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Rubio's CoastFest is coming up: Clean the beach eat good food and then party on!

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Today, the Examiner spoke with Karin Silk, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, about their upcoming CoastFest. Volunteers at the CoastFest, on May 10 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., will first clean the beach in Oceanside and then follow it up with a festival and party to make the day complete. Karin said, "For us cleaning the beach, nourishing the ocean and being a friend of the ocean is a critical part of our strategic mission”.

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She continued, “Our history over the last 30 years starts with the fish taco. Ralph Rubio brought the fish taco to the United States. Since then, we've expanded our menu to focus fairly heavily on seafood, particularly grilled seafood. So for us this is a natural extension, since we've got so much of our success from the ocean that we want to do something for the ocean in return. It's really important to us that we protect the ocean, nourish the ocean and be a friend to the ocean. Part of that is that we serve sustainable seafood in our restaurants; the majority of seafood that we sell is certified sustainable”.

The CoastFest is in it's third year now. According to Karin, “It's primarily a beach clean up that we invite our employees, our guests and other community members to come and clean up the trash from the beach. What we do after is is have a big party and festival where we celebrate the ocean. We celebrate the volunteers who come to clean up the beach and we have free food, we have music, this year we're adding a Kids Zone and free surf lessons. It's just a nice big party to celebrate the ocean and cap off the big beach clean up”.

The festival will serve several of Rubio's most popular restaurant items as a thank you to the volunteers who have cleaned up the beach. The beach, in Oceanside, will not only look better after the cleanup, but there will be benefits for the ocean too. “It's helping the ocean in that we're cleaning trash off the beach and that certainly makes for a nicer sand and beach experience, but also when the tide comes in or the wind comes in it brings that trash into the water itself and then that trash gets carried out to sea and in many cases decomposes; the fish think it's food, the fish eat it and it can potentially kill the fish”, said Karin.

She continued, “In the short term, it's about having a beautiful beach, but truly the bigger impact is that it's helping to stay as natural as it can be without the trash from humans. In terms of last year, we actually cleaned up 350 pounds of trash. That's a fair amount of trash in just a short one hour clean up that we've prevented from getting into the ocean, so we hope to do more than that this year”.

Karin is excited about the food that Rubio's is bringing to the CoastFest. “We'll be serving our tilapia tacos which are absolutely delicious. They are a newer item to our menu, we introduced them a couple of years ago. The feature tilapia which is blackened and grilled, along with a Serrano slaw, creamy chipotle sauce and salsa fresca served on a warm tortilla. We also have our signature salsa bar which you find in all of our restaurants. We're making a portable salsa bar so you can add whatever level of spice and heat that you'd like to your tacos that day, as well as sample some of the salsas that we prepare in our kitchen. We'll also have some of our hand-made guacamole and chips available for our guests. So you can get not only an entree with our tacos, but some of the side items that people know us for”.

Since Rubio's started, many people in the Southwest have flocked to them for their delicious fish tacos and other items, such as shrimp enchiladas, beef and chicken burritos as well as a wide variety of salads. Rubio's has gained a reputation for being a place where you can get healthy food, yet food that tastes delicious and is satisfying to the eyes and taste buds.

Karin also talked about some of the Rubio's menu items, either wild-caught or from sustainably certified sources. She thought that the Mango Habanero Mahi Mahi Fish Taco is an excellent choice for a meal, with it's fresh, unique mango salsa. She added, “Many people think of us for the fish tacos, which is our signature item. It's a battered fish taco and it's wonderful! More recently, we've added several grilled fish items to our menu, which is why we're specifically showcasing our grilled tilapia at this event. We've got blackened tilapia and grilled tilapia that can go on any of our burritos, tacos and salads“.

One of the new features at this year's CoastFest will be a VIP Beer Garden. The VIP area, for those 21 or older, will feature cold Karl Strauss beers and Lolila Sangria. Karin thinks the sangria is an excellent choice for the warm day at the beach. “The sangria is very popular and will be great with this hot weather. Nothing like a nice refreshing cup of sangria on a hot day. It doesn't get much better than that! It's a red wine sangria and we do serve it in our restaurants as well”.

The VIP area is a good chance for people to relax and enjoy some time on the beach. Food will also be available in the VIP area. “It adds a little more appeal to the adults at our event and creates a special VIP area for folks as well”, Karin said.

Rubio's is partnering with several organizations, including I Love a Clean San Diego and the California Coastal Commission to put on this event. I Love a Clean San Diego will be a recipient of part of the proceeds from all sales at the event. They are a community based organization active in helping to improve San Diego's environment through education, recycling and cleanups throughout San Diego County. Rubio's strongly believes in I Love San Diego as an independent group and their mission as good community members.

Karin emphasized what the important reasons for the CoastFest are. “A big part of the event of course is the cleanup. The second part is the fun, festival party but the third part which we have added this year is an emphasis on education. We have a number of activities that are designed to educate our community, including kids, about our ocean and ocean conservation. We have a number of written materials, we have a kid's Fun Zone with a touch tank. Our kids can come and touch ocean animals and there will be some reptiles from the Agua Hedionda Lagoon”.

“The big thing about this is the event is very much about our community and less about Rubio's. It's more about celebrating the ocean, teaching our community about the ocean and the importance of the ocean and how we can help each day to preserve the ocean. This is one of those events that is so core to our identity, said Karin.

KariSeniorn concluded by saying, “Ralph came up and brought the fish taco to the United States and made this whole company all around fish tacos and by extension, all around seafood. For us, it's a really natural extension to give back to a resource that has given us so much. It's so much of who we are that we're thrilled to be able to partner with our guests and share with our guests our mutual passion for the ocean”.

Live music will run throughout the festival day. Jet West will be performing their own style of music featuring a reggae/hard rock blend. Clint Perry and the Boo Hoo Crew will tantalize audiences with their interactive show of kid's rock. Bad Neighborz has twice been nominated for Best Artist in the San Diego Music Awards. They will be performing their tight harmonies as they play their blend of rock and reggae. The Stircrazies will also be in concert, combining punk, reggae and rock into their own tunes for the audience.

The Third Annual Rubio's CoastFest will be held on the beach at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater in Oceanside on Saturday, May 10. Beach cleanup runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with the party and festival beginning at 10:30 a.m. and running until 2 p.m. For information, please go to the CoastFest 2014 website.

Rubio's 2014 CoastFest

Oceanside Pier Amphitheater

200 N. The Strand

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