Light Bites, Big City

By Ida Rosenberg / Photos by Brevin Blach

To help Finest City folks get their fill of holiday cheer while raising awareness and funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, seven local radio stations (see sidebar) and San Diego 6 television are teaming up to bring a thousand holiday diners and shoppers downtown.

All the hoopla? It's Toast of Downtown , a food-driven, cocktail-and-beer-infused dining/mingling/shopping tour of 24 restaurants and bars and 24 retail stores in the Gaslamp and East Village on Saturday, December 13.

"The Toast of Downtown has every opportunity to become San Diego's official kickoff of the holiday social season," says the Gaslamp Quarter Association's Executive Director, Jimmy Parker.

"The Gaslamp Quarter Association Board of Directors continues to focus on the growth of true urban retail in the Gaslamp and the surrounding area, especially during the holidays. Their support of Toast of Downtown continues their leadership in the campaign to make downtown the premiere destination for the holiday season."

Each of the event's participating restaurants will offer foodies samples of their culinary offerings, showcasing local ingredients and cuisines that span the globe. From the award-winning Lotus Thai to the Greek Fusion fare at Meze to the ever-popular Mexican food at La Puerta to chef Chad White's Baja Med stylings at the new Común, the event promises to appeal to nearly every taste.

And then there's the "Toast" part of the equation.

In addition to spotlighting their popular dishes, all participating restaurants and bars are offering ticketholders cocktails made with Henebery Whiskey, a San Diego-born spirits company (see "Here's Mud in Your Eye," page 108), and a variety of beers to sample.

Between visits to the two dozen Gaslamp and East Village restaurants and bars, Toast of Downtown sippers/shoppers will enjoy two-dozen-percent (24 percent, to be exact) discounts at two dozen downtown stores, hence the event's tagline: Dozen it feel good.

"This is a great opportunity to get people out of the malls and see all the unique shops, restaurants and bars that we have in East Village while helping a great cause," says Lisa Len, Executive Director of the East Village Association. "We have a creative, entrepreneurial vibe, and the Toast of Downtown is a great way to showcase that to an audience."

It's as if the whole city is coming together to devour the holidays. Highlighted here is just a sample of what so many will be savoring during Toast of Downtown. Cheers!

For event tickets and to see the complete list of participating restaurants, bars and stores, visit toastofdowntown.com.

*Participating radio stations: Channel 933, Star 94.1, Easy 98.1, 100.7 JACK FM, 101 KGB, 95.7 KISS-FM, Easy 98.1, 101 KGB-FM and KFMB-AM 760.

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