A couple of months ago, at CityBeat's Chefs & Shakers Mash-Up event, Chris Burkett wowed us with a drink called the Fear & Loathing for which he let cassia-bark smoke fill each glass before adding a decadent blend of fortified wine, Oloroso sherry, hickory-smoked cola syrup and bitters. Burkett, who's the head bartender at Cusp (7955 La Jolla Shores Drive), is a cocktail wizard. See what we mean at the next installment of Cusp's World Cocktail Club Series on . This month's theme is Spanish cuisine, and Burkett and chef Donald Lockhart have teamed up to create a three-course pairing meal. Just check out the dessert: a cocktail called the Spanish Rose (Spanish rosado, fresh cantaloupe syrup, lemon juice and raspberries) paired with fried cinnamon pastries and spiced chocolate ice cream. Yum! Cost is $35 for three courses and cocktails; make a reservation at 858-551-3620. Can't make this one? Next month's cuisine ( ) is Italian.---
Anya Hall-Flores started Art in the Yard as a DIY way of getting her paintings in front of an audience. The annual event has grown from a tiny pop-up show in her front yard to a big public showcase featuring visual artists, musicians, food, vendors and spoken-word performances. This year's outdoor urban-art throw-down is happening at the edible green wonderland that is the Art Produce Garden (3139 University Ave., North Park) from . Artists include Rudy Flores (his"Thoughts of Nelson" piece is pictured), Terry Thelen, Demar Douglas and Old Man; vendors include Kiyyah's Kitchen and Little Seeds Big Trees; musicians include Hobie Givens, Trent Hancock and Miki Vale; and Sauce will host a spoken-word open mic. $2 suggested donation.
According to conventional wisdom about searing delicious meats on a grid of hot metal, grilling season lasts another month-though San Diego's weather pretty much ensures that it's a year-round activity here. Still, there's nothing like good barbecue during summer. As part of racing season events, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's hosting the Del Mar Grill Fest, featuring the savory creations of nearly two dozens restaurants and grillers, including Jo's Texas Brisket, Dickey's BBQ Pit, Cali Comfort and Devil Dogs BBQ. For $10 (plus $6 racetrack admission), you'll get five sample-sized portions; in addition to grilled meats and veggies, there'll be grilled cheese sandwiches, smoked mac 'n' cheese and other tasty treats. The event also happens to benefit a good cause, with part of the proceeds going to Kristie's Place, which provides care for terminally ill children. The grill fest starts at and goes until the food runs out on , in the racetrack's Seaside Concert area (2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.).