Taste Test

??Chef Showdown
WHEN: October 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Liberty Station, Point Loma
TICKETS: $125
INFO: 858.272.5777, ccssd.org

It's not hard to get Brian Malarkey excited about cooking, especially when he's talking about events where chefs are competing ladle-to-spatula.

On October 6, the Bravo Top Chef finalist and chef/partner in Searsucker (Gaslamp) and Burlap (Del Mar) restaurants will co-host the seventh annual Chef Showdown, with his buddy Sam Zien (aka Sam the Cooking Guy).

Malarkey says he's hot to chill with some of the town's top chefs.

"It's a wonderful night to hang out with some of San Diego's premier chefs," he says. "And believe it or not, not only are they good chefs, but they're great people."

San Diego's very own version of Iron Chef will pit chefs from Bali Hai, El Vitral, Harney Sushi and Sea Rocket Bistro against each other and their counterparts from other leading eateries in nose-to-nose competitions on the historic Promenade at point Loma's Liberty Station. Judges include well-known chefs and local restaurateurs Bernard Guillas (Marine Room, La Jolla), Ingrid Croce (Croce's restaurant and jazz bar, Gaslamp), Joe Busalacchi (Busalacchi's, Hillcrest) and Michelle Lerach (CUPS, La Jolla).

Proceeds benefit the Center for Community Solutions' mission to help prevent sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse.
- David Nelson


Wine Receiver

Chargers kick-off what's sure to be a grape season

The San Diego Chargers have had some vintage seasons-1981's epic playoff victory against the Miami Dolphins and the team's 1994 Super Bowl appearance springing to mind.

Now, the franchise has a new vintage to cheer about: its own Cabernet Sauvignons and Sauvignon Blancs to toast each touchdown and game-winning interception.

Produced by Napa Valley-based Bell Winery, Chargers Legacy wines are sold in bottles bearing the blue and yellow shield logo the team used from 1961 to 1973. The wine, available for purchase at local retailers and at Qualcomm Stadium during games, was developed to commemorate more than 50 years of Chargers football.

South African-born winemaker Anthony Bell says the wines are "designed to be enjoyed by both the serious and casual wine drinker."

The first in the series, a 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet, contains 80 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and lesser amounts of Petit Verdot, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec. The deep ruby beverage boasts a fruity nose rich in cherry, cassis and blackberry aromas.

Bell says the versatile vino "pairs wonderfully with steaks," while its "fruit-forward nature" also makes it a suitable accompaniment to tailgating staples like barbeque ribs and hamburgers.

Bell's partners in Bell Wine Cellars include A.G. Spanos Co., parent company of the San Diego Chargers (another nice pairing).
-David Nelson

Stick A Cork In It

North Park eatery offers solution for weeping on the job

Rather than alienating coworkers with sob stories by the water cooler, complain about work to a larger audience while sipping $10 flights of quality vino at West Coast Tavern in North Park. Every Monday after 4 p.m., West Coast's "Wine About the Work Week" event welcomes workplace whiners to pen poison prose about their bosses, fellow employees and other working woes. The expressions of job-related angst, written on-site or in advance, are entered in a contest that rewards the most caustic complaint with a West Coast gift card.
-David Nelson

West Coast Tavern
2895 University Ave., North Park

619.295.1688, westcoasttavern.com

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