Chef's Choice Artisan Cheese Board from Wild Thyme Catering

Dollar A Dish: Catering

This year continues to be a year of firsts for the Dollar A Dish campaign. Not only did we add farmers market vendors and special events into the mix but we also had some generous catering companies here in San Diego want to get on board. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a backyard BBQ or taking a cruise out on the bay there are hundreds of excellent catering companies here in San Diego to help make your event a success but only TWO of them are also donating to Dollar A Dish!

With an innovative and fresh approach to catering, The Wild Thyme Company raises the bar for off premise catering in San Diego. Through creative custom menus and personalized event design, their goal is to create the perfect combination of their client’s taste and the Wild Thyme style. In addition to catering weddings and private events, this year they are the official caterer for the 2012 San Diego Polo Club summer polo season! Every Sunday they’re serving up specially-designed boutique bites for the fantastic crowds and when you order the artisan cheese board they’ll donate $1 to the Dollar A Dish Campaign, helping us feed hungry kids. It’s a chance of a lifetime to enjoy an entertaining game while feasting on delicious cuisine!

Indulge Contemporary Catering is a premier custom caterer specializing in weddings, events, and corporate accounts. Chef Flor Granados-Franco, along with her talented staff, offers you an extraordinary synergy of fine culinary arts, creative vision, extensive experience and exemplary service. From small social gatherings to grand soirees, each inspired creation is individually customized to fit your needs and lovingly executed with outstanding service and impeccable taste. We’re thrilled that this successful company is donating a portion of their proceeds in August to the Dollar A Dish campaign and we hope you’ll consider them for your next event!

St. Germain’s Bistro and Cafe Executive Chef Kaitlin Ramos at work in the restaurant’s kitchen.  Photo courtesy of Nino “Neens” Camilo

Dollar A Dish in Encinitas

Located along six miles of Pacific coastline in northern San Diego County, Encinitas is characterized by coastal beaches, quaint shops and sidewalk cafes and restaurants. It is also home to two Dollar A Dish participants.

Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, sister restaurant of Urban Solace in North Park, is situated in Pacific Station in the heart of downtown Encinitas. Executive Chef Matt Gordon and his team continue their tradition of creating hand-crafted food sourced from sustainable, artisan producer all in the spirit of “fun and good food.” The Braised Brandt Farm Beef Cheeks featured for Dollar A Dish exemplifies this tradition and is sure to melt in your mouth and have you coming back for more.

St. Germain’s Bistro & Café has been serving delicious, freshly prepared meals to countless satisfied diners in Encinitas since 1984. Executive Chef, Kaitlin Ramos, joined the team in 2011, and since then the restaurant has added a dinner service to their offerings. This month they are featuring Pan Seared Wild Alaska Salmon with roasted lemon vinaigrette, mixed green salad and roasted grapes for Dollar A Dish and will be donating $1 to the Backpack Program every time it’s sold in August. By that description we have no doubt that lots of you will be stopping by to try it, helping us feed hungry kids in San Diego!


Dollar A Dish: In the Neighborhood

San Diego is made up of more than 100 unique little neighborhoods. Each of these communities has a personality of its own and the restaurants and shops within their boundaries reflect the diversity among them.  The Food Bank is lucky to have Dollar A Dish participants representing several of these distinctive enclaves.


San Diego’s East Village began its journey into what it is today with the opening of PETCO Park in 2004.  If you’re taking in a ballgame or shopping in one of their boutiques this month we hope you’ll stop by TOAST Enoteca & Cucina or Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop for lunch or dinner. TOAST brings San Diego the cuisine, wine and intimate atmosphere of an authentic Italian experience and they are featuring their Lasagna Degli Asparagi.  The Cowboy Star is a repeat Dollar A Dish participant and this year they’re donating $1 every time someone order their 8oz. Filet. The Filet is “Natural” certified Angus beef aged for 21 days and will melt in your mouth.


North Park, east of Balboa Park, offers a dynamic mix of cafes, antique shops and art galleries as well as the city’s most up-and-coming “restaurant row.”  Carnitas Snack Shack, The Farmhouse Café, Ritual Tavern, and Urban Solace are all North Park favorites and Dollar A Dish participants.  Carnitas Snack Shack, lead by Chef Hanis Cavin is featuring their Shack BLT; applewood-smoked Duroc bacon, slices of crispy Black Forest ham, fresh butter lettuce, juicy vine-ripe tomatoes and Shack aioli all loaded up on some locally-baked Brioche toast. Yum! The Farmhouse Café features fresh French cuisine and this month they’re donating $1 every time the House-made fettuccine with Moroccan spiced lamb bolognese and lemon confit is ordered.  Ritual Tavern is featuring their Seafood Bouillabaisse.  And last, but definitely not least, Urban Solace is featuring their well-known Beef Cheeks.  Urban Solace was one of the founding restaurants of Dollar A Dish and we’re thrilled to have them and their delicious fare back for a fourth year!


Normal Heights is far from boring like the name might imply and its home to one of our extraordinary vendors, Viva Pops. This cool treat was inspired by the festive colors and flavors of traditional Mexican-style pops called “paletas.” Viva Pops are made with organic fruits and herbs, many of which are purchased from local growers and suppliers at San Diego farmers’ markets. Throughout August you can stop by and pick up a “Food 4 Kids” Pop for a refreshing taste of summer that’s sure to cool you down!


South Park and Golden Hill are right outside downtown and we’ve got a restaurant from each of these “Indie” neighborhoods. Urban Chicken opened in Golden Hill at the beginning of 2011 and has been creating healthy, organic “fast food” ever since. Owner, Chef Flor Franco is donating $1 for every whole chicken sold in the month of August. In South Park Alchemy is featuring the Sea Bass entrée; pan roasted sea bass with crispy skin served over caramelized fennel and topped with grape tomatoes, capers and basil. We caught them on camera sharing a little bit about the entrée and why their part of the Dollar A Dish campaign, but you’ll definitely want to check it out in person too.

Dollar A Dish: Alchemy from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.


La Jolla is one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in Southern California. With luxurious and historic hotels, fine dining, and shopping it’s no surprise that it’s known as the “jewel” of locals and tourists alike. We are thrilled that several La Jolla restaurants joined us this year. When you dine at Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar, Georges at the Cove, NINE-TEN Restaurant, Puesto Mexican Street Food, Rimel’s Rotisserie or Zenbu Sushi and order their featured dish they will be donating to the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.  Finch’sBistro is featuring their Catch of the Day so they’ll be something different to order every day. George’s has unbeatable ocean views and when you order the Date Salad at California Modern you’ll be helping out Food 4 Kids. NINE-TEN is donating $1 every time you order their NINE-TEN burger at the bar and Puesto is mixing it up and donating $1 each time you buy their Frozen Horchata, its sure to cool you down in this hot summer month.  Rimel’s Rotisserie and Zenbu Sushi are two more of our Dollar A Dish founding restaurants and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back again.  You can order the Sirloin Burger at Rimel’s or the Hot Rock at Zenbu and $1 will be donated.

Dollar A Dish: Finch’s Bistro & Wine Bar from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.


Whatever neighborhood you’re in there’s sure to be a spot nearby where you can satisfy your cravings for delicious food and help out hungry kids at the same time.

Tommy Gomes of Catalina Offshore Products at the Collaboration Kitchen

Dollar A Dish Events

Since its humble beginnings in 2009 with just a few restaurants on board, the Dollar A Dish fundraiser has grown in ways we could not have imagined.

This year the campaign not only includes restaurants, food trucks, caterers and farmer’s market vendors from around the county but it also features FOUR separate culinary events that will benefit the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. Each of these events is open to the public and allows you the opportunity to try some incredible food as well as the chance to learn from some of the best chefs in San Diego.

First up, The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar is donating part of the proceeds from its August 15 Chefs Market Dinner celebrating Julia Child’s birthday, featuring chef/writer and Food Network Star Amy Finley, author of How to Eat a Small Country, and The Red Door’s chef Miguel Valdez. Together you’ll walk through the Mission Hills Farmers Market beginning at 5:30pm and then head back to the restaurant for a meal made with your market finds. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at 619-295-6000 and are $48 per person for a four-course meal or $73 per person for a four-course meal with wine pairings.

Then at 6:00pm on August 26 Catalina Offshore Products, with support from Specialty Produce, is dedicating its August Collaboration Kitchen to the Dollar A Dish Campaign. It will be an evening filled with cooking, eating, socializing and educational seminars lead by guest chef, Mitch Conniff, and the Catalina Offshore crew. Mitch Conniff is the chef/owner of Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma. Mitch’s is a casual, waterfront Seafood restaurant specializing in the freshest, locally caught seafood. So bring a bottle of wine to share, an appetite, and dress warmly for a fun filled night of seafood & fresh produce education and tastings. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased in advance here.

And finally Fixtures Living and Chef Bridget Bueche are wrapping up the campaign in style for us with two events inspired by and benefitting the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. On Thursday, August 30, you are invited to take a culinary trip down memory lane with kid-inspired tastes that have adult attitude! Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by emailing Then on Friday August 31 from 12:30-2:30pm “Fixtures Friday” invites you to bring your kids in to learn how to craft healthy nutritious brown bag lunches. You’ll have a chance to create and taste new lunch ideas as well as a spot to decorate your lunch bags! Be sure to check out their website and events calendar for more information!

We are thrilled to have ALL aspects of the culinary community involved this year. Whether grown, created, served in a restaurant or dished up at the Polo field, it is ALL helping provide food for chronically hungry elementary students across San Diego County.

Sessions Dog from Sessions Public

Dollar A Dish: Taverns & Pubs

The popularity of craft beer is on the rise throughout the country and with 50 breweries in San Diego County it is no surprise that the area is also home to some excellent taverns and pubs as well.

Flying Elepant Pub is a quintessential American Pub with an excellent All-American selection of food and drinks. You can swing in to this casual spot some great beer or a Bacon Bloody Marys to go with your savory burger, loaded Tater Tots or Elephant bites. So if you’re in the mood for some live music along with your meal stop by FEP in Carlsbad and be sure to order the Elephant Burger because they’re donating $1 every time it’s sold in August. They’re giving you a sneak peek at this meal in the video below, but be careful because once you see it you’ll want to get in there to try it.

Dollar A Dish: Flying Elephant Pub & Grill from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.

Ritual Tavern is tucked into a little spot on 30th in the neighborhood of North Park. They have great beers on tap, a cozy pub atmosphere and contemporary gastropub fare.  Their locally sourced menu caters to all with delicious options for the carnivore as well as for those on a vegan or gluten-free diet.  But, best of all throughout the month of August Ritual Tavern will be donating $1 each time an order for the Seafood Bouillabaisse is placed. The tasty combination of mussels, scallops, local caught fish, tomato sauce, and market vegetable is sure to please your palate and helps feed hungry children too!

Sessions Public rounds out our selection of Dollar A Dish pubs, but its a popular spot to end with. This popular spot is nestled in between Point Loma and OB and effortlessly incorporates good food and great beer.  If you stop by anytime in August be sure to order the Sessions Dog to go with your brew, because when you do they’ll be donating $1 to the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.  Chef Chef Eric Meyers gives you a an idea of what waits for you if you stop by in the video below!

Dollar A Dish: Sessions Public from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.

The DUroc Pork Chop from The Wellington

Dollar A Dish: Mission Hills

The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar and the Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge are sister restaurants nestled into the perfect spot in Mission Hills. Owner Trish Watlington and Chef Miguel Valdez ensure that guests of both restaurants are treated to a feast of the senses, with fabulous décor and excellent cuisine.

Each restaurant utilizes fresh organic produce harvested from the Red Door Family Garden and are committed to locally sourcing from companies like Specialty Produce and Catalina Offshore Products whenever possible. It may cost a bit more but both Watlington and Valdez believe that doing so helps them create higher quality food that also benefits the community and those who work in it. Both of the dishes being featured as part of our Dollar A Dish Fundraiser  exemplify this very commitment, not only are they delicious but by ordering and eating either of them you’re supporting both local growers and the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.

The Red Door Restaurant’s featured dish is the Garden Vegetable Plate. This delectable dish features a plethora of the beautiful vegetables from the Red Door family garden. The garden chard & arugula house made fettuccini, topped with sautéed squash blossoms, seasonal garden squash, oyster mushrooms, brown butter sage, and parmesan is a perfect summer dish.

The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge featured dish is the Duroc Pork Chop with sautéed garden swiss chard & seasonal vegetable medley, garlic yukon mash, walnut cherry apricot chutney, and a port wine reduction. Paired with a garden cucumber martini it would be the perfect meal for an evening out on the town.

In addition to participating in Dollar A Dish, the Red Door Restaurant is donating part of the proceeds from its August 15 Chefs Market Dinner celebrating Julia Child’s birthday, featuring chef/writer Amy Finley, author of How to Eat a Small Country, and The Red Door’s chef Miguel Valdez. Together you’ll walk through the Mission Hills Farmers Market beginning at 5:30pm and then head back to the restaurant for a meal made with your market finds. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at 619295-6000 and are $48 per person for a four-course meal or $73 per person for a four-course meal with wine pairings. We hope to see you there!

For an even better look at the dishes check out the San Diego Living feature and you’ll get to see Chef Miguel present both dishes on camera, you won’t want to miss it!

‘Dollar a Dish’ Fundraiser Aug. 1 – 31 from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.

Assaggio di Primi Piatti from Acqua al 2

Dollar A Dish: Dining Downtown

The heart of every city lives in its downtown, and San Diego is no exception. San Diego’s thriving downtown district offers a plethora of options for accommodations, activities, and most importantly for Dollar A Dish, dining!

This year we are thrilled to have so many unique downtown restaurants joining us for Dollar A Dish. Many are returning supporters and some are joining the campaign for the very first time.

The original Acqua Al 2 Ristorante came to life in Florence in 1978 became an intimately loved dining establishment by world travelers, local Florentines, and international celebrities. Now with a location in San Diego the owners bring the same creative Tuscan cuisine and warm hospitality to our city. They are featuring the Assagio di Primi, a sampler of five first courses of the chef’s choice.

Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar has been a part of Dollar A Dish for several years and we are thrilled to have them back!  Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar pays tribute to Jim Croce and his music by serving delicious contemporary American cuisine and offering live music nightly to friends and visitors from around the world.This year they are generously featuring THREE dishes to benefit the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.  Each time the Watermelon or Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho or the Alaskan Halibut is ordered they will donate $1. The halibut is baked in a cilantro lime vinaigrette with pan roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed sliced asparagus spears and red pepper, with chipotle-cilantro pesto and citrus cream. Who wouldn’t want to try that?!

Cucina Urbana is a California inspired Italian Kitchen and Wine Shop. Owner Tracy Borkum’s flair for combining great ambience, award-winning cuisine makes it one of San Diego’s favorite spots.  As a long-time supporter of the food bank they are joining the Dollar A Dish campaign once again and will be donating $1 for the sale of any pizza, sold during lunch to the program during the month of August.

First Avenue Bar & Grill is nestled in the charming Bristol Hotel and while they always serve traditional classics, guests will constantly be pleasantly surprised with their nifty interpretations of American grill-inspired cuisine as well. They will be donating $1 for every sale of their pan-Roasted Halibut. Their halibut dish looks divine and is served with Knuske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, Chino Farms Creamed Corn, Wild Arugula, and Connelly Gardens Charred Tomatoes. You can even get a sneak peek at the dish in the video below!

Katsuya is truly a feast for the senses. With specialty cocktails, unique rolls and spectacular sushi and sashimi platters, the chef skillfully translates Japanese flavors to the American palate. They will be featuring one of their most popular items, their signature dish Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna.

Quality Social describes itself as a bar. With food. Executive Chef, Jared Van Camp uses fresh local ingredients to create a menu that’s both approachable and honest.  They joined the Food 4 Kids in full force this year and are featuring THREE dishes as well.  Diners can nosh on the Grilled Flatbread, Grilled Portabella Sandwich or the Chili Dog and $1 will be donated to the program. Below Chef De Cuisine Dustin Beckner gives you a look at all three of those tasty options in a quick video feature.

Saltbox is another newcomer and we couldn’t be happier to have them. This restaurant at the Hotel Palomar is all about local flavor, from the farm fresh ingredients that go into the menu, to the people who come through our door. They let you pull up a barstool, a table, a couch or a poolside cabana. They’re featuring one of their Small Plates, Oxtail Jam served with roasted tomato on malted bread toast.

Wherever you choose to dine downtown we’re sure you won’t be dispointed!

Dollar A Dish: Quality Social from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.

Dollar A Dish: First Avenue Bar & Grille from San Diego Food Bank on Vimeo.


Fleur De Sel Caramel from Praline Patisserie

Dollar A Dish: Farmers Market Finds

San Diego is well known for its fresh seafood, produce and organic products.  With over 50 Certified Farmers Markets in the county it seemed vital we include the vendor community in our Dollar A Dish Fundraiser  So if you’re not one for eating out, you can shop your local farmer’s market and still help out the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program!

Caxao Chocolates is joining the Dollar A Dish campaign for the first time and donating $1 each time the SOFIA75 (3.5oz) is sold in August. The fabulous confections from Caxao Chocolates are crafted using solely natural ingredients that have been meticulously chosen with an emphasis on their unique qualities and individual characteristics. Made with 75% dark chocolate with lavender, rose petals, pistachios, and strawberries, the Sofia75 exemplifies that commitment. To find where you can get yourself some of this fine chocolate click here.

Millie’s Gelato was founded here in San Diego County and is a celebration of all things delightful and delicious.  Their gelato is home-spun, hand-crafted, 100 percent natural and made from the finest raw, gluten-free, and vegan ingredients. We are thrilled that Chef Susan Sbicca will be donating $1 for every pint of vegan strawberry sherbet sold in august. (and $.50 per half pint too!) Be sure to get your Millie’s Strawberry Sherbert at your local farmer’s market to help you keep cool during this final summer month!

Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company is a local San Diego company dedicated to bringing you the freshest seafood to your local farmer’s markets.  For every dozen oysters sold in August, owner Mark Lane will be donating $1 to the Food Bank. You can find Poppa’s Fresh Fish at markets across the county on almost every day of the week. Check out their current schedule here.

Praline Patisserie is a local caramel company dedicated to taking the best ingredients sourced from all around the world and treat them with respect to create sweet morsels for everyone to enjoy.  We want you to enjoy the Fleur de Sel caramel because when you do they will be donating to the Food Bank.  Praline Patisserie and all their great products can be found at the Little Italy Mercado on Saturdays and the La Jolla Open Aire Market on Sundays.

Salt Farm is a gourmet sea salt company founded here in San Diego.  They offer fabulous salts both at their online store and at farmers markets across the county. Owner Tonya Youhanna is donating a dollar each time she sells a 5-pack Sampler.  Each sampler comes with a Black Truffle Salt, plus YOUR CHOICE of 4 other salts. For a schedule of where they’ll be and when click here.

Gateau Aileen

Dollar A Dish: Bakery Bliss

As part of the fourth annual Dollar A Dish fundraiser forty-three San Diego restaurants, gourmet food trucks, caterers and farmers market vendors are joining together for the month of August to support the Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.  The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program provides weekend backpacks filled with food to chronically hungry elementary school children who receive free school breakfasts and lunches during the week, but face hunger over the weekend when free school meals are unavailable. During the 2011-2012 school year, the program served children at 29 elementary schools throughout San Diego County. And this coming school year, the Food Bank will expand the program to 30 elementary schools.

Dollar A Dish 2012 promises to be the best year yet with many returning supporters as well as even more excellent new restaurant locations, including the addition of two top San Diego bakeries!

JennyWennyCakes, run by local talent Jenny Williams, features custom cakes, baked from scratch with the best ingredients, so that the cakes taste as good on the inside as they look on the outside. Not only does she create great custom cakes but you can order s ’mores, profiteroles, pavlovas, and the featured dish Hummingbird Cupcakes! Jennywennycakes will be donating $3 every time a customer orders a dozen Hummingbird Cupcakes or an 8″ cake. These cupcakes are a tasty combination of pineapple, banana, pecan, and coconut, so if you’ve got friends coming over for a BBQ or a luncheon to attend these would be the perfect dessert to bring along and you’d be helping feed San Diego children too!

Other delectable offerings can be found at Michele Coulon Dessertier they take pride in creating spectacular wedding cakes and desserts that are both appealing to the eye and tantalizing to the taste. Their desserts and savory offerings are made from the finest ingredients: fresh local organic produce, only real butter, and Belgian Chocolate. And, throughout the month of August they will be donating $1 every time they sell their most popular creation, the . This cake features hotmilk spongecake layered with fresh organic berries and a classic buttercream, frosted with Belgian white chocolate buttercream and shavings. We can’t wait to try it and hope that you do too!