfast options. Let me reiterate, for some, the prices come with a bit of sticker shock to those expecting a ‘diner’ experience, but if you are level-headed and appreciate UH-MAZING, fresh, carefully crafted dishes, you won’t bat an eyelash at the bill. Soon, this will be a difficult reservation to nail down, I feel it. Go now, before the masses discover the experience that Chef Noah Blom and his wife, Marin, have created.

For more information, visit http://www.restaurantmarin.com/.