San Diego’s music, comedy and food-focused KAABOO is a newcomer to the summer festival lineup (they’re only in their second year), but they’ve already made a name for themselves. When Aerosmith is one of your headliners, you’re clearly not messing around.
KAABOO is taking the same approach to their food lineup, bringing some of San Diego and Southern California’s best restaurants and chefs to the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds for the three-day festival. The Palate section of the festival features everything from a raw seafood bar and charcuterie cones, to make-your-own ramen and cinnamon toast crunch milkshakes.
Once you’ve had your fill of ‘90s nostalgia (Third Eye Blind, Goo Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray and Lenny Kravitz are all on the lineup, mixed in with current sounds from The Avett Brothers, Grouplove, Capital Cities and more), there are also chef demonstrations from SD’s own Richard Blais and LA taco titan Ray Garcia.
You won’t want to miss a thing. For more information and tickets, head to the KAABOO website here.
Buona Forchetta’s pizza has been drawing crowds for years, but we’re secretly hoping they bring their Pizza in a Jar with them for the weekend. Because any jar filled with burrata, tomato, and fried dough is a jar we want to get involved with.
Jinya knows what they’re doing when it comes to ramen, but do you? Because they’re bringing a make your own ramen bar with them to KAABOO. Gotta get that noodle to broth ratio right. If you’re not feeling so brave, they’ve got their Miso Tonkotsu Ramen and Kobe beef buns on offer too.
Conversations with barbecue-obsessed friends can devolve quickly into a debate over which corner of the Carolinas makes better sauce (a debate you actually don’t care about). Save yourself and head to the open-to-all-styles experts at Bugsy’s BBQ, who serve up everything from Texas-style brisket to Kansas City ribs.
A San Diego staple for street food-inspired Mexican, Puesto will be your BFF when you hit that mid-afternoon festival slump. Get some carnitas tacos in you and rally.
Jsix is one of those perfect-for-everything spots, with excellent brunch and date night situations. We expect their menu of updated spins on American classics will be just as perfect-for-everything at KAABOO.
Continuing the weekend’s theme of not your basic festival food, North Park will be offering their Borrego taco - that would be a pulled lamb, fried leeks and mushroom extravaganza that already has us planning a pit stop at their booth.
When a sandwich has the nickname Cardiff Crack, it’s probably going to be good. Seaside Market, located in the little beach town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea (nope, we’re not in England), is famous for the barbecue tri tip that goes into the addictive sandwich.
Right now, Hawaiian food means one thing: poke. Good thing The Lanai is bringing three types with them to the race track.
If you’re on Instagram (so, if you have eyes), you’ve seen The Milk Bar’s milkshakes all over your feed. Be strategic here: you probably don’t want to down one of these before you dance the evening away with Steve Aoki.
Caribbean, Indian, Asian, Latin and Southern soul food do not sound like things that should be together, but together they are at legendary Charleston food truck Roti Rolls and we are not mad about it. Where else could we have braised pork with Creole mac & cheese and kimchi, all wrapped in roti? Nowhere.
Sure, you’ve probably had some decent flatbread in your time. But until you’ve had Alforon’s house-made version, you haven’t really lived. These SD legends are closing down and moving their entire operation to KAABOO just for the festival weekend.
Making a road trip down from Northern California is restaurant and winery Ca’Momi, and they’re bringing some tasty pasta with them - anything with spot prawns and sea urchin is going to be just fine with us.
A music festival might not seem like the best place to be eating oysters, but most music festivals don’t have Beerfish. The San Diego spot has a New England feel about it, and will be rolling out a full raw bar for KAABOO.
Could there be a better hangover cure than fried rice? Ask us at 12pm on Saturday, after we’ve inhaled a bowl of Saiko Sushi’s Tokyo Dirty Fried Rice. There will also be plenty of hand rolls on deck, filled with whatever fish was freshest at the markets that day.
This is a fancy festival, so it makes sense that there’s charcuterie and truffles. Angel’s have put together an exclusive menu of open sandwiches and cheese platters, but obviously you’ll be getting the charcuterie cone.
You’ve just walked away from Third Eye Blind’s set and need to continue feeling like a teenager for another half an hour. Cream’s ice cream sandwiches have you covered.
If you were wondering what our ideal magic power is, it’s being able to go to Italy without leaving the country. Which is where Bottega Americano comes in. You won’t even have to leave Del Mar race track to pretend you’re in Rome.
Poseidon sits right on the beach in Del Mar, and is named after a sea god, so expect seafood, seafood, and more seafood - specifically clam chowder and pan seared Chilean sea bass.
From the Gaslamp District to Del Mar, Vegas, and now KAABOO, Searsucker is one of those casual places that takes food seriously. The restaurant mixes up familiar dishes - there’s duck in the pot pie and beer mustard with the steak tartare.
Javier Plascencia is Baja food - a kind of Mexican-Mediterranean fusion that’s jumped across the border from Tijuana to San Diego. He cooks up a storm at Bracero Cocina locally, but is taking over his own booth for KAABOO. Whatever he’s serving, you’re going to want in your belly.
SoCal flavors collide with Italian gelato - try the hazelnut, pistachio and almond Mediterraneo. Perfect for an afternoon cool-down.
Chocolate that’s made to pair with booze? We like your style, So Rich.
At a certain point (let’s say 2.30pm), you’re going to need some ice cream. Even better, one of Momenti’s alcohol infused treats.
Del Mar locals Swell are handling all the coffee across the festival. As well as giving you your morning caffeine hit, they’ll be serving up bourbon coffee ice cream sundaes with cold brew. No, you will not be sleeping tonight.
Some of Southern California’s biggest chefs will be on hand for demos through the weekend, including:
- Richard Blais, Juniper & Ivy and The Crack Shack
- Brian Malarkey, Searsucker
- Marcel Vigneron, Wolf
- Timothy Hollingsworth, Otium
- Ray Garcia, Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria
- Steve Samson, Sotto
- Josiah Citrin, Melisse and Charcoal
- Michael Fiorelli, Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt
- Mixology demos from Snake Oil Cocktails