Gallery: 10 Best Bites from the San Diego Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting

Banana Caramel Cream
Banana Caramel Cream

Rachel King of Searsucker (and just-launched BaKING Co) charmed sugar lovers with her caramel banana cream dessert, topped with a mini macaron.

Hamachi
Hamachi

Contrasting textures were at play in Craft & Commerce's contribution to the festival. Thinly sliced hamachi was topped with pickled mustard seeds and sea urchin purée (uni-spiked whipped cream).

Savory Crepe
Savory Crepe

Urban Solace's savory crepe topped with beef cheek, sweetbreads and a take on mole was one of the most inventive bites of the day.

El Dorado Cocktails
El Dorado Cocktails

El Dorado was slinging the tastiest cocktails of the festival, without question. The only question was which whether the mule or raspberry concoction was best (my vote goes to the former).

Meatballs and Caprezanella
Meatballs and Caprezanella

Urbn served up their Caprezanella salad (heirloom tomato, cucumber, red onion, fresh mozzarella, croutons, and basil with red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing) and a meatball with ricotta and toasted baguette.

Shrimp Ceviche Tacos
Shrimp Ceviche Tacos

Ceviche is a pretty common sight at tasting events, but Saltbox one-upped anyone else serving a raw fish variant with their shrimp ceviche tacos. The dish featured diced shrimp marinated with plenty of lime juice is topped with a sweet pineapple salsa and encased in a crisp corn tortilla. If you missed it at the festival, it's available on the dinner menu.

Mini Desserts
Mini Desserts

Seasons 52 showcased their "mini indulgences" -- scaled down desserts in small plastic vessels. Available flavors included carrot cake, pecan pie, rocky road, and chocolate peanut butter mousse. This was one of the tables where having unlimited amounts of samples proved to come in very handy.

Braised Shortribs
Braised Shortribs

R-Gang Eatery had one of the best composed plates of the day. Butternut squash risotto with kale cozied up to braised shortribs with whipped goat cheese, cranberry chip, and horseradish demi-glace.

Burger and a Bourbon Shake
Burger and a Bourbon Shake

Marina Kitchen's brandt beef burger and bourbon caramel-spiked mini milkshake was a hit. An AHT review may be in order.

Coconut Curry Cashews
Coconut Curry Cashews

Hollister California-based Marich had one of the best spreads: an entire table filled with different types of chocolates, ranging from chocolate-covered fruit and caramels to these bright yellow cashews coated in red curry-spiked white chocolate with coconut. The curry flavor was mild, with a sweet panang-like tinge to it. You can order them online from the company, but only in bulk.