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Encinitas Rotarian Rich Houk and Sandy Houk are co-chairs of the annual Wine & Food Festival, which will be at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course June 4. File photo by Frank Mangio
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Lick the Plate: Encinitas Rotary Food & Wine Festival coming up June 4

There is no shortage of culinary festivals these days in San Diego yet the one that seems rise above the crowd year after year is the Rotary Food & Wine Festival.

Now in its 13th year, I can recall it being one of the first types of events I attended and being super impressed by the quality of the restaurants, wineries and breweries.

The event is in a new location this year at the beautiful Encinitas Ranch Golf Course that will provide amazing ocean views to match the food and wine. I caught up with event co-chair Sandy Houk to find out more about the event.

First off, for folks that are unfamiliar, what is the Rotary Club all about?

Rotary International was founded in Chicago 1905.  Rotary does many Service Projects around the world, so much so that Rotary’s reputation attracted presidents and prime ministers attention.  Rotary’s most recent project, End Polio Now (started in the ‘80s) will achieve Polio eradication globally!  There is only one country in the world left with Polio. Polio is set to be eradicated in 2018.  The Rotary International motto is, “Service Above Self.”

What does Rotary do in our local communities?  

San Diego County has 65 Rotary Clubs.  Each club works in its community.  Encinitas Rotary has many projects.  Encinitas Rotary participated in Rotary at Work Day; it is the official Rotary Day of Work worldwide.  Encinitas Rotary went to the Griset branch San Dieguito Boys and Girls club to do a campus clean up and farm clean up.  We believe it is very important to teach youth about how to grow food and harvest it.  Encinitas Rotary funded over $10,000 in scholarships awarded to Encinitas High School students.  Encinitas Rotary believes if you can help your neighbor, you are truly providing Service Above Self.

Who are the beneficiaries of the Food & Wine event?

This year we have 18 beneficiaries that focus on either children’s charities or community charities and are all 501c(3) organizations. The groups involved are Cardiff Soccer League, Diegueno Middle School Band Booster, Encinitas Educational foundation, Encinitas Rotary Foundation, Friends of Joshua in Malawi, Jonathan Tarr Foundation, La Costa Canyon Music Boosters, MAEGA, Magdalena Ecke YMCA, San Diego North Coast Singers, Encinitas Historical Society, Intrepid Shakespeare, Military Musters, North County Lifeline, Pacific Southwest Community Development Corporation, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, San Dieguito Heritage Museum, Solana Beach Eco Rotary.

You are holding it at a new location this year that has some amazing views, tell me about that. 

This year the event is being held at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, 1275 Quail Gardens Dr. The course has expansive beautiful landscaping and sweeping ocean views.

There are also a really nice variety of restaurants participating, who do you have lined up this year?

We have an amazing variety of local restaurants and markets providing food. West Steak and Seafood, Vigilucci’s, Promiscuous Fork, Amore Cheesecakes, Eve Encinitas, Bushfire Kitchen, El Nopalito, Encinitas Rotary Home Team, Seaside Market, Rimels- Zenbu, Gaglione Bros, Isabelle Briens French Pastry café, Ki’s Restaurant, Jimbo’s Naturally, Lazy Acres Market, Pei Wei, Lumberyard Tavern, Paulman Acre Smoked Pepper Sauce, Sadie Rose Bakery, Chick-fil-A Encinitas, Souplantation, Yummy Cupcakes and The Flavor Chef.

Wineries and breweries will be pouring as well, who is in that mix?

This list continues to grow as well and includes Ballast Point, Coomber Family Ranch Wines, Artifex Brewing, Jefferson’s Bourbon, Falkner Winery, Fallbrook Winery, Four Brix Winery, Latitude 33, Lost Abbey, Meritage Wine Market, Gold Coast Mead, Pizza Port, Quigley Fine Wines, Robert Renzoni Vineyards, Rudi Wiest Selections, Robert Green Vineyards, Sleeping Indian Vineyard, Solterra Winery & Kitchen, Sparrow Hawk, St Petersburg vodka, Stone Brewing, Vindemia Vineyard & Winery, Tequila Fortaleza, Witch Creek Winery, Wiens Family Cellars, Wilson Creek Winery, Beach House Winery

I remember some stellar musical talents from past events, who will be performing?

Music is always a highlight of the event and this year we have Peter Sprague performing at the VIP party and Endangered Speciez Band will perform on the main stage.

Anything else you would like to add?

Yes, we have a great raffle that has five categories (dinner, family fun, home/garden, fitness, wine) and each has a value of $1,000 so a total of $5,000 in raffle prizes. There is also a silent auction with many wonderful trips and items. Each beneficiary provides all the auction items and we have many beautiful items for auction.

Tickets for this year’s event are available at

David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at [email protected] or (858) 395-6905.