A few months back, I met up with Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Executive Program Director Carris Rhodes to talk about how we could work together to promote this year’s event outside of the standard interview or listing of participating restaurants. The brainstorming began and the topic of participating bands came up and that made me think of the music episode of Lick the Plate on KPRI where I talk music with my guests including their first concert, dream concert lineup, and memorable shows through the years. Somewhere out of that the idea hatched to get bands that are performing in the Taste to perform songs about performing restaurants. A great idea but the task of selecting, contacting and coordinating bands to participate seemed a daunting task given both of our busy schedules. That’s when it’s great to have a Leucadia 101 board member like Michael Schmidt who is a concert promoter extraordinaire and very connected to the participating bands. Michael made a few calls and the next thing we knew we were good to go.
Next thing I know we had four bands lined up to record over the course of an afternoon at my home studio and I was about to be blown away by what was coming my way. First up was local icon Semisi from Semisi and FulaBula and also accomplished solo performer. I’ve seen Semisi perform dozens of times over the years, most notably at the old Calypso Café and it was always a joyful performance that got people dancing immediately. Semisi arrived with his guitar and launched into his ditty about Le Papagayo that is still stuck in my head…in a good way. You will notice that’s a common theme among these songs.
The wildly talented Sister Speak that consists of Sherri-Anne and Lisa Viegas who hail from Vancouver, British Columbia but have made San Diego their home. They arrived with a guitar and various percussion instruments and sang a beautiful song called “Down at the Pannikin” that truly captured the essence of our local treasure. I could seriously see this song as a full-length track on their next album.
Leucadia local and immensely talented Cleopatra Degher showed up with her acoustic guitar in hand and a song she had penned about Fish 101 that just about brought a tear to my eye. Not so much because it was a sad song, she was singing about the joys of fresh fish, but because her delivery was so heartfelt and passionate. A line that stuck out went “come with me hun, to Fish 101”. You will have to check out the full version as she totally kills it.
So, one of requests as the originator of this concept was that I wanted to collaborate on a song with one of the bands about a participating restaurant. And not just any restaurant, but one with plenty of soul, character, and funk, because remember folks, Keep Leucadia Funky is a tagline that goes way back and that must be included in any plans for beautification and gentrification. Well Captain Keno’s sure fit that bill and I was teamed up with Tim Flood and we began out collaboration. That’s the beauty of working with really talented musicians, you can throw a very loose concept their way and they run with it. My initial email to Tim was along the lines of, OK, here are the elements that come to mind to me for Kenos. Chicken fried steak, $2.99 spaghetti, cheap drinks, hipsters and locals, the song Ride Captain Ride, can you work with that? Well work with that he did and the result was outstanding.
Those sessions were what Taste of Leucadia is all about. An eclectic group of folks coming together over music, food, the ocean and our little slice of paradise. You can check out all the songs at www.lick-the-plate.com.
So on to the details of the event. A wide array of Leucadia restaurants, San Diego’s best craft breweries, wineries and local musicians make up the Taste this year. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. and last until 8:30 p.m., with many attendees continuing the merriment at our local bars and restaurants once the event is over. They have a record number of tastes and beverage sips available to ticket holders, with 18 local restaurants participating and 13 San Diego craft breweries and wineries sampling the finest of what they have to offer.
Those without tickets are welcome to come down and enjoy the live music, which is free at several locations along the culinary trail, plus live poetry in Leucadia Roadside Park. Taste of Leucadia Tickets are $20 in advance ($25 event day), and tickets with Sip Stops (craft beer/wine tasting included) are $33 in advance ($40 event day).
This year the event will be eliminating waste by giving each Sip Stop tickets holder a commemorative tasting cup that they can take home as a souvenir. Additional green elements include an eco shuttle that runs on biofuel, which will transport attendees from the upper parking lot of the Encinitas City Hall (505 S. Vulcan) to the heart of the event. The shuttle also eliminates a parking hassle, and they highly recommend taking advantage of it! Call 760-436-2320; buy tickets at Leucadia101.com.