Photo courtesy: FritasShack.com
It's one of the hottest holidays of the year for lovers of food and drink — in the United States, at least. Cinco de Mayo (known affectionately as Cinco de Drinko) can be an excuse to drink tequila until you hit the floor, or it can be celebrated the right way: by sampling some of Mexico's world-class food and drink.
Here's the best part: you don't even have to leave San Diego to do it!
San Diego is right on the Mexican border, and so it's dripping with some of the best Mexican foods, brews, and wines that you've ever tasted in your life. Whether you're sampling some of the high-end moles and tequilas of Cantina Mayahuel, or you're enjoying the arts and scenery of Barrio Logan at Border X Brewing, or even checking out the lucha-themed splendor of Lucha Libre Taco Shop, this is one of the only places to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in an authentic way!
Cinco de Mayo isn't hugely celebrated in Mexico, and it isn't Mexican Independence Day — it's the anniversary of the Batalla de Puebla, in which Mexican troops scored a long-odds victory against the French. It is acknowledged with parades and parties in Puebla and elsewhere around Mexico, but it isn't a national holiday. It didn't become a big party (much like St. Patrick's Day) until it hit the United States! From there, of course, it spread.
So for an authentic Cinco de Mayo experience, you should look within the US. We know just the places to go. (And, as always, please drink responsibly!)
Amadora de Cerveza y Vino
Image via NASA
Earth Day used to be the province of hippies and environmental activists, born out of the movements of the 1970s. Over time, people began to realize that the world needed to focus on the environment after all. In other words, the once-marginalized treehuggers actually were onto something!
We're proud to have carried on that tradition. We think that the world is a beautiful place that needs to be preserved. After all, without cleaning up pollution and championing environmental preservation, we'd have no place to grow grapes and hops, perhaps two of the world's most important crops, because without them there would be no wine and no beer, and really, who wants to live in a world without either?
So how do we do our part? Well, first of all, we strongly believe in recycling, and we're (of course!) big fans of eating and drinking locally-sourced food, beer, and wine. We're lucky to live in such a beautiful place and with such a great array of microclimates and local farms, so that we have an enormous variety of fresh and organic (and tasty!) foods to eat and wines and beers to drink.
We also do our part with our choice in transportation. We love our Coaster tours, and you will too! Not only are we getting around San Diego in a green way, we're also using our train tours to showcase the considerable beauty of San Diego's coastline and inland areas. We're proud of the environment we've preserved, and we want to share it — and when you're tasting the literal fruits of our labors to keep the world a cleaner place, you'll understand why we're so proud.
Come out on one of our green tours and celebrate Earth Day with us. We celebrate it every day! We know you'll love it just as much as we do.
Brooke B., Tree Hugger
Happy National Beer Day!
While you could argue that really, any day is National Beer Day (who wouldn't want an excuse to tip back one or two?) there's actually a really good reason that it's today, on April 7th. That reason stretches back into the last century, all the way back to Prohibition.
A little history is in order. Don't worry, it's only a little! In 1920, a national Constitutional ban on alcoholic beverages was signed into law in the United States. Alcohol was thought at the time to be a major social vice, and so it was made illegal. Of course, that didn't really stop any dedicated drinkers, and instead of turning the country into a utopia, it opened the door to organized crime and booze cartels, the creation of speakeasies, and had other interesting effects on the drinking culture. But one thing it didn't do was keep Americans from drinking.
The United States admitted that it was wrong thirteen years later, starting on April 7th, 1933. That's when a ban on alcohol was partially lifted, allowing for beer with an alcohol content of 3.2 percent or lower (thought too low to be intoxicating) to be sold in so-called "wet" states. (Prohibition was fully repealed December of that year.)
And the country rejoiced!
It rejoiced so much, as a matter of fact, that it never really stopped. Now we have beer culture (with more than 3,300 brewers in the U.S., a thriving industry that brings approximately $253 billion into our economy every year) and Wine Country and cocktails and, oh yeah, things like San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, none of which would have been possible but for some far-thinking politicians who reversed the ban on alcohol.
So, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate April 7th (also called New Beer's Day.) If you're feeling like a beer, it's right in the name. Open one up and celebrate with some friends! But if you're feeling more historical, try a French 75, one of the more enduring cocktail recipes to come out of Prohibition. We're sure you'll find it absolutely delicious. Or what the heck, why not mix the two and try a delicious beer cocktail on for size? The ideas are absolutely endless.
Oh, and hug a local brewer today. They've been through a lot!
Brooke B., Molly Pitcher
You know that we've spent a long time trying to give our customers and clients the best experience possible when we're out on our beer, wine, and food tasting tours. We have been working hard for years now to figure out what everybody needs.
After meeting with focus groups, tech support teams, and public relations agencies, we're happy to unveil our new Wine Beds. We know you probably don't want to leave after you're done with a tour with us, and now you never have to! We placed them on all our tour vehicles, so that if you decide you want to stay longer, you can take a nice nap and return to taste with us refreshed!
Our new car-bed prototype on its way to its inaugural test! Photo courtesy Flickr/Ed Kohler.
As we'll be renting out the beds in fifteen-minute increments, there will be a minor fee for each nap, and only one person at a time can use each bed to cut down on awkward misunderstandings, but we really feel that this will truly maximize your enjoyment of our services.
"I'm so happy that I got that half-hour in between tastings," said Avril Feules-Dei, 28, who recently tried our mattress prototype on one of our train tours. "I was able to return to the meal relaxed, refreshed, and ready for whatever the world threw into my mouth next."
"It was completely worth the extra $50 for those fifteen minutes!" enthused 32-year-old Joe King. "What a great nap!"
"At first, climbing up on top of that van, I had my doubts," confessed tourist Itza Prainck, 63. "But what a rush it turned out to be, especially when I woke up while we were on the freeway! I've always wanted to do that."
The beds are affixed to the top of our chauffeured vans and shaded by high-quality tarps. All you need to do is climb on up and get some rest in the fresh California air and then you'll be ready for anything — and if we have to drive anywhere while you're in dreamland, you'll still be with us! Just hop on up, tie yourself in, and snooze until you're ready to join us on our next tasting.
We're still testing the train prototype, but we'll get back to you just as soon as we figure out how to get the mattresses to stay put.
We hope you enjoy our latest addition to the San Diego Beer and Wine Tours family. Sweet dreams!
We have seen 2016 from the New Year all the way into springtime, and with all the rain we've been seeing thanks to a friendly El Niño, this is a particularly hale and hearty spring. The air smells like orange blossoms and our lawns are a little (well, a lot) greener than they were this time last year!
Spring comes with its own particular rituals, which we call, unoriginally, the Rites of Spring. In San Diego, that means going to the beach more as the weather warms, heading to the desert to see the blooms, and the big one, which we love and hate in equal measures: Daylight Saving Time.
When you "spring forward" with Daylight Saving, you're not just waking up an hour earlier. You're gaining an hour of daylight in the evening. Why is that important? Because that's an hour more of light that you can use sightseeing in beautiful San Diego, whether you live here or you're just visiting. That's also more flower-fragrant daylight you can use for adventures for you and guests on one of our wine and food walking tours!
Did you know that in addition to our beer, wine, and food tours, we also offer tea, coffee, and dessert on our walking tours? Perfect for springtime! If there's a better way to usher in the season than spending a warm and longer day near the ocean sampling delicious food and drink, we'd love to hear about it.
Springtime is here and it's time to celebrate, so book your rite of spring tour with us today! "Spring" forward with us. It's worth it! And don't forget to change your clocks.
Brooke B., Light Saver
Photo Courtesy: Lauren Manning/Flickr
Happy Leap Day!
This special day only comes around once every four years, and it originates from Roman times, when then-emperor Julius Caesar decided to add an extra day to the year periodically to make up for discrepancies in the calendar. The tradition started in 45 B.C.E., which means that leap days have been around even longer than our current calendar.
Because leap years are relatively unusual, recurring only twice a decade, February 29th has an air of the mysterious and the unusual about it. Businesses that are started on this day are supposed to be successful, according to legend; another legend states that this is the day women can propose to men (that's an old one though, of course — women proposing to men nowadays raises nary an eyebrow, although it's still generally customary for marriage-minded men to make the proposal.)
Antiquated customs aside, Leap Day is still a special day. It's February 29th, after all, and that demands something special. Since we are of the mindset that every special occasion should be celebrated with delicious food and drinks, we dug up this Leap Day cocktail:
It combines 29 millilitres each of Pisco, Campari, and Lillet, two dashes of Angostura Bitters, and a couple of icecubes. Swirl and enjoy!
If you'd really rather have a beer, we've got your back on that one, too. A number of breweries across the country have planned events for this very day, and if you really feel like pulling out the stops, Philadelphia's 2SP Brewing puts out Hop Leap IPA today, and Untappd put out a special badge for this exact day. If wine's more your thing, we couldn't find any especially leap year specific tipples, but we did find a handy list of leap-themed wines.
Hopefully, you now feel prepared for the unusual fun that will undoubtedly come your way tonight. Happy celebrating, and happy Leap Beer! Or Leap Year! Oh, whatever, we'll drink to them both. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow will be March.
Leap Day Lovely
Bon soir, mes amis! It's almost time for one of our favorite days, Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras (same thing, but French.) The holiday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, which signifies the beginning of Lent; that means it's a great excuse to party.
You don't need to be in New Orleans to enjoy yourself, though. San Diego's beer scene is the stuff of legend, but its food and wine are great, too. Also, there's a pretty rockin' music scene here, so it's not too difficult to find places to really get into the Mardi Gras mood by getting your zydeco on.
But you need a guide if you venture out on Mardi Gras, whether you're a San Diego lifer or you're visiting for a weekend. One who knows the byways and secret alleys of the town, all the best places to have a meal and a glass of wine or beer, and then find a great spot to dance the rest of the night away (or watch others do the same.)
That's us! We possess esoteric knowledge about where to find the best places, and most importantly, the tastiest food and drink you'll find anywhere. Mardi Gras is all about having a good time, so come with us and let the good times roll!
Restaurant Week has arrived!
It’s one of San Diego’s best events, now in its twelfth year: all over the county, restaurants of every stripe participate in prix-fixe menus and specials. That means that if you like to eat well (and who doesn’t?) you can not only get some of the best value for your dollar this week, but discover new and exciting places to dine as well.
San Diego has always had its spots to get good food, but in the past year or two, it has begun taking its rightful place in the pantheon of “eater’s cities” across the world, joining all the other places you can get a wonderful meal — but still using recipes and ingredients that feature the best of our unique geographic and ethnic diversity.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have long been champions of restaurant week, because we feel that the food scene here is underrated and always evolving, and deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Plus, wine and beer are great, there’s no denying that, but pairing them often and well is an art, which takes your tasting experiences to new, unforeseen heights. That’s why we love taking you to restaurants!
Whether you’re here for a visit or if you’re a San Diego lifer, whether you’re an experienced eater or you’re not sure where to start on your tasting adventure, we want to be part of it! Give us a call for some pointers about San Diego’s great food scene (especially if you want to sample some of our region’s fine wine or wonderful craft beer) or schedule a tour. Tasting is so much more fun with other good company!
Oh yes, and for more information on San Diego Restaurant Week, visit their official website: www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com. This time around, it runs through January 24th.
Brooke B., Official Taster
If you're in San Diego, you probably have noticed the fact that it is raining. Not just any rain, either — it's a true-blue El Niño, one storm after another lined merrily up to dump some long-overdue moisture on our parched and cracking soil.
While the rain is undeniably good for everyone in the region, it can put a damper (pun intended) on outdoor activities. The animals are almost all in hiding at the San Diego Zoo, walking around Sea World is a chore, and hiking up a steep and muddy hill? Forget about it.
But, of course, that's what we are here for. Whether you're visiting or you live here, we have delightful and delicious ideas for your activities, all of which, of course, involve wonderful wines, lip-smackingly delicious beers, and some of the best food you've ever had anywhere to pair with it.
We understand that the last thing you probably want to do in one of America's sunniest cities is traipse around in the rain. But we wouldn't make you do that. We'll just come pick you up or meet you, and then take you on a warm, dry tour of the best breweries, wineries, and restaurants in beautiful San Diego.
Brooke B., Rainy Day Friend
Mardi Gras is almost here!
This is one of the best times of year to be a lover of food and drink. It’s related to Carnaval, which comes from the phrase “carne vale,” or “farewell to the flesh,” and in the Christian calendar is the time of feasting before the self-deprivation of Lent begins.
The Mardi Gras feasting and partying day is also known as Shrove Tuesday, the day that precedes Ash Wednesday. Both days are known as “moveable feast” days, which got their name because their dates move throughout the year in relation to Easter Sunday, which is always held on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere’s spring equinox.
That’s a mouthful, so to speak. But we love moveable feasts so much that’s what we do! Every tour we take you on is a moveable feast, because there’s so much deliciously good food and drink in San Diego that we can’t limit you to just one place. That’s why we have our train tours as well as our walking and chauffeured tours. We can’t choose just one.
Best way to celebrate Mardi Gras? Book one of our February tours, and laissez les bon temps rouler! We’ll even find you a chicory coffee and a beignet to wash it all down, but you may have to bring your own beads if you want some lagniappe.
Happy Fat Tuesday!
Brooke B., Krewe member