DEL MAR — Summer started early for North County residents at the Del Mar Village Association’s Summer Solstice tasting event June 17.
A sold-out crowd gathered at Del Mar’s Powerhouse Park for the highly anticipated annual event that featured offerings from top restaurants, wineries and breweries. The sun slowly set over the ocean, providing a beautiful backdrop to the exclusive evening out.
“Wasn’t that sunset great? We planned that!” joked the association’s executive director, Jen Grove. “It couldn’t have been any nicer.”
Guests were treated to cool ocean breezes, live atmospheric music and unbeatable food from Del Mar’s top restaurants, including Sbicca, whose braised beef short ribs with mashed potatoes earned rave reviews from the crowd.
Just a few tables away, diners received a crash course on how to properly eat crawfish from Chef Randy Gruber of Americana Restaurant. He joked around with guests as they timidly cracked open the shellfish to enjoy the well-seasoned meat inside.
L’Auberge Del Mar’s Kitchen 1540 served up a yogurt and goat cheese panna cotta, topped with a mixed berry sangria soup and frozen English peas. The refreshing dessert had guests returning to the table for seconds and thirds.
“The weather is perfect, the food is amazing, there’s a great sunset — what more could you ask for?” said Diane Strang, who was joined by friends Patti Stanley and Betty Blair.
California’s best wineries and breweries were also on hand and kept the drinks flowing as they poured samples of their many varieties.
Friends Michael Benziger and Benjamin Flajnik showed off a sauvignon blanc from their label Evolve. Representatives from Stone Brewing Company and Leonhardt Vineyards, among many others, also provided samples that pleased the crowd.
“This is bigger and better than last year’s — it’s great,” said Cap Pinney, who has lived in Del Mar with his wife Julie for more than 35 years. “We’ve been to almost every one.”
Guests were also encouraged to check out and bid on a variety of silent auction items, which included spa treatments and personal training sessions, to benefit the association.
Del Mar has been hosting the annual summer kick off event for the last 15 years. Guests have enjoyed the Summer Solstice’s current location right by the ocean for the past four years since relocating from the Del Mar Plaza, Grove said.
“The weather cooperated this year and it was a great event,” Grove said.
Proceeds from the annual event aid in the association’s revitalization efforts of the village of Del Mar. For more information, visit www.delmarmainstreet.com.