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Fare Thee Well

From throw-downs to fine dining, our calendar is lighting up with some of the best food events in San Diego on the schedule. On the menu? Just a few of our favorites: the city’s best tacos, a carnivore’s dream dinner, and an Asian street food festival that will remind you why the Convoy district is on every S.D. foodie’s don’t-miss list.

Elegant presentation is part of the scorecard when top chefs battle it out Sept. 26 at the ninth annual Chef Showdown benefiting CCS.

Last year, Hector Casanova, the chef mastermind of Casanova’s Fish Tacos (the name says it all), took the crown at the inaugural Taco Throwdown benefiting S.D.’s own Front Burner Fund. Tommy Gomes—arguably San Diego’s most famous fishmonger, who hosted the event at Bay Park’s Catalina Offshore Products—wept. Casanova defends his crown Sept. 22 at Catalina against Gomes and more than a dozen other chefs who’ll bring their interpretation of S.D.’s favorite street food (expect fish, yes, but also more exotic versions, like lamb belly). Diners nosh on tacos, side dishes and desserts and cast their vote for the winner. Proceeds go to the Fund, that helps back-of-the-house restaurant staff—the unsung heroes of the culinary world—with emergency medical bills. Totally bite worthy. Tickets from $10, Sunday, Sept. 22, Catalina Offshore Products, brownpapertickets.com

Got that smoking jacket handy? When the Masters of Food & Wine returns to the Park Hyatt Aviara on Sept. 22, such dandy duds will seem de rigueur as guests indulge in single malt Scotch, vintage Macanudo cigars and enough rib-eye to send certain cardiologists into defib. The Masters series is held quarterly at the Carlsbad resort, always featuring seasonal and locally inspired menus. The evening kicks off on the terrace with pours from Glenfiddich, Maccallan, Highland Park and Balcones before adjourning to the property’s Argyle Steakhouse for the four course meal. Cigars? After dinner, of course. Tickets from $125, Sunday, Sept. 22, Park Hyatt Aviara, parkaviara.hyatt.com

In between such foodie adventures, take a pause to pay homage to tequila, arguably S.D.’s signature spirit. The first ever Tequila Fest will be held Sept. 26 at Hiatus Lounge at the Hotel La Jolla. Get your “passport” stamped as you sample agave from Olmeca Altos, Clase Azul, Corralejo, Casa Noble, Espolon, Partida and Fortaleza—a completed passport enters you into the evening’s drawing featuring…drumroll, please…booze! Worried about imbibing so liberally on an empty stomach? Fret not. Chef Donald Lockhart, one of our favorites, who helm’s the hotel’s resto-with-a-view, Cusp, will roll out bites for the evening. Tickets from $10, Sunday, Sept. 22, Hiatus Lounge at Hotel La Jolla, cusprestaurant.com

It’s one of S.D.’s favorite culinary traditions and your opportunity to watch teams of top toques battle it out, Iron Chef style, at an event benefiting the Center for Community Solutions. The CCS Chef Showdown fires up Thursday, Sept. 26, at the NTC Promenade. Participating? Cucina Urbana, George’s at the Cove, Grant Grill, La Villa, The Shores… It’s a who’s-who of top talent. Sam the Cooking Guy and the Food Network’s own Marcela Valladolid (Mexican Made Easy) emcee this fundraiser for CCS, that seeks to end sexual and relationship violence. Tickets from $125, Thursday, Sept. 26, NTC Promenade Point Loma at Legacy Plaza, ccssd.org

If noshing your way through an Asian street market isn’t on your bucket list, you haven’t fully considered the truly life-altering nature of such a food fest. If it is on your bucket list but, dang it, Hanoi (Bangkok, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai…) is just so far away, rejoice! Sept. 28 marks the first-ever San Diego Night Market, an open-air, don’t-miss experience to be held outside Zion Marketplace in the Convoy district. Expect an eye-opening, taste-bud-tantalizing extravaganza with vendors representing the best of the region, to be discussed and dissected ad nauseum for days—weeks, months!—after by every foodie you know. Free, Saturday, Sept. 28, Zion Market, sdnightmarket.com