Seafood and spirits await you Sunday in Little Italy


Up for something extraordinary this weekend? Kettner Exchange’s inaugural Seafood & Spirit Festival, aka KEX Fest, is set to make a big splash on Sunday by beginning a new tradition that’s sure to be a can’t-miss for seafood fanatics.

Dreamed up by visionary developer Matt Spencer, KEX Fest is outdoor seafood festival showcasing a selection of fine wine, craft beers and seductive spirits. The celebration will take place in Kettner Exchange’s Little Italy parking lot and on the adjacent rooftop patio of Devil’s Dozen Donut Shop and it promises to be a playground for fans of oceanic fare. Ticket holders can look forward to a sprawling array of seafood,
more than 15 boozy beverages, and loads of live music.

“KEX Fest is an interactive seafood wine and spirit event where you not only get to taste,” says Spencer, “but also learn. When you’re out at a restaurant, you don’t really get to interact with the beverage director or chef to hear about what you’re drinking and eating. I love the idea of drinking your wine while your chef cooks your meal and teaches you about it.”

Start by savoring inventive bites cooked up by KEX’s Chef Brian Redzikowski, then wet your whistle with any number of cocktails concocted by Beverage Director Steven Tuttle and his legion of hospitality heroes. Watch and learn as the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine, Nick Devries, prepares an entire tuna from start to finish, then serves it with a pour of exquisite Japan’s sake.

Sake not your style? Pick up a flute of Gérard Bertrand brut or the brand’s sparkling rose, or take a load off in the upstairs cabanas where award-winning craft beers are on tap. And if you’re seeking something with a bit more of a bite, Cutwater Spirits will offer sips of their unreleased spirits.

KEX Fest

When: 1-6 p.m. Sunday, April 9

Where: Kettner Exchange, 2001 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy


Then, if you’re craving some out-of-this-world ceviche, head next door to Devil’s Dozen’s rooftop patio and design your ideal appetizer at the made-to-order ceviche station. While you’re up there, treat yourself to a tasting of Herradura tequila and El Jolgorio Mezcal in Pow Wow Design Studio’s plush pop-up lounge, or order up a rum-inspired drink from a Caribbean-themed bar hosted by acclaimed mixologist Christian Siglin.

Interested in a more interactive experience? Put your cutting skills to the test in a hands-on sashimi demonstration, then try to find a hidden station serving steamed Chinese bao buns. Lip-smacking attendees are also welcome to grab a bucket of fresh seafood to be cooked over a wood-burning grill, then amble over to the oyster bar serving both Eastern and Western styles of the shelled delicacy. And those with a sweet tooth can also sample the latest confectionary creations from Devil’s Dozen.

Score your tickets to KEX Fest while you still can, and prepare to feast on some of the best seafood in San Diego. Sea you there!