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Five Spots To Try This Weekend

Where to drink and dine on your days off

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Common Theory
Common Theory

It's officially Friday: time to clock off and get those weekend vibes started. No plans yet? No problem! Eater's here with a handy round up of recently opened restaurants, new-to-you bars, seasonal menu changes, chef debuts and more. Whether you’re hankering for an after work happy hour - or the lowdown on this weekend’s culinary events, beer festivals or Sunday Brunch bites - our regular weekly feature will be sure to help you make the most of that well-earned downtime.

DECEMBER 9, 2016

New Lunch Items: Common Theory

Common Theory

Kearny Mesa’s casual brewhouse recently added some tasty new items to its lunch menu offerings. Keep an eye out for the kalbi skewers and kalbi bowl - the bowl comprises succulent hangar steak marinated in Korean spices piled on top of forbidden rice, carrots, kimchi, sunomono, and more. There’s a delicious banh mi shrimp bowl too with pickled carrots, daikon, roasted peanuts and fish sauce; an almond crusted ahi salad, and some seriously moreish IPA pork sliders. Mark your calendars for January 31 when co-owner Cris Liang will be showcasing his skills at Galaxy Taco’s popular Taco Tuesday Takeover Series. 4805 Convoy Ave (858) 384-7974 Courtesy Photo

Sweet Collaboration: Le Parfait ParisJames Coffee Co.

james

Nothing goes together like coffee and pastries and it seems like the folks behind James Coffee Co. and Le Parfait Paris have figured this out with their recently launched collaboration. James Coffee is now carrying Le Parfait’s entire assortment of macarons, quiches, breads and desserts. Enjoy alongside their single origin and coffee blends, hot chocolate or tea. 2355 India St. (619) 765-7770 Photo: Eater SD

Giant Gingerbread: Queenstown Public House

Queenstown PH

For the second year in a row this eclectic New Zealand-inspired eatery has transformed into a life-sized gingerbread house to raise awareness and gather donations for the Little Italy Association’s annual toy drive for the foster children of New Alternatives. Anyone who brings an unwrapped toy for donation between December 1-20, will receive a gingerbread house kit and is encouraged to enter the kids or adults gingerbread house decorating contest, hosted at the restaurant at the close of the toy drive. The two-part contest will kick off with the "Kid at Heart" gingerbread house decorating party from 7 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20. 1557 Columbia St (619) 546-0444 Courtesy Photo

Holiday Block Party: Liberty Station

Liberty Station

Liberty Station's 2nd annual Holiday Block Party takes place on Saturday, December 10. Enjoy holiday cheer from some of the neighborhood’s unique eateries - in honor of the festive occasion, restaurants, including Solare, Fireside by the Patio, and Liberty Public Market among others, will be serving special complimentary bites from 4 to 7 p.m. 2460 Historic Decatur Rd. Courtesy Photo

Celebrate The Season: The Lafayette Hotel

Lafayette Hotel

To celebrate the season of giving, on Sunday, December 11 The Lafayette Hotel will host an entertainment filled charity event entitled "Give Back to Santa". Happenings include photos with Santa, a Gingerbread House contest in addition to refreshments and light snacks, like hot cocoa and cider, warm chestnuts, not to mention a holiday cookie station, which will be available for all guests. The event is free and runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2223 El Cajon Blvd (619) 296-2101 Courtesy Photo

DECEMBER 2, 2016

New Cocktail Menu: Prohibition

Gaslamp Speakeasy Reopens Alongside New Upscale Sports Bar

San Diego’s elusive (and recently revamped) cocktail bar, Prohibition, just got a fresh new menu thanks to notable lead bartender Ryan Andrews and his team. Well known for spins on Prohibition-era drinks, Andrews’ winter beverage list includes 11 new tipples, each one named after a classic movie line. Standouts include a dirty martini-riff, dubbed Flight of The Navigator, which is crafted with Old Harbor San Miguel Gin and a delicious house-brined onion, while Goonies Never Say Die (Cana Brava Aneja 7 Year Rum, lemon, huckleberry allspice, honey, R&D Sarsaparilla Bitters) channels a little Pisco-style element thanks to its egg white topper. Also not to be missed is the silky-smooth cacao clarified milk punch, You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid, which is 72-hours in the making. 548 5th Ave. (619) 702-8068 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Weekend Brunch: Dunedin NP

Dunedin NP
North Park's New Zealand-inspired bar, Dunedin, debuted a tasty new weekend brunch last month. Served every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., diners can enjoy a mimosa and bloody Mary bar, plus bites (new items are added and rotated weekly) like steak and grits, Dutch baby pancake and fried chicken, Croque Madame and, of course, a 'Kiwi Breakfast' plate piled with scrambled eggs, black beans, sausage, roasted tomato and potatoes. Top Tip: Look out for Dunedin's special Holiday Brunch menu, which is rolling out this weekend. 3501 30th Ave. (619) 255-8566 Courtesy Photo

India St. Tasting Room: Pali Wine Co.

Pali Wine Co.

Opened back in October if you haven’t yet made it to Little Italy’s newest tasting room yet then you should be sure to stop by soon. With a focus on California varietals, here you can enjoy wine flights and tasty charcuterie boards either in the downstairs bar area or upstairs on the pup-friendly patio. Current releases include a 2014 Radian Vineyard Pinot Noir and Rhone inspired Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier white wine blend 2015 White Cap, with bottles priced around the very reasonable $20 - $25 mark. 2130 India St (619) 569-1300 Courtesy Photo

Menu Revamp: Bolt Brewery

Bolt Brewery

Bolt Brewery’s Little Italy location is heading into the Holiday season with a menu overhaul to showcase new signature small plates, salads and burgers. From the daily ‘Happier Hour’ menu expect butchery style corn dogs, wings and a German pretzel, plus ‘mini classics’ like fried chicken; while heartier fare includes a comprehensive selection of burgers and grilled sandwiches. Mark Your Calendars: Beginning in the New Year, Bolt Brewery will be serving up twists on classics like eggs Benedict, scrambles and fresh baked pastries with a new weekend brunch, which is slated to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 1971 India St. (619) 795-3012 Photo: Yelp

Fast-Casual in Carlsbad: The Pizza Press

The Pizza Press

Anaheim-based fast-casual concept, The Pizza Press, just landed at The Shoppes at Carlsbad. Here you can expect a roaring twenties vibe and customizable pizzas – namely a selection of ’newsworthy’ signature pies which can be ‘published’ (built) to original specifications using a selection of locally sourced premium sauces, meats and veggies. Customizable salads, desserts and a nice selection of rotating craft beers on tap, plus wines and Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee round out the menu. 2501 El Camino Real #210 Courtesy Photo

NOVEMBER 17, 2016

Hong Kong Style Treats: Sugar Sweet Desserts

Sugar Sweet Desserts

Folks have been flocking to Kearny Mesa’s newest emporium for Asian style sweet treats (and the first Hong Kong style dessert shop in San Diego!) for such delicacies as durian pancakes, taro balls and mango pancakes. Also not to be missed is the black glutinous rice snow, which early reviewers report is just the right amount of "not too sweet, and not too milky." 8072 Clairemont Mesa Blvd (858) 666-5872 Photo: Yelp

New Cocktail Menu: George's Level 2

George's Level 2

Beverage director Joshua Kasumovic and resident mixologist Stephen Kurpinsky have whipped up a new cocktail menu at gastro-focused cocktail bar, George’s Level 2. Drink devotees can sip new riffs on agave, cane and grain-based beverages such as the ocean-inspired Sea³ margarita, plus old classics like a Hamiltons Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum crafted Jungle Bird. Juniper, grape, and clear spirits also get a nod and there’s an on-trend punch bowl too. Dubbed Brain Cloud, it comprises a spicy mix of Absolute Elyx, Mandarin Napoleon Orange Cognac, Meadiocrity Mead, falernum, lemon and black tea. 1250 Prospect St. (858) 454-4244 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Tableside Barrel-Aged Cocktails: The Nolen

The Nolen

A bespoke addition to The Nolen's craft cocktail program comes in the form of a brand new, tableside barrel-aged cocktail service, where guests can pour their own libations directly from custom logo barrels. Prices range from $75 (empty one liter barrel) to $250 for a ten-liters. Barrel-aged cocktails are $200 per liter or $250 for custom creations. In addition, San Diego's swankiest rooftop bar just released its seasonal menu: noteworthy new tipples include the Blackberry Bramble (gin, blackberry shrub, lemon, demerera) and Field of Dreams (bourbon, amaretto, lemon, toasted pecan bitters, malbec float). 453 Sixth Ave (619) 796-6536 Photo: MediumRaw Arts

New Winter Libations: Grant Grill

Bijou Grant Grill

Created in tandem with lead mixologist Jeff Josenhans' new cider project (launching 2017), chef de bar Cory Alberto has based the Grill’s new winter cocktail menu on his favorite children’s book, The Giving Tree. Quite literally taking inspiration from the trees it showcases everything from cedar and blossom foam to flaming cinnamon sticks. Standouts include: Bijou #2 - Gin, green chartreuse, oaked dry vermouth and sweet vermouth, garnished with a hibiscus leaf; and Lost in Europe - Bols Genever, Galliano, crème de pèche, Aperol, mascarpone cheese, cedar and blossom foam. 326 Broadway (619) 744-2077 Photo: Tim King

Halfy Hour: The Brew Project

The Brew Project

The kind folks at beer-centric Hillcrest hangout, The Brew Project, recently debuted a new weekly specials menu. Dubbed HALFY HOUR it’s geared toward hard working industry folks who have somewhat more awkward schedules than the rest of us. Running Monday through Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m. enjoy half off all beers, cocktails, spirits, wines, and select apps. Shareables include wings, a giant Bavarian pretzel, mac-n-cheese, and fundido nachos. There's even a special puppy menu, so you can bring the dog for a pint too. 3683 Fifth Ave (619) 795-7890 Courtesy Photo



NOVEMBER 11, 2016

New Fall Dinner Menu: Bottega Americano

Bottega Americano

Now's the time to revisit the East Village's modern Italian entry. Founding culinary director Giuseppe Ciuffa is back overseeing day-to-day kitchen operations and the accomplished chef, caterer, and restaurateur is refocusing on the pasta program and special dishes that highlight his upbringing in both the northern and southern regions of Italy. Rolling out today is a new winter menu that includes butternut squash and apple mustard cappellacci with black truffle butter, crisped sage, parmesan and winter greens and a saffron tagliolini with jumbo shrimp, blistered tomatoes, arugula, lemon and toasted garlic-wine brodo, along with tonight's oyster deal at $12 for a half-dozen or $23 for a dozen fresh bivalves. Fridays are also a highlighted by Ciuffa's off-menu seafood dish— guazzetto — a lighter version of chopping that includes shrimp, calamari, mussels, salmon and other fish in a tomato-fennel broth with charred lemon and toasted fregola wards pasta. Bottega 1195 Island Ave. (619) 255-7800 Courtesy Photo


New Breads, Pastries & Brunch: Biga

Biga

Modern fast-casual Italian, Biga, just hired expert baker Craig Schum, whose specialty woodfired breads have been impressing customers no end, while talented pastry chef Aisha Baker (Addison) newly designed desserts have been regularly selling out since hitting the pastry case. There’s a weekly breakfast and weekend brunch menu now too, comprising a concise selection of morning fare, including omelets, bennies and a very tasty sounding tater tot poutine Italienne with heirloom tomatoes and sausage. 950 6th Ave. (619) 794-0444 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Fall Menu & New Happy Hour: Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude Courtesy Photo

Inspired by the autumn harvest, executive chef Dreux Ellis has created some seasonal new additions to the menu at Little Italy’s premier plant-based eatery. Standouts include the COMMUNITY/Baked Rosemary Butternut Squash Dip, SMOKIN’/Chili Bowl and WELCOMING/Stuffed Whole Wheat Phyllo. Plus, beverages featured on the all new happy hour bar menu, such as the EXCITED / Mojito Spritzer with lime, cucumber, muddled mint and Prosecco. 1980 Kettner Blvd (619) 736-5077 Courtesy Photo


New Seasonal Menu: Rustic Root

Rustic Root

Highlights from executive chef Marcel Childress’ new fall menu at this popular downtown destination include a bacon-wrapped Opah belly served with lobster cream sauce and Okinawan potato chips, steamed oxtail dumpling served with pork jus and a rustic shepherd’s pie made with braised lamb shoulder, mushroom, peas, carrot, pearl onion and Gruyere mash - perfect for when the weather eventually turns a little chillier. 535 5th Ave (619) 232 1747 Courtesy Photo


New Cocktail Menu: Carnitas Snack Shack Embarcadero

Carnitas Snack Shack

Carnitas’ Snack Shack Embarcadero bar program will be quietly introducing an entirely new cocktail menu mid-month. Seasonal tipples include the Mezcal crafted Dead Man’s Deck (mezcal, Prickly Pear, vanilla, agave, lime), the bourbon-based Campfire Antics (bourbon, Banane Du Bresil, praline, Angostura, Islay Scotch); and All Hot & Buttered (Malahat Spiced Rum, house vanilla butter, whipped cream). Mark your calendars for the official unveiling at a Pre-Turkey Turn Up on Wednesday, November 23 when all cocktails will cost a very wallet-friendly $8 each. 1004 N. Harbor Drive (619) 696-7675 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

NOVEMBER 4, 2016

Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls: Cinnaholic

Cinnaholic PB
San Diego’s first gourmet cinnamon roll store opened its kiosk doors in Westfield Mission Valley back in August with a second brick and mortar location in Pacific Beach debuting at the tail end of last month. Each cinnamon roll can be personalized with a choice of frosting flavors, including everything from Amaretto, chai and lemon to seasonal specials like tiramisu and pumpkin pie, before sprinkling with custom toppings like almonds, blackberries and coconut. Enjoy with a Café Virtuoso coffee or cappuccino. 4652 Mission Blvd (858) 224-6505 Courtesy Photo

Fresh Seafood: Como Ceviche

Peruvian, Mexican, Caribbean, Cuban, and even Vegan style ceviche, comes in plain, bowl and wrap form at this colorful, fast-casual seafood shop in the East Village. Compliment your choice of fish, calamari, octopus, and shrimp mix with coconut rice, plantain chips and more. Beverage options include crafted iced teas, horchata and agua de jimaica, plus Zinger Ginger and Caribbean Chill antioxidant shots. 317 Tenth Ave. (619) 343-1191 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova


Debut Dinner Menu: JSix

Jsix

Inspired by his Filipino roots, newly appointed executive chef Anthony Sinsay recently debuted a new dinner menu at JSix. Standouts from chef's personal plates and honest American dishes include a charred octopus confit with squid bolognese, baby celery and crisp garlic with sourdough croutons; venison tartar with beets, rye croutons, cured egg yolk and bourbon barrel aged Worcestershire; a butter brined Prime New York Sirloin, mushroom, mustard greens and scotch demi glacé; and baby beet paksiw with onion, Serrano chili, crisp garlic and Manchego. 616 J Street 619-531-8744 Courtesy Photo


Fall Cocktails: Sycamore Den

Sycamore Den
Normal Height’s favorite cocktail hangout Sycamore Den just launched its seasonal new menu, which showcases seven brand new cocktails, plus a few oldies-but-goodies!. Featuring classic holiday flavors like apple, allspice and brandy, please welcome Raccoon Eyes by Eric Giger: a creamy, coconut-y mix of rye, coconut, coffee liqueur and locally brewed Coconut Porter from North Park’s Thorn Street Brewery. Also making its debut is the pink-hued Flamingo Fling (Garrett Thor/Nick Messina) crafted with tequila, cranberry, pear, elderflower, lime and soda. Cheers! 3391 Adams Ave (619) 563-9019 Photo: Matt Rogers

New Chef + New Menu: Searsucker

Searsucker DM
The North County outpost of this popular Brian Malarkey eatery welcomes new executive chef Cesar Oceguera, who launched a refreshed menu just late last month. Staying true to the restaurant’s "New American roots", chef Oceguera has introduced traditional and fresh takes on classic dishes with a new dinner menu featuring shared plates, greens and grill items, plus signature entrées like Mary’s organic chicken breast and fish & chips. There’s a new, three-course prime rib roast dinner available every Saturday night for $40 per person too. 12995 El Camino Real (858) 369-5700 Courtesy Photo

OCTOBER 21, 2016

New Baja Food Truck: Lupe!

Lupe!

Chef Javier Plascencia's new casual food truck eatery at Finca Altozano, Lupe!, soft opens tonight. Enjoy tortas made from homemade rustic bread, charcuterie, Baja wines, craft beer and live music from 5 p.m. Lupe! Is located in Finca Altozano, next to Daz Cortez Coffee Shop in Valle de Guadalupe. Tel +52 646 156 8045 Photo: Facebook

Fall Menu: Waypoint Public

Waypoint Public
North Park’s neighborhood beer bar rolls out its new fall menu this weekend. Some of executive chef Richy Sweeney’s standout new dishes include the house made Kielbasa mac n’ cheese, coffee rubbed tri-tip (using Dark Horse coffee from right next door), and the roasted beet & burrata salad. Don’t forget Waypoint also serves a mean brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with scrambles, bennies, bloodies, hashes and more. 3794 30th St (619) 255-8778 Courtesy Photo


Apple Tasting Dinner: Grant Grill

Grant Grill
Chef Mark Kropcynski and mixologist Jeff Josenhans have tailored a four-course fall apple tasting menu with pairings to showcase the local harvest at the Grant Grill. Highlights of which are an apple borscht with crème fraîche dill and duck confit with apple chestnut mole, bourbon cornbread and Brussels sprouts. Optional pairings include Julian Harvest Apple Hard Cider and a variety of select wines. Running for one week only - from Saturday, October 22 through Saturday, October 29 - reservations cost $82 per person ($39 wine pairing). Seatings are available from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Reservations recommended. 326 Broadway (619) 744-2077 Courtesy Photo

Street Food Cinema: Marina Terrace

Marina Terrace
Join Street Food Cinema for an alfresco screening of Tim Burton’s classic movie Beetlejuice on Saturday, October 22 at the Marriott’s Marina Terrace. There will be live music and food trucks too, including Bite Mi Express, Devilicious, God Save The Cuisine, Haad Sai Thai and Mangia Mangia Mobile. The hotel has also created two themed drinks for the occasion, aptly coined "Beetlejuice" and "The Afterlife". Doors open at 5.30 p.m. followed by the movie screening at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $13-$21 and can be purchased here. 333 W Harbor Drive (619) 234-1500 Courtesy Photo

Mugshots & Mules Halloween Edition: Small Bar

Small Bar
If you’re looking for a little post-weekend excitement (and somewhere to test out this year’s costume!) University Heights favorite, Small Bar, will be holding a special Halloween edition of its "Mugshots & Mules" event on Tuesday, October 25. Starting at 6 p.m. enjoy six curated cocktails (each one tailored to an costumed criminal and their mugshot) paired with six tasty bites, plus a take-home copper mule mug. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased here. 4628 Park Blvd (619) 795-7998 Photo: Pinterest

OCTOBER 14, 2016

Breakfast, Lunch & Coffee: Kuma Café

Kuma Cafe

Inspired by Japanese aesthetics, Kuma Café owners Allyson and Rom serve up locally roasted espressos, stellar cold brews, matcha lattes, pressed breakfast sandwiches, plus a selection of yummy smoothies, salads and açai bowls at their freshly minted coffee shop on Colombia. Early reviews are already calling this bright new spot "a hidden treasure in downtown San Diego", where "the food is great, reasonably priced and the owners are super warm and friendly." Oishī desu yo! 1050 Columbia St (619) 236-8400 Photo: Allyson Samfilippo

Weekend Brunch: Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen

Pacific Standard
Brunch is now being served every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Little Italy’s newest bayside stunner, Pacific Standard. Farm fresh menu items range from a sweet cream custard & berries brioche French toast, to jumbo lump crab cake, steak & eggs, shrimp toast, and a short rib hash. To complement, resident cocktail afficionado Dino Balocchi curated a eight boozy breakfast beverages, which encompass everything from Champagne punch bowls to Campari. 2137 Pacific Hwy (619) 819-0090 Courtesy Photo

"Dough On The Go": URBN Catering

URBN Catering
Jon Mangini's beloved New Haven-style pies are going mobile. On Saturday, October 15 URBN’s new custom pizza truck and mobile oven will be satisfying hungry patrons at the Taste of North Park with the group’s signature coal-fired offerings, including its famed Mashed Potato, fresh Clam + Bacon, the ‘Hot Honey’ and Roasted Chicken + Pesto pies. Look out for the six-wheeler at upcoming food festivals and select breweries around the city throughout the remainder of 2017. Courtesy Photo

Weekend Brunch: Cerveza Jack's

Cerveza Jack's

The huevo burger with pepper jack cheese, fried egg and bacon, plus classics like chilaquiles verdes and ranchero tacos grace executive chef Todd Nash’s new weekend brunch menu at this popular Mexican eatery and cantina in PB. Served Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m., enjoy with $6 White Girl Rosé cans, $12 Champagne bottles and $3 orange juice carafes or juice flights, plus fresh squeezed cocktails like the Perfect Paloma made with Milagro Silver Tequila. 1165 Garnet Ave (858) 999-0158 Courtesy Photo

Uncorked Winemaker Series: Marina Kitchen

Marriott Marquis Marina Kitchen
The Marriott Marquis continues its popular winemaker series "Uncorked" this Sunday, October 16 at 2 p.m. with winemaking pioneers Dominic and Amy Chappellet from North California's Chappellet Vineyard & Winery. Enjoy samples of their highly-sought after wines and an array of local and seasonal paired bites courtesy of Marina Kitchen executive chef Aron Schwarz. Tickets cost $25 per person. 333 West Harbor Drive (619) 234-1500 Courtesy Photo

OCTOBER 7, 2016

Dessert & Coffee: BING HAUS

Bing Haus

Meet Bing Haus, the latest addition to Convoy's growing roster of stylish dessert shops serving none other than the latest cool new trend in Asian sweets, rolled ice cream. There are several flavors of this dainty looking delicacy on the menu, including green tea, black sesame and Thai tea. There's ice cream too (the fish-shaped vanilla soft serve-filled waffle 'by the sea' is a must try), plus assorted teas and Bird Rock coffee. The space is decked out with tufted green leather banquettes, fun greetings inlaid within the hexagonal tiled floor and a pretty cool neon sign, all of which make for some great Instagramming. Don't miss seasonal melon bingsoo specials, including a single-serve watermelon filled with milk shaved snow, fruity pebbles, mochi and condensed milk. 4425 Convoy St (858) 276-9479 Photo: Instagram


The Traveller Bar: Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Traveling Bar

Paying homage to the pioneers of America’s cocktail culture, cross-country tour "The Traveler Bar" makes its debut tonight at Loews Hotel on Coronado. Toast the contemporary "Golden Age of Cocktails" with eight classic libations (including a Gin FixDaiquiri and the Patron reposed based Picador) traditionally crafted by expert mixologists. Constructed from an old elevator car, features of The Traveller Bar include a zinc-topped bar, leather bar stools, an antique cash register and an impressive library of nearly 50 rare and vintage cocktail books. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 5- 10 p.m. until November 4. 4000 Coronado Bay Rd (619) 424-4000 Courtesy Photo

New Fall Bites & Libations: TRUST Restaurant

Dining room at Trust Lyudmila Zotova
Chef Brad Wise has whipped up a selection of new seasonal dishes at neighborhood favorite, TRUST. Standouts include bone marrow with beet pickled pearl onions, chimichurri and pain de mie; a Merguez stuffed lamb shoulder for two with roasted root vegetables and confit potatoes – for dessert there’s a carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream and nut medley. Resident cocktail pro Juan Sanchez has also added some new additions to the Trust Cocktail list: #7 - Maker's Mark, Meyer lemon, pear, tiki bitters. #8 - Avua Cachaça, Hamilton Rum, Bonal, apple, orgeat, egg, bitters. #9 - Carpano Antica Vermouth, Rutte Genever, fall syrup, black walnut bitters. 3752 Park Blvd (619) 795-6901 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Babes & Bubbles Happy Hour: FIREHOUSE American Eatery + Lounge

Firehouse American Eatery
Also launching today is the new "Babes & Bubbles" happy hour at FIREHOUSE in Pacific Beach. Every Friday from 5 to 10 p.m enjoy bags of five brut or rosé champagne splits for $25 alongside dishes from menu, including oysters on the half shell, surf and turf nachos, the spicy tuna tostada and Mary's chicken wings. Mark Your Calendar: Don't forget to "Drink Pink" on Thursday, October 20 when this beachside hot spot will be holding its breast cancer awareness and fundraiser, featuring $5 rosé and more. 722 Grand Ave (858) 274-3100 Courtesy Photo

Beef Jerky + Beer: OB Warehouse

OB Warehouse

Newport Avenue go-to, OB Warehouse, has teamed up with Modern Times Brewery on a one-of-a-kind beef jerky and beer pairing tasting menu throughout October. Priced at $18 per person (exc. tax and gratuity) housemade flavors include a five spice teriyaki, tangerine & star anise dry rub, Africa and Harissa jerky iterations paired with Lomaland Saison, Orderville IPA, City of the Dead Stout with Bourbon Coffee and Aurora Red Rye IPA respectively. Pints and flights of your favorite Modern Times brews will also available for additional purchase. 4839 Newport Ave. (619) 222-1700 Photo: Mike Newton


SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Baja-inspired California Cuisine: DRIFT eat + drink

DRIFT eat + drink

The Hyatt Regency La Jolla recently opened doors to its re-imagine restaurant and bar concept, DRIFT eat + drink. The bright and open space offers a variety of indoor and outdoor seating, while the health-focused menu highlights Baja-inspired and Southern California cuisine. Shareable plates from appetizers to entrees, highlights of which include the smoked salmon flatbread, short rib Drift nachos, and P.B. & J (pear, brie and jamon) sandwich, plus gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available. There’s an elevated craft bar program too, featuring creative cocktails and a selection of San Diego micro brews. 3777 La Jolla Village Drive (858) 552 1234 Courtesy Photo


New Fall & Inspirational Menus: Bellamy’s

Bellamy's

Escondido’s recently redesigned French bistro just announced its new fall menu of autumn-inspired dishes, in addition to chef Jonathan’s 'Inspirational' menu. Available September 28, the fall menu is served Monday through Saturday and features appetizers such as Spanish octopus and seared foie gras. Entrees include Ponsaty’s seafood paella, a Cornish hen and Moulard duck breast. For the adventurous, Chef's Inspirational menu is a must try and features fine ingredients from local seafood and fresh herbs to farm produce - ask for the carte du jour to check Chef's daily creations. 417 W Grand Ave. (760) 747-5000 Photo: Eater SD

Korean Barbecue: 356 BBQ & Bar

356 BBQ & Bar

Westfield Mission Valley Mall got a new addition to its restaurant roster in the form of Korean barbecue joint 356, where, we hear the marinated short rib is a must-try, banchan is plentiful and service fast and friendly. Pork, chicken and seafood comes tapas style or there are combos too – the 356 combo #1 (pork belly, pork jowl, marinated pork butt, grilled bulgogi) being a great option. The lunch menu (served 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) features a short rib soup, kimchi fried rice and hot stone bibimbap with all dishes coming in at $12 or less. 1640 Camino Del Rio N (619) 260-0356 Photo: Yelp


New Chef & Fall Menu: True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen recently appointed Russell Rummer as the new executive chef of its Fashion Valley outpost. Alongside Chef Nathan Coulon (the brand’s new manager of culinary standards for California) the duo will execute the eco-chic concept's fall menu, which makes its debut on October 5. Expect seasonally driven dishes including chioggia beet bruschetta and charred cauliflower, butternut squash pizza and pan-roasted chicken. For dessert there’s a gluten-free and vegan squash pie and fall-focused handcrafted cocktails like the apple ginger mule and autumn orchard sour. 7007 Friars Rd, Ste 394 (619) 810-2929 Courtesy Photo

Now Open in East Village: Larry's Deli

Larry's Deli
Counter-style concept Larry’s Deli is officially open in the East Village. Focusing on deli classics, from tuna and turkey to hot pastrami, thanks to its close proximity to the ballpark hungry Padres fans and nearby office workers have a new spot to load up on Larry’s sandwiches - made using slow-cured meats from RC Provisions and bread from Bread & Cie. The menu features ten sandwiches plus sides like macaroni salad, baked beans and coleslaw. Standouts include the pickled deviled eggs, and the #10 ribeye sandwich with potato salad. 323 7th Avenue Photo: Lyudmila Zotova



SEPTEMBER 23, 2016


New Cocktails, New Bar Manager: Kettner Exchange

Kettner Exchange Courtesy photo

Newly appointed bar manager, Paulina Konja brings insight and experience to her masterfully new cocktail collection, which is currently gracing the menu at Kettner. Seasonal specialties include the festive Candy Apple Daiquiri, a blend of 4-year Blanco Rum, Jamaican Rum, Falernum, Fuji Apple Syrup, caramel and sea salt; the Bittersweet Symphony, a balanced blend of gin, Cocchi Americano, Basil Eau de Vie and grapefruit bitters; and the Pineapple Harvest, a bright blend of Rye Whiskey, Amaro Averna, lemon and pineapple. 2001 Kettner Blvd. (619) 255-2001 Photo:

New Chef + New Menu: The Brew Project

The Brew Project
Combining traditional bar-fare with locally sourced ingredients, chef Marc Brislin's (House of Blues, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts) specialized take on elevated American comfort food shines on The Brew Project’s new menu. Standouts include the 100% juicy Angus beef Bacon Mac Burger with house-made mac-n-cheese and overnight candied bacon. From the new brunch menu consider the delectable fried chicken, sausage gravy and buttermilk biscuits. 3683 Fifth Ave. (619) 795-7890 Photo: Yelp

Street Food in Bay Ho: Red Card Café

Red Card Cafe

Executive chef Drew Lopez (Green Acre, Sausage and Meat, Lei Lounge), has created a menu anchored by more than a dozen international street foods at Bay Ho’s new street food hotspot. Don’t miss the Argentine beef empanadas, Peruvian salchipapas, Polish potato pierogi, French Canadian duck poutine and Chinese char siu pork bao buns. While every Saturday and Sunday, a brunch menu delivers dishes like "Duck Legs and Eggs," prosciutto-topped avocado toast, French crepes, lemon poppy pancakes and more. 4140 Morena Boulevard (858) 291-8030 Courtesy Photo

Debut Cocktail Menu + Refreshed Happy Hour: Green Acre

Green Acre

Brian Malarkey’s farm to plate eatery in UTC recently debuted its first cocktail menu and an updated happy hour. Cocktail highlights include The Gunslinger (rye, Barolo Chinato, pureed pear) and The Elderflower Martini (gin, elderflower liqueur). Guests can pair the new cocktails, or $5 happy hour libations like the Malarkey Margarita, with housemade root fries and pico chipotle crema. Also new at Green Acre are Fiesta Fridays – featuring a custom taco cart with pork, carne asada and chicken tacos plus all the trimmings for $3 a pop. Catch Happy Hour every Thursday & Friday from 4 – 8 p.m. 10300 Campus Point Dr. (858) 450-9907 Photo: Facebook

New Beverage Director, Fall Cocktails: URBN North Park

URBN North Park

Local bartending powerhouse Michele Willard (Bracero, Craft & Commerce, Noble Experiment) was recently tapped as Beverage Director to the overarching URBN restaurant group collective. This month she introduces a fresh, fall-inspired cocktail menu at URBN North Park. Complete with a dedicated focus on agave, tiki and an expanded craft beer selection, Michele’s debut menu for URBN North Park seeks out high quality, obscure spirits. Standouts include the Primario Mescal, Xicaru, orange bitters and orange zest crafted The Christopher Oxacan; and the Tiki Kiki, made with pineapple rum, Matusleum, pineapple and cinnamon served in a toucan tiki mug. 3085 University Ave (619) 255-7300 Photo: Facebook

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016


New Fall Menu: The Cork & Craft

cork and craft

Inspired by fall and upcoming winter produce, along with comfort cooking techniques like braising and preserving, executive chef Phillip Esteban has curated an assortment of new dishes with the season’s best local ingredients for The Cork & Craft’s new seasonal menu. Highlights include: Braised Shortrib with fingerling potatoes, ball carrots, turnips, pearl onions, pickled mustard seeds and date au jus; Juniper Cured Cobia with cucumber, sea beans, leek ash, dill and butter powder, plus Seared Scallops with black truffle risotto, peas, asparagus, gremolata and brown butter with optional Australian winter truffles shaved fresh to order. 16990 Via Tazon (858) 618-2463 Courtesy Photo

Wild West Cocktails: Grant Grill

grant grill Courtesy Photo
Inspired by his favorite old Western films, Grant Grill Chef de Bar Cory Alberto has crafted his new fall cocktail menu with the Magnificent 7 firmly in mind. Standouts include: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – dry aged ribeye-fat-washed rye, Cynar, and sweet vermouth topped with cigar foam; Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969) –mezcal, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, ancho reyes, grenadine, smoked and flamed cinnamon stick; and The Seven Samurai (1953) – jasmine green tea infused Dickel White whiskey, Chinese spirit byejoe, honey, orange blossom water, all spice dram and Buddha’s Hand Bitters served for two in a teakettle with casted teacups. 326 Broadway (619) 744-2077 Courtesy Photo

For The Locals: Konito’s Café

Konito’s Café
Tucked inside the Pacific Plaza Shopping Center you’ll find this offshoot of longstanding local favorite Kono’s Surf Club Café. Chow down on (almost) all-day, affordable breakfast and lunch fare, like their famous burritos, plates and sandwiches, plus burgers and salads without the wait or tourist crowd. As it's in the same shopping center as Vons we hear "parking is a breeze", they also take credit cards and around mid-morning most days during the week there is "little to no line". Konito’s is open Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and until 4 p.m. on weekends. 1730 Garnet Ave Photo: Eater SD

New Brunch & Bloody’s Menu: The Corner Drafthouse

The Corner Drafthouse Taps Into Bankers Hill With Beer-Focused Gastropub
Bankers Hill neighborhood gastropub recently debuted its weekend "Brunch and Bloody’s" menu, which is served every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Feast on delicacies like chicken chilaquiles with ranchero sauce, a local Baja stone crab Benedict, and beer-braised beef short rib with sautéed potatoes. There are five flavorful Bloody's on the menu too, including SPICY - a house infused habanero and Serrano pepper infused tequila iteration and HERBAL - made with house infused basil, rosemary and garlic infused vodka. 495 Laurel St (619) 255-2631 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

National Guacamole Day: Puesto in The Headquarters

puesto Courtesy Photo | Puesto
Where better to pay homage to perfectly ripe avocados on National Guacamole Day this Friday than Puesto? In honor of everyone's favorite single-seeded berry, Puesto at the Headquarters will be serving four variations of chip-smothering guacamoles including: The Puesto Perfect Guacamole ($11) with Parmigiano-Reggiano, the Crab Guacamole ($13) with lump crab meat, the Guacamole Nogada ($11) with pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts or Puesto’s House-Made Guacamole ($9). Enjoy with a Puesto Perfect Margarita or a Paloma. 789 W Harbor Drive (619) 233-8880 Courtesy Photo

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016


Say "Kiaora" To DNP: Dunedin North Park

Dunedin

The team behind Little Italy’s Queenstown Public House and Raglan Public House in OB has once again woven their Kiwi magic, this time in North Park. Named after an iconic surf town on the tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Dunedin (or DNP for short) showcases a menu built around the brand's signature grass-fed organic burgers and sandwiches, plus larger plates like grilled flank steak and chips, and a hearty bread bowl filled with curried lamb. There’s 20 taps of craft beer in addition to wine and Soju cocktails. Stop by for happy hour (Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.) and enjoy $8 beer or sangria flights and $3 sliders. 3501 30th Ave (619) 255-8566 Photo: Yelp


Modern Baja Coastal Cuisine: Pueblo PB

Pueblo

Restaurateur Mark Oliver and Executive Chef Sean McCart’s ode to Baja cuisine is officially open in Pacific Beach. The Southwestern style eatery is beautiful and airy with a great upstairs patio bar. Fueled by regional ingredients, with an emphasis on seafood and lighter preparations, early reports suggest the carne asada taco plate, house ceviche and tres leche cake are already menu standouts. From the bar there's a great selection of Margaritas, plus an extensive wine list showcasing Baja varietals, and plenty of local craft brews. 877 Hornblend St. (858) 412-3312 Photo: Facebook

New in North Country: Decoy Dockside Dining

Decoy

Eat.Drink.Sleep recently unveiled their multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Lakehouse Hotel & Resort, where executive chef Danilo "DJ" Tangalin (JRDN) showcases his brand new menu ‘inspired by the great outdoors’. Decoy’s main second level dining room serves up dishes like Maine lobster pot pie and elk osso bucco during its daily dinner service and weekend brunch. Downstairs the Dock Bar boasts lounge style seating, open-air lakefront access and an all-day menu of shared appetizers, pizzas and light entrées. You’ll find twists on classic cocktails, an extensive wine list and craft beers from San Diego brewers like Stone & Ballast Point. 1035 La Bonita Dr. (760) 653-3230 Photo: Facebook

Sister Concepts: Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen and Pokirrito

Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen and Pokirrito

Chef/owner Junya Watanabe has expanded his empire to India Street with the recent addition of this sister ‘poke, yakitori, ramen’ concept. Designed by Yale Jallos, the industrial-chic space features floor to ceiling windows, communal and regular tables, plus outside patio seating. In addition to the regular menus (customizable ramen and poke bowls) you’ll find Japanese charcoal fired yakitori selections at this newly opened Little Italy location. Both concepts have been designed with the fast casual crowd in mind and are ideal for take out: just order at the counter then take a seat or be on your way. Libations include draft and frozen Kirin beer, local craft ales, plus wine and sake. 2254 India Street (858) 573-2400 Courtesy Photo


Crepes & Coffee: Refill Café

Refill Cafe

Specializing in ‘espressos, cold brew and crepes’, Hillcrest recently welcomed this bright café-come-coffee house to its 'hood. Open daily (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.), in addition to Bird Rock coffee and loose-leaf teas Refill also serves up tasty eats including baked goods, plus sweet and savory crepes. Filled with wooden tables crafted by a local artist – even the coffee comes in handmade ceramic mugs, each with a little "refill" stamp debossed on the side – a "Refill" mug of your own will set you back $25. LOCAL INTEL: Looking to work from home? All seats on the north side of Refill have outlets for laptops. 3752 Park Blvd (619) 677-2242 Photo: Yelp

AUGUST 26, 2016

"Neo-Neapolitan" Style & More: Tribute Pizza

North Park Pizzeria Pays Tasty Tribute To Country's Best Pies

From pop-up to North Park brick and mortar, if you haven't yet paid a visit to Matthew Lyons' lofty pizzeria (housed in a former US Post Office building) then be sure to make it a top priority. Here, the seasonal menu pays homage to wood-fired pizza styles found in Portland and New York to Naples and Tijuana; there are small plates (think cheese and cured meat boards), plus a handful of salads to enjoy. There's also a happy hour until 6 p.m. with discounted wines by the bottle and local beers, like Mike Hess and Hop Fu, for $5. Pup owners will be pleased to know there is also a dog friendly patio. 3077 N Park Way (619) 450-4505 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Mediterranean-Inspired Eats: Crudo

Crudo Brings to Mediterranean-Inspired Upscale Fast-Casual to Carmel Valley

The latest addition to North County’s swanky residential-retail-dining destination Highlands Ranch comes by way of executive chef Pascal Lorange (Fig & Olive Restaurants) and his upscale fast-casual concept, Crudo. In keeping with its namesake, Lorange’s menus center around raw plates like carpaccio and sashimi, in addition to Mediterranean inspired meat and seafood dishes, pastas and "pizettes". Enjoy a $19 prix fixe brunch menu (plus other options) every weekend, plus a weekday happy hour between 3 and 6 p.m. 5965 Village Way #107 (858) 847-2797 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Sunsets & Suds: OB Brewery

Ocean Beach Brewery Finally Debuts New Three-Story Brewpub

If you enjoy ocean views with your pint head to OB and post up for a few at Mike Tajran and Jim Millea’s three-story ale house. There's a 20-tap bar on the first floor where you will find OB Brewery's Right.On Pale Ale, Long Time Coming Cream Ale, and Elevator Red IPA, in addition to assorted guest beers. Snag a seat on the rooftop lounge and enjoy pub fare like clam chowder or the carnitas pork shoulder and avocado stuffed Dirty Pig sandwich. There’s a weekend Morning Sunshine Brunch too (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with chilaquiles, French toast, bottomless mimosas and more. 5041 Newport Ave (619) 955-8053 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

24-Hour Dining: Du Par’s

24-Hour Retro Diner Du-par's Enters Downtown Dining Scene

Late-night diners looking for that 4 a.m. French toast fix look no further! Downtown recently welcomed this brand new edition of the Naylor family restaurant chain in San Diego, which is open around the clock 365 days a year. Here, feast on breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever the mood strikes: classic dishes include Du Par’s "legendary" buttermilk hotcakes and Tiny’s patty melt sandwich, while there are a myriad of pies and pastries in the bakery section. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. until last call (2 a.m.) daily. 440 J St (619) 255 8775 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Morning Eats: Breakfast Republic

Breakfast Republic Join the Ranks at Liberty Station This Weekend

Liberty Station’s growing roster of restaurants just welcomed Johan Engeman’s popular Breakfast Republic to its fold. Make your morning a delicious one with all the usual suspects like housemade crab cakes, turkey meatball hash, churro pancakes and breakfast jambalya. Thanks to a full liquor license there are craft cocktails now too, alongside staples like the Jurassic Park Bloody Mary and Ginger Kombucha Mule. We hear wait times are still pretty long (up to two hours in some cases) so be sure to plan ahead and get here early. 2865 Sims Road 619-693-5434 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

AUGUST 19, 2016

New Menu: Sausage & Meats

S&M

While Scott Slater’s meat-centric eatery doesn’t officially launch its new menu to until Monday, here’s a little sneak preview. Debut sausages range from a smoked portabella vegetarian and a "fruity duck" number with apricot and lavender, to kangaroo and antelope iterations. 
New sandwiches include camel pork and smoked Gouda sausage "Dromadare-Ya", plus sides like spicy chicharrones with charred lime and a yakitori-style venison meat skewer. 
Not to be overlooked, S&M’s cocktail program got a mini re-vamp too. Take Note: To give guests a taste of a new "Head to Tail" charcuterie board the launch includes a "free piece of pork" every day next week – we’re talking tacos, beer brats and more! 4130 Park Blvd (619) 344-2177 Courtesy Photo

Craft Beer: Longship Brewery

Longship Brewery

Homebrewer and Viking enthusiast Dan Jachimowicz’ Miramar microbrewery and tasting room only opened over the Fourth of July weekend but has already amassed a loyal local following. A hoppy Belgian Golden Torc, witbier Battle of Leuven and IPA Allfather graced the inaugural tap list, which have since been joined by a Balder Brown Ale among others. Visiting food trucks stop by to supply bites, it's dog friendly and there are board and table games a plenty (Jenga, Cornhole) to enjoy. Longship is open from noon until 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, until 10 p.m. on Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday/Sunday. 10320 Camino Santa Fe, Ste C (858) 246-7875 Photo: Yelp


Authentic Italian Pizzeria: Ambrogio15

Ambrogio 15
Milan-turned-San Diego residents Giacomo Pizzigoni, Andrea Burrone and Luca Salvi have been winning fans for their Milanese-style Italian cuisine at this new spot in North PB. Standout gourmet Neapolitan pizzas (made using stone-ground organic Petra flour) include the Hannibal Lecter, Scrocchiarella Crudo e Burrata, Nuovola Porchetta e Burrata and Carpaccio di zucchine e burrata. Salads, cheeses and cold cuts also grace the menu as do some decadent desserts, including a must-try tiramisu. For libations Ambrogio15 serves up fifteen local craft beers and biodynamic wines from small-scale Italian wine makers. 926 Turquoise St. (858) 291-8650. Photo: Facebook


Korean Barbecue: Prime Grill

prime grill

For high quality meat, unique banchan and attentive service head to this new premium Korean barbecue joint on Convoy. In addition to traditional hot stone dishes and spicy tofu stew there are meat combos for between 3 – 5 people. Combo A ($75) will get you four different proteins: Wagyu short ribs, prime rib eye steak, thick-sliced pork belly and king prawn are just a handful of options. Dinner comes with complimentary side dishes, salad, soybean paste stew, and steamed egg. For a refreshing end to the meal order some cold noodles. 4620 Convoy St (619) 298-6802 Photo: Eater SD

Uncorked: Marina Kitchen

Marriott Marquis Marina Kitchen

The Marina Kitchen is continuing its Winemaker HangOut series "Uncorked" this Sunday, August 21 at 2 p.m. with winemaking pioneer and eccentric force behind Bonny Doon Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Randall Grahm. Enjoy samplings of highly sought after wines in addition to local, seasonal cuisine courtesy of executive chef Aaron Schwartz at this intimate backyard barbecue-style gathering. Tickets cost $25 per person and can be reserved by calling (619) 699-8222. Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, 333 West Harbor Drive. Courtesy Photo


AUGUST 12, 2016

For Banchan Fans: Hom Korean Kitchen

Hom Korean Kitchen

Very much in the poké style comes this fast casual Korean "build-your-own-banchan-bowl" spot in Hillcrest. You know the drill: start with a base (rice, mixed grains, salad), choose your protein (tofu, BBQ chicken, veggies, Korean beef) then mix and match fresh ingredients by adding three banchan, which are traditional chilled vegetable sides like cucumbers, daikon radish, kimchi. An average lunch plate - fire cracker pork, toasted rice, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans - will set you back around $8.75 plus tax. Refreshments include iced teas and sodas, but for adult beverages there’s beer or ginger ale and soju for $5. 3825 5th Ave. (619) 956-9099 Photo: Facebook


Naples' Finest: Isola Pizza Bar

Isola Pizza Bar Courtesy photo
The La Jolla outpost of chef/owner Massimo Tennino’s popular pizza parlor is officially open. In addition to a piccolo outdoor patio, the restaurant also features a 4-seat pizza bar with prime views of its showpiece wood-burning oven. On the menu you'll find 15 Isola specialty pies (additional selections will rotate based on seasonal ingredients), plus debut pasta dishes including a braised bolognese meat ragú and squid ink spaghetti. There are local San Diego brews in addition to rotating Italian beers like Moretti, while the wine list favors Italian varietals, including a selection from the Pietro Rinaldi Winery owned by Massimo’s brother. 7734 Girard Ave. (858) 412-5566 Courtesy Photo


Modern American: The Corner Drafthouse

The Corner Drafthouse Taps Into Bankers Hill With Beer-Focused Gastropub

This West Coast-inspired gastropub has been open daily for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch since early July in Bankers Hill. Here, partner/executive chef Dan Sobek has crafted a sizeable menu of comfort-style classics to seasonal dishes using locally caught seafood. The 70 taps predominantly showcase SoCal breweries but there are wines and signature cocktails too, like mules and margaritas. Stop by for a pint during the daily happy hour (4 - 7 p.m.) when you can enjoy $2 off appetizers and select brews. 495 Laurel St. (619) 255-2631 Photos: Lyudmila Zotova


Cantonese Cuisine: Fuan Garden Seafood Restaurant

Fuan Garden

We hear the portion sizes are generous and the service prompt at this recently rebranded and reopened spot for Cantonese cuisine on Convoy. In addition to the $9.25 takeout lunch special tuck into pot prawns plucked from the live tank, made-to-order dim sum, signature chef dishes like the ginger and scallion lobster with e-fu noodles, plus a current 'off-menu' pork and abalone soup special. While the rotisserie serves up crispy roast duck, chicken and BBQ Pork there are some vegetarian options too, like sautéed pea pod leaves with garlic. Fun Fact: The restaurant's name (大富豪) means Big Rich Guy or Big Spender in Chinese. 4768 Convoy St. (858) 650-6999 Photo: Eater SD

Beer + Retro Arcade Games: Coin Haus

coin haus front

The Cohn Restaurant Group’s latest offering comes in the form of this Philippe Beltran designed beauty dedicated to beer and vintage arcade games in La Mesa. There’s a wristband operated self-serve system beverage delivery system (it activates the tap and charges your card per ounces poured) from the 50-tap strong shipping container set-up, currently pouring 43 craft beers, 4 keg wines, hard kombucha, cider and Modern Times' cold brew. After some Game of Thrones and Ghostbusters pinball action hungry gamers can pop next door to refuel at CRG's Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden. 8384 La Mesa Blvd. (619) 741-2288 Photo: Jeffrey Lamont Brown


AUGUST 5, 2016

West Coast Fusion: 608

608 Mission

Chef/owner William Eick serves up a sophisticated selection of artistically presented small plates at this freshly minted Oceanside gastro pub. Menu standouts include bone marrow ceviche with sorrel crumble, a braised short rib Panang curry and (local's favorite) lobster tail tacos with mint and sweet chili aioli. For dessert there's a deconstructed strawberry shortcake with vanilla, mint and matcha. At the bar expect a good selection of wine plus local craft brews. 608 is open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily for lunch and dinner. 608 Mission Ave (760) 291-1040 Courtesy Photo

Japanese Cuisine: H20 Sushi & Izakaya

H20 Sushi Izakaya

LA-based transplant H20 Sushi and Izakaya, which took over the old D Bar space on 5th Ave, is finally open. The neon-lit establishment’s extensive menu is filled with seafood offerings - from carpaccio plates and sashimi rolls to small bites - and there’s a yakitori bar too with tasty skewers including pork belly, chicken hearts and fried squid. Behind the bar you’ll find a comprehensive cocktail list, plus sake, wine and beer. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday –Thursday, midnight Friday/Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday. 3930 Fifth Ave. (619) 795-9090 Courtesy Photo

Authentic Italian: Acquavite Ristorante

Acquavite La Jolla

What could be more romantic than fine wine, views of La Jolla Cove and artfully presented Italian fare? Tucked away on Prospect Street is this elegant gem, and prime date night destination, where chef Filippo Piccini serves up from scratch pasta, fresh seafood and possibly one of the heartiest surf & turf plates in town. Eater hears that the homemade Spaghetti Alla Norma with tomato sauce and fried eggplant tastes "just like Sicily", while the Fettuccine Allo Zeffarano with garlic infused shrimp in a saffron cream sauce is "amaaaazing". 1298 Prospect St #3 (858) 886-7142 Photo: Facebook

Craftsman Style: North Park Beer Co.

Specializing in San Diego-style ales and lagers this handsome BASILE Studio-designed brewery and taproom in North Park has fast become a neighborhood go-to for its cold suds, old time-y tunes and free Wi-Fi. The four current house beers include a West Coast hoppy red ale and Scottish 70 shilling, while Scolari's IIPA is newest to the tap list. According to Facebook NPBC's first Double IPA is "a juicy-dank-citrusy gem, chock full of citra, amarillo, centennial hops and a dash of honey malt". 3038 University Ave. (619) 880-6722 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

24-Hour Burgers & Malts: Buddy's Diner

Buddy’s Diner

Complete with retro styled interior (checkerboard-tiled floor, vinyl booths), all day breakfasts plus an array of classic comfort foods, Vito Tutino's recently opened 24-hour diner will transport you back to the 1950s quicker than you can say Happy Days. Breakfast menu offerings include everything from chicken and waffles to chilaquiles and French toast; for lunch and dinner think chili cheese fries, sandwiches and salads. Buddy's also has a beautiful bakery display, coffee creations, various sodas and more than 20 varieties of malts and milkshakes. 1564 Garnet Ave (858) 263-7599 Photo: Yelp


JULY 29, 2016

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream: Creamistry

Creamistry

Kearny Mesa's newest frozen treat shop officially soft-opened yesterday with a line that wrapped around the plaza building and beyond – some people waiting two hours to get their hands on some free goodies! Here, the liquid nitrogen specialists serve up their special style of ice cream base (versions include a signature, 100% organic/GMO-free and vegan/dairy-free coconut blend) which can be flavored with everything from matcha green tea and cheesecake to tiramisu, each one rapidly frozen using liquid nitrogen. There are toppings galore too, plus sides like chocolate and crispy waffles. One word: YUM! 7420 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #108 Photo: Yelp

Exotic Regional Chinese: Shaan Xi Magic Kitchen

Shaan Xi Magic Kitchen

While the cumin lamb and street-snack style stewed pork burgers (or "Rou Jia Mo") come highly recommended, the hand-pulled biang biang noodles might just be the signature dish at this northwestern Chinese cuisine focused restaurant. Open since May it's advisable to arrive a little early during rush hours and weekends otherwise you'll tend to find yourself on the wait list. 4344 Convoy St. (858) 565-2688 Photo: Yelp


Boba Tea, Coffee & Desserts: Square Bar Cafe

Square Bar Cafe

Tucked inside a small complex on Convoy this new Kearny Mesa café serves up boba teas like sea salt jasmine, artisan coffees, plus sweet treats including macaron ice cream sandwiches and matcha crepe cakes. Seasonal specialty drinks include Watermelon Heaven, The Pink Drink (strawberry, coconut) and Green Tea Frappe. Complete with graphic murals by international street artist Kelsey Montague, the monochromatic themed space makes for some suitably stylish Instagram shots too. 4488 Convoy St #H (858) 292-5778 Courtesy Photo

Ramen & Rolls: Donburi Kitchen

Donburi Kitchen

We’ve been hearing and reading good things (amazing food, great service, very attentive and friendly staff) about this "excellent little Japanese restaurant" in Tierra Santa, which, residents say, is the best food to be found on Santo Road. Here, enjoy bowls of spicy beef ramen ($9), chicken karaage ($4.25), sashimi salmon don, plus daily specials, Japanese beers and sake. Donburi Kitchen is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5 to 9 p.m. 6030 Santo Rd. Ste G (858) 737-4224 Photo: Yelp

The Hawaiian Staple: Poké Chop

Poke Chop

The demand for this year’s hottest food trend continues apace in San Diego with a new PB poké stop. In addition to the five step build-your own menu, there are nine specialty bowls to choose including: Tsunami Ceviche (octopus, shrimp, scallop), Lucky Charms (albacore, salmon, tuna) and Soy-Weed (tofu, ogo, seaweed). Prices range from $9.50 (small) to $13.95 (large), while a sushiburrito costs $10.95. For drinks its sodas, iced teas and the like. 1404 Garnet Ave. (858) 225-8875 Photo: Yelp

JULY 15, 2016

Modern Sicilian: Barbusa

Barbusa by the Busalacchi's Brings Modern Sicilian to Little Italy

The buzz is just as important as the food at the Busalacci family’s stylish new India Street eatery. Dine at the modern bar and enjoy craft cocktails made with fresh pressed juices and Italian spirits, or take a seat in the adjacent dining room for a prime view of the open kitchen. From wood-fired pizzas and rustic plates of handmade pasta to finely crafted Southern Italian regional specialties, the menu offers a fun take on modern Sicilian with dishes like spaghetti with sea urchin and a deconstructed cannoli. 1917 India St. (619) 238-1917 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Hawaiian 5-0: Poke One N Half

Poke One N Half

San Diego’s craze for pokē continues! The latest addition to a growing roster of outposts recently opened in Kearny Mesa (you'll find it in the same shopping center as Mitsuwa Market). Poki One N Half's motto is "Good People, Good Heart, and Good Ingredients", just follow the simple five-step process to build your bowl (or burrito) and fill up on some of their delicious raw fish salad. Prices range from $8 (regular, three scoops) to $11 (large, five scoops). 8055 Armour St. Ste C (858) 874-6760 Photo: Yelp

Traditional Tuscan: Ristorante Illando

Ristorante Illando

Located directly above the popular Landini’s Pizzeria on India Street, this rustic-chic spot from Christine and Leonardo Landini serves traditional Tuscan cuisine, including a budget-friendly prix fixe lunch menu for $15. Launched in May, the menu covers everything from antipasti and baked dishes like lasagna and eggplant parmigiana, to salads, pizzas and soup. Enjoy half of appetizers and select $5 beers and wines during happy hour from 4 – 6 p.m. every Monday through Friday. 1825 India St. (619) 693-5204 Photo: Illando.com

VIP Chef’s Table Brunch: Hotel del Coronado

Hotel Del Courtesy photo

Feeling decadent this weekend? The Hotel Del recently launched a rather exclusive 10-person VIP Chef’s Table Brunch, available Sundays at 10 a.m. For $150 per person, guests of the Chef’s Table can enjoy a champagne walk-through The Del’s beachfront herb garden and a guided tour of the day’s fresh brunch offerings. Chef Josh will perform cooking demos at the table while guests enjoy special plated courses, unlimited champagne and a reserve wine pairing, in addition to The Del’s famous brunch buffet. 1500 Orange Ave. (619) 435-6611 Courtesy Photo

Fast Farm-To-Table: Urban Plates La Jolla

Urban Plates

The popular counter-serve stop for farm-to-table cuisine just opened doors to its new La Jolla location. Enjoy customizable plates of proteins, from wild caught Albacore to free range chicken, with seasonal sides, salads, sandwiches, soups and more from the cafeteria-style served menu. Beverages include everything from craft beer, wine and soda to kombucha on tap. 8707 La Jolla Village Drive (858) 263-0818 Photo: Facebook



JULY 8, 2016

Oysters, Seafood & More: Beerfish

Head to executive chef Aaron Obregon’s new seafood-focused eatery on Adams for some killer happy hour deals. Every Monday through Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. kick back with $1 fresh-shucked oysters, $3 oyster sliders plus $2 off core beers and select wines, of which there are 30 craft beers and 5 wines on tap. 2933 Adams Ave. (619) 363-2337 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Taiwanese Treats: 85°C Bakery Cafe

85 o C Bakery

Folks line up daily for the fresh breads, pastries and colorful cakes from this famed Taiwanese bakery chain, which recently opened its third San Diego outpost in Mira Mesa - there's a fourth location slated to open in National City later this month. Here, you can stock up on tasty treats, including marble taro bread, matcha rolls, mango tales and more. Don’t miss the iced sea salt jasmine green tea or sea salt iced coffee. 8265 Mira Mesa Blvd (858) 693-7885 Photo: Yelp

Beat The Heat: Handels Homemade Ice Cream

Handels Ice Cream

Encinitas’ newest ice cream parlor opened doors in June just a stone's throw from Moonlight Beach. Purveyors of homemade creamy goodness since 1945, Handels’ menu lists over 100 rotating ice cream and yogurt flavors (black cherry, coffee chocolate chip, strawberry margarita, cotton candy to name a few), all of which can fill a variety of vessels, including cones, waffle cones, dishes, Handle pops and even a classic banana split. There are monster milkshakes, floats, freezes, smoothies and sundaes too. 90 N Coast Hwy 101, Ste 101 (760) 230-6948 Photo: Facebook

Brunch Is Served: Westroot Tavern

Carmel Valley's WESTROOT tavern Gets Beery in the 'Burbs
Carmel Valley’s new watering hole premieres its debut brunch menu this weekend, on Saturday, July 9. It features bites like PB&J French Toast layered with creamy peanut butter, preserves, banana-caramel, agave cream cheese, berries and smoked bacon; while a healthier option is the WESTROOT Scramble (seasonal root veggies, avocado, cherry tomatoes, basil, roasted potatoes). Brunch cocktails include a build your own Bloody Mary at the Westroot Bloody Mary Bar, and the decadent St. Germaine Champagne Carafe. Brunch will be served every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 6025 Village Way (858) 720-6645 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Coffee + Beer + Culture: Moniker General

Sip Coffee & Craft Beer at Liberty Station's New Lifestyle Hub

Home goods, custom furniture, coffee and beer collide at this new concept retail and community space in Liberty Station. Serving craft beer on tap, plus small-batch and specialty coffee, here you can sip on everything from kombucha and cold-brew to India pale ale and nitro milk stout. For nibbles there are baked goods, like assorted savory scones and coffee cake. So sit back, enjoy the free WI-FI and snap an artfully composed pic for the IG feed. 2860 Sims Road (619) 255-9118 Photo: Bradley Schweit

JUNE 24, 2016

French Open: Le Petit Bistrot

La Petit Bistro

Whether you come for breakfast, lunch or to enjoy a glass of wine, this chic new addition to the La Plaza La Jolla Shopping Center has gone down a storm since opening in May. We hear the Galletes are authentic and beyond tasty (they have 13 on the menu, including Mexican and Canadian incarnations), croque sandwiches and brie salads. For dinner think salad Niçoise, boeuf bourguignon and la tarte tatin. The wine list showcases Pouilly Fuisse, Sancerre, Cote du Rhone and the like, a good proportion of which are available by the glass. 7863 Girard Ave. (858) 877-9462 Photo by Lyudmila Zotova

FISHo'Nados: SuperNatural Sandwiches

Look Inside SuperNatural Sandwiches' New Miramar Lair

This weekend, head to SuperNatural's new monster space in Miramar for all your seafood sandwich needs. We all know Siren is their bestseller but if you're in the mood to splurge, try Cthulhu - a spicy Puerto Vallarta style lobster roll made with prime claw and knuckle meat, plus umami butter. Crustacean lovers on a budget can opt for Griffin, which marries chunks of Maine lobster meat with melted cheeses. Keep an eye out for the macaroon ice creams too. 7094 Miramar Rd. (858) 831-7835 Photo by Eater SD

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem: Shore Rider

All-Outdoor Eatery Shore Rider Surfs Into La Jolla Shores

Laid back is the name of the game at this open-air spot at La Jolla Shores. Enjoy tacos, cocktails and local craft suds, like Belching Beaver's Peanut Butter Stout, Thorn Street's Coconut Porter, and their namesake Shore Rider Pale Ale just a stones throw from the sand. Early menu standouts include the SHR 1lb. Burrito (stuffed with chicken tinge and blackened shrimp), and ahi poke "surfer sashimi". Stop by for lunch, dinner or a soju-based sunset sipper. 2166 Avenida de Playa (858) 412-5308 Photo by Bradley Schweit

Food, Craft Beer & Wine: Tasting Room Del Mar

Tasting Room for Fine Food, Craft Beer & Wine Debuts in Del Mar

The newest addition to Del Mar's dining scene boasts a sophisticated wine program comprised of exceptional small production labels from France, Germany, and Spain, California wines highlighting Central Coast Rhone varietals make up the remainder. There's craft beer too (22-taps to be precise) plus artfully curated plates, including a creamy duck rillete with pickled and fresh beets, and fully pastured red hen served with red fife and fresh spring flora. 1435 Camino Del Mar (858) 461-0124 Photo by Bradley Schweit

Eats, Ales & Entertainment: WESTROOT TAVERN

Carmel Valley's WESTROOT tavern Gets Beery in the 'Burbs

Owner/Operator Matt McBride brings a carefully curated menu of shared plates, and handcrafted cocktails to this shiny new tavern in Carmel Valley. Set out over two floors, there are patios with fire features and plenty of TVs if you want to catch up on sports, plus a DJ on weekends. During happy hour all drinks are half off. Our menu picks include the carne asada fries, pork belly BLT and hoisin calamari. For libations, keep it local with a Mai Tai Affair (made with Malahat Spiced Rum), or go bold with a Negroni Experiment. 6025 Village Way, (858) 720-6645 Photo by Bradley Schweit

JUNE 10, 2016

Bon Appetit: Et Voilà! French Bistro

Bistro Bearing Modern Takes on French Classics Arrives on Adams Avenue

Beautifully appointed (there's a zinc bar, gorgeous tiled floors and some serious European flair), Et Voila! is University Heights newest must-visit dining destination. An inviting blend of casual and upscale, here you can enjoy traditional French fare served in classic bistro surrounds. Linger over a white negroni on the sidewalk for some all-important people watching during happy hour, or come for weekend brunch when Gallic treats like eggs Benedict with blue crabmeat, a tartine du jour and mini pastries grace the menu. 3015 Adams Ave. (619) 209-7759 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

(M)eat By The Bay: Carnitas Snack Shack

Snack Shack

You can now enjoy Hanis Cavin's celebrated "fast casual porkhouse" by the Bay, thanks to this newly opened Embarcadero outpost. The colorful all-outdoor cafe not only serves up Calvin's prized porcine products but cocktails too - like Mules, Marys and 'Margs - by way of bar manager Mai Pham. Perhaps best of all, this location opens early for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday! Our pick? The pork belly breakfast burrito. 1004 N Harbor Dr. (619) 294-7675 Photo: Facebook

Homestyle Italian In East Village: Salvucci's

salvucci's

Another glossy downtown addition from the RMD stable, Salvucci’s recently swung openin the former Comun space in East Village. Helmed by chef Michael Marino, the open kitchen serves up homestyle Italian food, including a "delicious chicken parm" with housemade tagliatelle pasta, plus a beef and pork meatball appetizer with pomodoro sauce and Parmesan. From the bar there is draft Pinot Grigio, in addition to specialty cocktails with an Italian twist, like the Sicilian Spritz (Skyy Blood Orange Vodka, Aperol, Prosecco). 935 J St. (619) 255-112 Photo: Eater San Diego

For A Post Padres Sub: Carnivore Sandwich

Carnivore Sandwich

Baz Emini’s second NYC-style deli recently opened in close proximity to Petco Park. Here you’ll find signature, overstuffed sandwiches made with hand-sliced meats (flown in twice weekly from New York and Chicago no less), plus from-scratch salads, custom condiments and housemade soups, including a classic matzo ball. Carnivore's specialty sandwiches include The Boss: corned beef, pastrami, Swiss, Russian dressing on rye, and The Pilgrim: oven-roasted turkey, provolone, sage stuffing on a cranberry-orange walnut loaf (both $12.95). 317 10th Ave. (619) 338-8301 Photo: Facebook

Turning Five: Bottlecraft

Bottlecraft

Don’t miss Bottlecraft’s 5th Birthday beer release fiesta this weekend. In honor of the occasion Abnormal Beer Co. brewed up piloncillo, Ethiopian cacao nibs, cinnamon, vanilla and ancho chilies to create their Imperial Stout, Quinquenio, which means "five year period" in Spanish. The special bottle will be released to the public at Bottlecraft’s Anniversary Party on Saturday, June 11 at 11 a.m., at all three locations: Little Italy, North Park, and Liberty Station. 2252 India St. (619) 487-9493 Photo: Facebook

JUNE 3, 2016

SuperNatural Sandwiches

A French Affair: Parc Bistro - Brasserie

Parc Bistro - Brasserie

Chef Donald Lockhart (formerly of Cusp Restaurant in La Jolla) helms the kitchen at this new bistro and brasserie in the former Croce’s Park West space. Here, his menus cover classic French cuisine (think rack of lamb Provençal, beef Bourguignon, steak frites, escargot Burgundy), plus coastal favorites such as seafood towers and tuna carpaccio. Open for dinner, lunch and happy hour, there is also a daily plat du jour – this weekend it's butter poached lobster (Saturday), with an orange glazed half duck on Sunday. 2760 Fifth Ave. (619) 795-1501 [Courtesy Photo]

Pretzels & (almost) Beer: California Tap Room

California Tap Room
For delicious, warm pretzels served with beer cheese, head to this new-ishly opened North Park gem. While California Tap Room has long been partnered with many a local brewery (providing their salty, doughy yumminess to San Diego beer drinkers) this is their first brick and mortar location. Here, the knowledgeable staff (Boomer and Jeff, A.K.A. the "pretzelogists") can help you pick out the perfect hand-rolled artisan pretzel – from New York, Philly and Munich styles to the jumbo Bavarian. For now libations are zero-proof (ice tea, lemonade), but we hear their 16-tap craft beer component is coming soon. 3812 Ray St. (619) 542-9990 Logo: Facebook

Hawaiian Style: San Diego Poke Company

san diego poke co.

The concept at Yohei Umezu’s casual eatery is simple: delicious specialty or customize-able ("BYOB") poke bowls. Of its eight specialty bowls, The OG SD Bowl (tuna, avocado, white and green onions, sesame seeds, plus "OG" sauce) is the shop’s top seller. To customize, you can stay regular with three items for $9.95, or go large with five for $11.95. Bases and proteins include white or brown rice and chips, plus bay scallops and octopus. While toppings range from edamame to crushed hot Cheetos. Fans should also keep an eye out for authentic mochi ice cream flown in via overnight shipping from Hawaii. 10387 Friars Rd. (619) 584-4786 Photo: Yelp

Cold-Pressed: Woholle Juice Bar

Woholle Juice Box

Nestled in La Jolla Shores, this offshoot from local lifestyle company Everyday Californiais now serving up fresh juices, elixirs, acai bowls and smoothies on the daily – and makes the perfect spot to stop by for a pre or post Torrey Pines smoothie. The menu features fresh cold pressed juices too, like Spunky Watermelon (watermelon, coconut water, lime, chia seeds) and Enliven (apple, cucumber, celery, alkaline water). For elixirs get Exhilarated with lemon, ginger & cayenne. 2261 Avenida de la Playa(858) 454-6195 Photo: Facebook

Surf & Turf Tacos: Oscars Mexican Seafood

Oscars Mexican Seafood

The fourth edition of Juan Bernardo Montes de Oca’s popular seafood eatery serves up a familiar menu of quality ceviche, grilled fish, tacos and tortas at its shiny new (and spacious!) East Village digs. Perfectly poised by Petco Park for baseball season and recently named on Yelp's list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. in 2016, Oscar’s breakfast menu - complete with chorizo served with eggs, cheese, potatoes and avocado - is not to be missed. 927 J St. (858) 603-8123 Photo: Facebook

MAY 27, 2016

North Park: ChuckAlek Biergarten

ChuckAlex Biergatan

In-the-know beer enthusiasts will already be familiar with this small batch nano breweryout of Ramona, who, as of April, have been serving up their beer in the city. At ChuckAlek’s new North Park digs visitors can enjoy tastings, growler fills and bottle sales on a large kid- and dog-friendly outdoor patio bedecked with picnic tables and lounge furniture. Latest releases include the Sour Blonde Strawberry and Lo Cali Common. 3139 University Ave. (619) 800-6797 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Little Italy: Herb & Wood

Brian Malarkey

High-profile chef Brian Malarkey does not disappoint with this spacious 8,500-square-foot beauty in Little Italy. Here, expect rustic, wood-fired dishes that rely on seasonal vegetables, proteins and local provisions, in-house pastas, old-school cocktails and servers clad in custom couture uniforms. Enjoy happy hour drinks in the lounge area or pretty atrium-style patio before heading to your table. Signature menu items include the oxtail gnocchi, smoked trout with kewpie mayo and capers, and roasted branzino. 2210 Kettner Blvd. (619) 955-8495 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Miramar: Amplified Ale Works

Amplified Ale Works

Established brewers Amplified Ale Works soft-opened their new 12-tap Miramar tasting room in late-April. The new "beeramar" location has helped expand operations with the popular PB brewers now expected to create an additional 1,000 barrels of beer per year. Core pours, including the Electrocution IPA and Pig Nose Pale Ale, are all on the menu here, plus bites courtesy of a rotating roster of food trucks. 9030 Kenamar Drive #309(858) 270-5222 Photo: Facebook

North Park: California's Table

California's Table

Marguerite Grifka’s new daytime eatery offers from scratch, to-go eats comprising pasture raised meats and organic sides. Don’t feel like cooking? Try the weekly meal service of delightful dishes packed in glass jars. This week’s offerings include a soupe au pistou, stone fruit & blue cheese salad, and bread pudding with toffee sauce. California’s Table is open for lunch, Monday through Friday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., with expanded hours coming soon. Mention their recent Facebook post to receive a free cookie during Cookie Week this week! 3620 30th St. (619) 869-0004 Photo: Facebook

Bankers Hill: Royal Stone Bistro

Royal Stone

Serving seasonal, savory, and sincere food with European flair, this newly opened Bankers Hill bistro is open for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tapas and dinner. We hear the octopus salade, Scotch eggs, and house made gnocchi with tarragon chicken come highly recommended. Stumptown fans will be pleased to know that, as of this week, Royal Stone is now stocking their coffee beans for sale. 3401 1st Ave. (619) 738-8550 Logo: Facebook

MAY 20, 2016

Pizza, Pasta & Pints: New York West

NY West

Online reviews have been favorable about this recent downtown addition. Tucked inside the Embassy Hotel and Suites, New York West has a fun modern vibe and sizable menu filled with hand-tossed stone fired pizzas (toppings range from classic margherita and pepperoni, to a slow cooked barbecue chicken), plus pastas, steaks, and seafood. During happy hour (Monday - Friday 4-7 p.m., Monday through Sunday 10 p.m. - 12 a.m.) expect $1 off all drafts, $1 off all wells, $5 house wines and discounted appetizers. 601 Pacific Highway (619) 819-7091 Photo: Yelp

Campfire Cuisine: One Door North

One Door North

Craving s'mores but no time to go camping? Complete with safari style tents, recently opened One Door North offers a perfect outdoorsy themed spot to snack on those tasty treats a plenty! Menu musts include the campfire trout with chimmichurri and corn bread, braised beef short ribs, and duck sausage pizza. Don't miss the retail wine shop tucked away in the back, stocked with varietals from France, Italy and California (the Grazing Goat rose is a top pick). Currently open for dinner, we hear brunch plans are already in the works. 3442 30th St. (619) 618-1285 Photo: Facebook

Next Level Poke: Pokiritto

Pokirrito's Poke Bowls & Sushi Burritos Have Arrived

San Diego's poke game is strong and perhaps nowhere more so than Exec Chef Junya Watanabe's freshly opened spot in Kearny Mesa. As one Yelp reviewer wrote, Pokiritto offers a "solid choice of sushi burritos and poke bowls ranging from normal size to fantastically massive." From the Pokirrito Classic (tuna) to the Maui Sunrise (karaage chicken) you can't go wrong. 4646 Convoy St. (858) 573-2400 Photo: Lydumila Zotova

Havana Good Time: Miss B's Coconut Club

Island-Inspired Miss B's Coconut Club Lands in Mission Beach

For Caribbean-inspired fare (think Cubano eggs Benedict, jerk chicken, coconut rum French toast), plus tasty tiki-tropical cocktails head to this breezy new, island-inspired spot in PB. If you've always dreamt of drinking from a giant copper swan here's your chance. Pull up a seat for some prime people watching along Mission Blvd. and indulge in one of Miss B's Havana A Goodtime cocktails (vodka, pamplemousse, house grapefruit and cucumber cordial, kombucha) with friends. 3704 Mission Blvd. (858) 381-0855 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Blooms, Cold Brews & More: Communal Coffee

communal coffee

Tastemaker Jen Byard's delightful new coffee concept in North Park has been blowing up Instagram feeds since soft-opening a couple of weeks ago. With a monochromatic design theme, accented with pops of color from the assorted flowers and succulents, (not to mention next doors delightful nursery), Communal is a stylishly convivial spot for a bit of avocado toast, some delicious pastries and Sightglass brews on Sunday morning. 2335 University Ave. (619) 920 7887 Photo: Eater

MAY 13, 2016

Italian Seafood Fusion: Clandestino

Clandestino

Clandestino has garnered a slew of favorable online reviews since opening a little less than a month ago. Inspired by Italian coastal cuisine the menu at this seafood-focused concept features everything from lobster bisque and la plancha style octopus entrée, to a crayfish cappellacci fresh pasta dish and LobsBurger: a lobster patty on squid ink bun. The El Bulli burger with Iberian chorizo sauce also sounds like a winner. Open for brunch (weekends, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) expect croissants, waffles and crepes, plus assorted entrees like scrambles and frittatas at this new Hillcrest hotspot. 142 University Ave. (619) 578-2909 Photo: Yelp

Spring Menu Additions: Bleu Bohème

Bleu Boheme

Chef and restaurateur, Ken Irvine recently added a selection of new spring inspired items to his menu at this charming Kensington bistro. Highlights include foie gras au torchon with rhubarb purée and watermelon radish; a deliciously light salad de farro with fava beans, avocado and wild rocket; and a decadent Poutine Québécoise – duck confit, white cheddar curds and foie gras gravy on pomme frites. The basil martini or Kir Royal make for perfect pre-dinner aperitifs during Bleu Boheme’s social hour, which runs 5 – 6 p.m. nightly. 4090 Adams Ave. (619) 255-4167 Courtesy Photo

New Spring/Summer Sips: The Nolen

The Nolen

Newly appointed "Creative Lead’ behind the bar at The Nolen is Andrew Larson, a Seattle transplant from the opening team of Michael Mina’s RN74. From Tiki to Barrel-Aged, and 14th floor rooftop-only exclusive signature sips, Andrew explores a love of shrubs, tinctures and syrups for his debut 21-strong cocktail menu. Highlights include the savory Alligator Pear (gin, caraway seed/cumin/fennel liqueur Kümmel, housemade avocado cilantro shrub, lemon soda, mezcal float). And, with a can’t-miss-it turquoise hue, the rum-based Pacific Wave, which is finished with pamplemousse, Blue Curaçao and cardamom bitters. 453 Sixth Ave. (619) 796-6536 Photo: Jim Sullivan

Ode To Summer: Noble Experiment

Noble Experiment A Very Noble Holiday at Noble Experiment on December 16
East Village cocktail destination Noble Experiment is offering up new twists on classic combinations, with their decadent ode to summer with warm weather flavors such as grapefruit and orange bitters, Caribbean spices, pineapple, lime and plenty of refreshing bubbly. Standout drinks include the Surfer Rosa, made with Jamaican pot-stilled rum, gentian aperitif, almond cordial, pineapple, lime, and Caribbean spices, and the Buddha’s Kiss, mixed with a blend of pot and column-still rum, Thai tea reduction topped with coconut whipped cream. 777 G St. (619) 888-4713 Courtesy Photo

A Study In Strawberry: Soda & Swine

Soda & Swine

As part of their new Study in Strawberry menu Soda & Swine teamed up with Liberty Public Market to develop four seasonal cocktails of which, the strawberry-liscious list of concoctions includes: Strawberry Poptart Shake, an adult-only mix of bourbon, Dutch gin, strawberry liqueur, almond cordial and strawberry ice cream; and Strawberry Fields Forever, made with strawberry infused gin, fresh fruit and citrus.The Midlife Crisis (vodka, blanc vermouth, simple syrup, fresh lemon, muddled strawberries, champagne top) counsels: "When times are tough, everything is better with bubbles & strawberries." 2750 Dewey Rd. #104 (619) 501-9989 [Photo: Lydumila Zotova]

MAY 6, 2016

Copenhagen x San Diego Suds: Mikkeller Brewing

Mikkeller

The former AleSmith Brewing Company's HQ is now home to Danish transplants Mikkeller, who opened doors to their new Miramar tasting room late last month. Stop by and sample one of their 18 beers on tap, including a Shapes Belgian-Style Blonde, California Dream w/ Blonde Orange, Belgian Dark Strong or the Ny Verden Olde Ale. Food truck fare this weekend will be served courtesy of Haad Sai and Local Kebab Mikeller pours between 12 - 10 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, and 12 - 9 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday. 9366 Cabot Drive (858) 381-3500 Photo: Mikkeller

OH! Juice

OH! Juice
While OH! Juice is available downtown (at the Dailey Method), and Hillcrest, Little Italy and Rancho Santa Fe farmer’s markets, founder Hanna Gregor just opened doors to her flagship boutique Tasting Room in Carlsbad. Specializing in cold-pressed, raw, organic juices there are 15 seasonal flavors to sample: from rich greens to vibrant fruit juices, and dairy-free nut milks. Nutritionists/consultants can also advise on customized cleanses and programs tailored to specific health concerns. 5631 Palmer Way, Suite A(619) 908-1150 Photo: Facebook

Breakfast In Bonita: Romesco

Romesco

Bonita's famed Med-Mex bistro is launching its new breakfast menu on Sunday, May 8. Served every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. - 12 noon plates range from huevos and omelettes, to chilaquiles and antojitos. Menu highlights include the Huevos Norteños, two scrambled eggs with house made beef machaca, refried chorizo beans, potatoes and fresh corn tortilla. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the Menudo. 4346 Bonita Rd. (619) 475-8627 Photo: Courtesy Photo

Bright & Balanced New Cocktails: Saltbox

saltbox

Lead bartender Joe Bailin emphasizes solid, balanced drinks with unique ingredients, and less-complex builds with his new spring cocktail line up at Saltbox. The slightly tart and almost floral Living the Dream comprises Grey Goose, blueberry-basil syrup, lemon juice, and cardamom bitters. The Being and Time is a refreshing drink with Ford’s Gin, Lillet Blanc, Aperol, Solerno and grapefruit bitters. Tequila naysayers should try the Cruz Control; a smooth blend of house barrel aged Cruz Reposado, Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao, lime juice and passion fruit. 1047 Fifth Ave. (619) 515-3003 Photo: Saltbox

New Menu Duet: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

pony room
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa has debuted new menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner at both culinary concepts: Veladora and The Pony Room. Seasonal ingredients take center stage with standouts including an Elysian Lamb Rack, Hirame crudo, plus a salted caramel s’mores tart at Veldora. While Pony Room patrons can enjoy crispy octopus tostadas, broiled swordfish and a Santa Fe chopped chicken Salad from its selection of debut eats. 5921 Valencia Circle (858) 756-1123 Photo: Rancho Valencia

APRIL 22, 2016

Solunto Ristorante & Bakery

Solunto's Bakes Up a Modern Renaissance in Little Italy

Since re-opening a month ago with a sleek new re-design, Solunto's stunning handcrafted Italian breads, pastries, pizza and ice creams continue to cement its reputation as Little Italy's "wonderland for baked goods". Enjoy a Neapolitan style pizza from the new pizza oven with a nice bottle of Sicilian wine, before rounding things off with a scoop or two of their housemade gelato, and taking an evening stroll through the neighborhood. 1643 India St. (619) 233-3506 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Sushi + Poke To Go: Tokyo Deli

Tokyo Deli
For freshly prepared authentic sushi and poke made using well-selected ingredients from Japan and locally sourced organic ingredients, head to this newly opened East Village deli. With 20+ flavorful and affordable lunch and dinner options (cut rolls, rice bowls, nigiri, sushi sticks and more), you can dine-in, order to go, or even have your meals delivered. 871 G St. (619) 564-6960 Photo: Facebook

24-Hour Dining: Harvey's Lounge

Harvey's Lounge

Just seven miles south of downtown you’ll find Harvey’s Lounge, a 24-hour hidden gem nestled inside the Bayfront Seven Mile Casino. Stop by for happy hour at the bar (4 – 7 p.m. daily, including Saturdays and Sundays), and enjoy lunch and dinner specials from the extensive menu – it features everything from Asian-fusion to good old-fashioned burgers. Feeling lucky? Head next door to the gaming lounge for poker and table games. 285 Bay Blvd. (619) 425-3333 Courtesy Photo

New Spring Menu: True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen

True Food’s new seasonal spring menu features plenty of health-conscious and nutrition-forward starters, salads, pizzas and desserts. Standouts include the spring bruschetta with truffled oil goat cheese, English peas, and mint leaves; a braised artichoke pizza; and sustainable Seabass entrée. While the chamomile cooler and farmer’s market sangria are just two of four tasty new cocktails also on offer. 7007 Friars Rd. (619) 810-2929 Courtesy Photo

Upscale Sports Bar: 1919

Gaslamp Speakeasy Reopens Alongside New Upscale Sports Bar

In addition to live music and creative cocktails this new-ishly opened neighborhood jointalso boasts 25 HDTVs for those who love to catch all the action. Open 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, imbibers can enjoy late night bites (kitchen closes at 1:19 a.m. sharp!), like the rich man's grilled cheese and disco fries. On weekends expect classic comfort food during brunch, including chicken and waffles, and chilaquiles (11 am - 2 p.m.). 560 5th Ave. (619) 501-1919 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

APRIL 15, 2016

Wood-Fired Cuisine: Lena Craft Mexican

Leña Craft Mexican Brings Authentic Flavor With Farm-to-Table Focus

This casual yet elegant La Jolla Mexican joint specializes in wood-fired regional dishes with a focus on seasonal produce and sustainable meat. Menu standouts include the Tlayuda – corn tortilla flatbread with super fresh veggies roasted from the wood-burning oven, and the duck confit-filled tacos. Baja wines, local beer and an assortment of micheladas are complemented by a unique cocktail program, which showcases small-batch spirits and a hard to find liqueur from the Yucatan. 909 Prospect St. #290 (858) 263-4190 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Vietnamese Specialities: Char House Saigon Grill & Pho

Char House

Serving up grilled skewers (from octopus and whole shrimp to filet mignon), you’ll also find items like Banh Khot (delicious mini rice pancakes topped with shrimp, and eaten with herbs), generously-sized fish sauce chicken wings, and plenty of fragrant pho at this newest addition to the Convoy/Kearny Mesa restaurant row. A couple of early Yelp reviewers wrote the Char House Pho Ga has replaced Phuong Trang's as their absolute favorite. 7767 Balboa Ave. (858) 569-5144 Photo: Yelp

Latin American Seafood: Ceviche House

Ceviche House

While this former farmer's market favorite, and now hole in the wall-style ‘mom and pop shop’ (it seats around nine inside, eight outside) opened last year, it has been flying somewhat under the radar. Folks flock here for chef Juan Carlos Récamier's superb ceviche made from fresher-than-fresh (and completely sustainable) locally sourced seafood --Catalina Offshore, Tuna Harbor Dockside Market-- expertly crafted into different iterations of this Latin American specialty. We hear you can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but the veracruz tostadas (shrimp, scallops, mango) has a lot of love on Yelp. They have a pretty cool and colorful Instagram feed too. 4594 30th St. (619) 453-8330 Photo:Yelp

Spring-Inspired Dishes: BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant

Bankers Hill

A local yellowfin tuna tartar with avocado, chipotle aioli, radish and pea tendril salad, and spice-seared swordfish served with baby artichokes and olive-caper relish are just two of the new spring-inspired dishes on the menu at this Park West gem. Don’t miss the inaugural ‘Sunday School Tasting’ on Sunday, April 17 ($45 per person) led by sommelier Molly Brooks-Thornton, wine and beer enthusiasts can learn about various wine varietals, regions and craft beer while enjoying small tastings of BANKERS HILL’s most popular dishes. 2202 4th Ave. (619) 231-0222 Photo: Courtesy

New Bites: The Commons Bar

The Commons

This Gaslamp staple just launched some new eats to kick off the spring season. Bites include: Nachinno’s, Mottsey Sticks and Totchos (tater tots topped with home style chili, cheese, guacamole and sour cream), and the signature Danger Zone Burger (Angus beef patty, molten pepper jack cheese, diced jalapeños, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper). Enjoy alongside signature cocktails, such as the Cadillac Mexican Bull Dog Margarita, and Long Island Tea Party. 901 4th Ave. (619) 696-8888 Photo: Yelp

APRIL 8, 2016

Pizza & Beer: Flour & Barley

Flour & Barley

New York-style pizza and craft beer is the name of the game at this Vegas transplant, which recently opened doors at The Headquarters. Chef de cuisine JC Colón oversees the menu that, in addition to a wide selection of brick oven pizzas, also comprises assorted apps, salads and entrees like pork belly carbonara and whole roasted branzino. For ale alternatives, think signature and barrel-aged cocktails, plus wine and housemade sodas. 789 W. Harbor Drive (619) 344-2900 Photo: Courtesy

Wines By The Glass: Vino Carta

Bottlecraft Uncorks New Wine Tasting Bar & Bottle Shop in Little Italy

This latest offering from Brian Jensen now gives oeonphiles a new place to sip and savor in Little Italy. With prices ranging from $6 - $12 up to 20 wines are on offer by the glass at this India Street tasting room, which focusses on varietals from smaller, family-run wineries, such as the François Chidaine 2014 'Les Tuffeaux' Chenin Blanc. You can also bring your own snacks, or order prepared bites (cheese, crackers, nuts) from the bar. 2161 India St. (619) 564-6589 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

BBQ & Expanded Ales: Burnside

Burnside

Normal Height’s late night eatery has introduced new menu items and two additional beer taps in honor of its recent interior renovation reveal. While old favorites remain –we’re talking the Cubano and tots – Todd Johnson has helped Burnside beef up its barbecue offerings with his sticky finger baby back ribs, housemade BBQ sauces and Southern Pride Smoked tri-tip. Burnside is open until 11 p.m. Sunday - Thursday, and 1 a.m. on Friday/Saturday. 3375 Adams Ave. (619) 501-7715 Photo: Facebook

Sushi Burritos: Rolled Up

Rolled Up

James Markham's hip Hillcrest digs for super-sized sushi burritos has been a hit since opening earlier last month. Garnering favorable online reviews, the quick-service counter spot has been praised for its fresh food, innovative menu concept and friendly staff of "sushiritto" rollers; most of which will set you back about $11 ($9 for the veggie option), and come with tasty fillings like sake carne asadaahi, Korean short ribs, shrimp tempura and salmon sashimi3884 Fourth Ave. (619) 358-9397 Photo:Yelp

Raw Bar + Craft Cocktails: Crab Hut

Crab Hut Opens In Mira Mesa With New Raw Bar & Craft Cocktails

This Louisiana-inspired seafood specialist just launched a third outpost in Mira Mesa, where you can load up on everything from crab, crawfish and shrimp boils to jambalaya. Consulting bartender David Tye has whipped up a swanky new craft cocktail program too, while at least eight varieties of daily-delivered shellfish along with different toppings, from mignonettes to granite can be enjoyed at the restaurant's 25-seat raw bar. 8280 Miramesa Blvd. (858) 860-5225 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

APRIL 1, 2016

Tiki Additions For Spring: Kettner Exchange

Kettner Exchange

In anticipation of their tiki-themed speakeasy -slated to open in Pacific Beach this fall- SCDM group beverage director Steven Tuttle has added four suitably tiki-inspired cocktails to his Kettner libations list. In addition to the Oaxacan Rose (mezcal, Cocchi Rosa, rhubarb bitters), The Count Camillo (gin, Campari, sweet Vermouth) offers a refreshing riff on a Negroni Collins; while 'Mezcal/Cahaça Mai Tai' I Go To Rio allowed Tuttle the chance to marry his two favorite spirits. Influenced by a recent trip to Venezuela, his Sazerac iteration, The Diplomat, comprises a heady mix of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum, cane syrup, orange bitters and Absinthe. 2001 Kettner Blvd. (619) 255-2001 Courtesy Photo

Spring & Summer Sippers: Mister A's

Mister A's
Designed by lead bartender Alvin Pugedathe iconic Mister A's just unveiled their stunner of a spring/summer cocktail menu last week. Comprising five sections - including 'light, lifted, refreshing'; 'stirred and direct'; and 'for the adventurous' - the thoughtful selection comprises new contemporary cocktails with some imaginative twists. Must trys include: The Herbivore - a refreshing mix of barrel-aged gin, housemade lemongrass-hibiscus tonic, Cynar, and fresh rosemary; Rabbit Punch (Farmer's Organic Gin, fresh carrot juice, yellow Chartreuse, Szechuan peppercorn syrup), and Smoke Signal - pineapple infused mezcal, Benedictine, green Chartreuse, cardamom bitters. 2550 5th Ave. (619) 239-1377 Photo: Michael Rohan

Japanese Craft Cocktails: Tajima

Tajima Cocktails

San Diego’s popular ramen concept is celebrating its recent bar remodel with a new Japanese craft cocktail program at their Kearny Mesa location. Standouts include: Tokyo Buck - Iwai Whiskey, fresh lemon juice, Giffard Fres Des Bois, simple syrup, angosturra bitters, fresh strawberry garnish, ginger beer top; and Hare of The Dog - a Japanese spin on the classic 'Bloody with Suerte Reposado, Yuzu juice, ramen broth, sriracha, and tomato juice. Catch late night happy hour every Friday and Saturday [10 p.m. - 1 a.m.] too with $2 Sapporos, $1 Edamame, and $3 Karaage. 4411 Mercury St. #110(858) 278-5367 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

April Menu Specials: Breakfast Republic

Breakfast Republic

Johan Engman’s mecca for all things morning-related will be serving up three new adult approved breakfast beverages during April. Look out for Orange you glad it’s Spring? - muddled fresh strawberries, orange, pomegranate syrup, vodka, over ice), and the Spring Fling - pineapple juice, orange juice and strawberry syrup joined by champagne for a spring-style mimosa. On the savory side is the Black ‘n’ Blue Bloody – Breakfast Republic’s classic bloody Mary generously garnished with two bleu cheese stuffed olives and a big strip of bacon. 2730 University Ave. (619) 296-7058 Photo: Bradley Schweit

Late Night Eats: Searsucker San Diego

Seersucker

And, last but by no means least, there's a new late-night menu available Friday -Saturday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Brian Malarkey's lively spot for innovative American cuisine. Featuring everything from customer favorite short rib dish, to duck fat fries, and the royal with cheese to cookies and milk, the menu has every kind of night owl hunger cravings covered. 611 5th Ave. (619) 233-7327 Photo: Brian Malarkey

MARCH 18, 2016

Wood & Charcoal Cooking: Fireside by The Patio

Fireside by The Patio

This indoor/outdoor eatery (the latest addition to the growing stellar culinary lineup at Liberty Station) enjoyed a successful soft-opening debut, and is now officially open for lunch and dinner. Centered round "the artistry of fire inspired fare" the menu covers everything from a smoked half chicken entree, to yakitori skewers made from elk, steak, shrimp and pork belly. Appetizers, salads, flatbreads and assorted sides are all here too, plus a daily chalkboard of shareable suggestions. Cocktails include the barrel-aged Trojan Mule, and the 'smoked' Pineapple Express. 2855 Perry Rd. (619) 432-2100 Photo: Facebook

Ramen House: The Whet Noodle

The Whet Noodle
Chef/owner Devin Waite puts his spin on ramen at this "untraditional ramen" house in South Oceanside, where he has developed two signature broths: one is a duck shoyu made with slow-roasted duck meat, the other a hot and sour miso. The menu also features a selection of small plates like spicy squid and baked scallops, plus happy endings including Cravory Cookies. "Social lubricants" comprise sakes, wines, Japanese and local craft beer. Neighbors with The Wrench & Rodent Seabasstro Pub, The Whet Noodle is open 4 - 9 p.m. on Mondays, and 4 - 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 1813 S. Coast Highway (760) 453-2738 Photo: The Whet Noodle

Cuisine Avec Amour: Pardon My French Bar & Kitchen

Pardon My French

With hearty French-California cuisine and a meticulously crafted boutique wine list, Pardon My French is the newest addition to the Hillcrest dining scene. Kick-start your weekend with an after work craft cocktail and bar snacks – The French Blonde (dry gin, St Germaine, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit juice, lemon bitters), and the Charcuterie/Fromage board are highly recommended. Come Sunday, enjoy bottomless mimosas and brunch bites like leek and truffle quiche, or a croque monsieur on the pup friendly outside patio. 3797 Park Blvd. (619) 546-4328 Photo: Yelp

Live Music + Libations: Prohibition

Gaslamp Speakeasy Reopens Alongside New Upscale Sports Bar

Relaunched last weekend, the Gaslamp's underground speakeasy is back with a brand new cocktail menu thanks to lead bartender Ryan Andrews. Transport yourself to another era and head behind the unassuming door of The Law Offices of Joseph O'Hare Esquire this weekend to sip on some expertly made Prohibition-era drinks. The musical line-up includes Lady Dottie & The Bootleggers (Friday, March 18) and Jason Brown (Saturday, March 19). Open 8 p.m. to 2 p.m. 548 5th Ave. Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Fast-Food Vegan: Plant Power

Plant Power

Loaded with healthier alternatives to 'traditional' fast-food favorites, the GMO-free, mostly organic menu at this new eco-minded OB eatery comprises burgers, fries, wraps, tacos, salads, shakes, smoothies and other tasty treats made entirely without the use of animal products. Must tries include the Wake & ‘Bacon’ Burger, South West Avocado Wrap, and ‘chicken’ tenders. Look out for Plant Power's adorable unofficial mascot, Moby-dog the Wise, too. 2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. (619) 450- 6845 Photo: Facebook

MARCH 11, 2016

Gourmet Sandwiches: Moto-Deli Food Truck

Moto Deli Food Truck

While Encinitas' new chef-driven sandwich concept Moto Deli is slated for an Aprilopening, chef Alex Carballo and his crew have launched the Moto Deli food truck to keep the North County diners happy in the interim. Every Thursday and Friday the truck will be parked outside their impending eatery from 11:00 a.m. - 2 p.m., serving up gourmet sandwiches and house-made sides. Look out for Moto Deli at the El Cajon Craft Beer Invitational Saturday, March 12 between 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. 810 N. Coast Highway 101 (760) 943- MOTO [Courtesy Photo]

Designer Dining: TRUST

Dining room at Trust Lyudmila Zotova

The stylish new eatery in Jonathon Segal's recently completed Mr. Robinson building, TRUST boasts a thoughtful menu centered round seasonal, shareable plates plus locally produced craft beer and wines. Spearheaded by Eat. Drink. Sleep alum executive chef Brad Wise and GM Steve Schwob, the restaurant's "New American" eats include breakfast, lunch and brunch bites, which range from the (already hugely popular) ultimate sticky bun, to hamachi crudo, uni pasta and braised oxtail ravolini. 3752 Park Blvd. (619) 795-6901 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Mexican Soul Food: Del Sur

South of the Border-Inspired Del Sur Swings Into South Park

Expect south of the border-style "grandma dishes" with a twist at this new addition to South Park's dining scene. Menu offerings include carnitas and grilled fish taco plates for around $12 - $14, Mexican draft beers for $5 and house margaritas for $6 (or $4 during happy hour, which is every Wednesday between 4 - 6 p.m.). There's a good selection of other cocktails too ($8-$11), including a Paloma, sangria and classic Old Oaxacan. 2310 30th St. (619) 501-0643 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Coffee & Pizza: Pappalecco

Pappalecco Adds Pizzeria to Newly Opened Kensington Coffeehouse

Brothers Francesco and Lorenzo Bucci recently soft-opened a fourth outpost of their popular coffee house concept in Kensington. The spacious new locale also boasts a pizza oven component, which is turning out Tuscan-style crisp crust Margherita and signature Pappalecco pies. Diners can also expect to find the usual assortment of their housemade pastries, paninis, gelato and high-octane Italian espresso. 4202 Adams Ave. (619) 255-4770 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Thai + Vietnamese Cuisine: Birdseye Kitchen

Birdseye Kitchen

Nestled along a prime stretch on the Encinitas/Leucadia border (Viggiluci's and the Pannikin are neighbors), Birdseye Kitchen drew huge crowds during their soft opening last week. The menu line up includes several varieties of pho (chicken, vegetarian and beef are all made with organic bone broths), rice plates, house specialty massaman curry, plus classics like drunken noodles and Pad Thai. Duck Foot's gluten-reduced California Blonde and Pizzaport's Swami's IPA are on tap, with plenty of local brews also available by the bottle. 540 N. Coast Highway 101 (760) 479-0488 Photo: Facebook

MARCH 4, 2016

Sip & Savor in East County: Burning Beard Brewing Company

Burning Beard Brew Co

Mike Maass and business partner Jeff Wiederkehr recently opened their new El Cajon brewhouse, where the (surprisingly beardless) brewers are currently pouring six debut beers. On tap are two hoppy West Coast IPAs; a coffee stout and coffee stout on nitro; plus Russian Imperial Stout and Russian Imperial Stout on nitro. They also have a Belgian Single in the fermenter, and both a lager and tart Weizen on deck. The 5,000-square foot brewhouse comprises a tasting room in addition to a barrel room that doubles as an event space, which can also be used for parties, private events and overflow when the tasting room gets crowded. A food component, courtesy of local vendors MexiCoast Grill, starts up next week. Hours of operation are: Monday to Thursday 3 - 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 - 10 p.m. and Sunday 12 - 8 p.m. 785 Vernon Way, El Cajon (619) 456-9185 Photo: Stuart Gardner

From Grape to Growler: LJ Crafted Wines

LJ Crafted Wines

Husband and wife team Lowell and Anne Jooste opened doors to their eagerly anticipated urban winery and tasting room in Bird Rock late last month, and we hear it's already a smashing success. Guests can enjoy barrel-to-glass-wines from a current line up that includes a Pinot Noir Rose, 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, two Chardonnays (Russian River, Carneros), a Russian River Pinot Noir and a 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The eco-minded wine-makers also offer growler fills so you can take your plonk to enjoy at home too. 5621 La Jolla Blvd. (858) 551-8890 Photo: Facebook

New Lunch Menu: BiCE

BiCE

Famed for its fantastic Northern Italian fare, this elegant Gaslamp eatery recently launched a new lunch service, which runs from Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Menu standouts from executive chef Mario Cassineri include the "Frichoi" Foie Gras potato croquets, and shaved steam octopus with crushed olives to start, while the Mediterranean sea bass filet cooked on a cedar plank, and ravioli stuffed with braised beef and spinach in a marsala wine sauce are two stellar mains. The Aperol Spritz also makes a refreshing lunchtime sipper. 425 Island Ave. (619) 239-2423 Photo: BiCE

New Weekend Brunch: Vinavanti

Vinavanti Uncorks New Urban Winery & Tasting Room in Hillcrest

Hillcrest's first urban winery is now serving weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy a table for two on the patio or pull up a stool at one of the large communal tables and enjoy savory and sweet options from the menu including orange French toast with maple-brandy sauce and almond cream, and house-cured salmon with curried potato pancake, in addition to $5 off all sparkling wines. 1477 University Ave. (877) 484-6282 Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

Fried Chicken & Waffles: Da Chicken Coop

Da Chicken Coop

The man behind Coops West Texas BBQBradrick "Coop" Cooper, has added fried chicken to his repertoire in the form of this newly opened outpost for the good stuff in Lemon Grove. In addition to his award-winning fried chicken and chicken sandwiches (Coops chicken is marinated in dry seasoning, dredged in buttermilk then dusted in secret flour and seasoning mix), the menu also offers waffles, sides and fresh fish options. Housed in a former taco shop the brightly colored spot has seating for around 50 people and also boasts a spacious outside patio. 2605 Lemon Grove Ave. (619) 460-0839 Photo: Facebook

FEBRUARY 19, 2016

Pop-Up Beer Garden: Andaz Rooftop600

andaz

Fresh off its recent makeover, The Andaz Hotel's Swanky rooftop club will feature a daily pop-up Beer Garden with German-inspired food and drink menus, now through April. Expect a serious brew-roster of German classics, craft drafts and bottled beers from local breweries including Lightning Brewer, Mike Hess and Ballast Point, plus perfectly paired bites like curry wurst and schnitzel. Popular games like Ping-Pong, giant Jenga and giant Connect Four will be available for guests to play while sipping and snacking. Open daily from 12 p.m. onwards. 600 F St. (619) 814-2029 Photo: Trip Advisor

MishMash

MishMash

This gourmet street-food truck and gourmet catering company have had their first brick and mortar location up and running since early January in Barrio Logan. The menu revolves around a selection of snacks like pork belly fries ($10), "Triple D" duck fat fries with duck confit topped with duck gravy ($8), and a slow-braised pork shoulder Cuban sandwich. There are three burgers, plus plates including wonton fish tacos and vegan tempeh tacos, while the bar serves up local brews, regional wines, house sodas, margaritas and sangrias. MishMash is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. 1985 National Ave. #1133 (619) 955-8544 Photo: MishMash

Lawn Games & Street Food: Spitz

LA's Spitz Opens Hillcrest Playground With Lawn Games & Street Food

Stop by this recently opened funky LA-transplant for California fresh Mediterranean style street food, including a variety of döner kebabs and topped fries, plus craft beers, cocktails and housemade sangrias from their full bar. Weekday happy hour deals (4 - 7 p.m.) include $2 off select drinks and snacks, or why not stop by this weekend when Spitz will be open until midnight (Friday/Saturday nights) and enjoy an alfresco game of Corn Hole or giant Jenga on their hidden gem of a beer garden. 3515 5th Ave. (619) 326-8556 Photo: Bradley Schweit

Southern Soul Style Barbecue: Bugsy's BBQ & Grill

Bugsy's BBQ & Grill

Pitmaster Jake Green has worked at some of the nation's best barbecue joints inclduing Memphis Minnies in San Francisco and Bill Millers Barbecue in Austin, TX. Now he's brining his own "southern soul style barbecue" to San Diego by way of this freshly minted spot in The Gaslamp. Styled around a 1920s Wild West theme, expect Texas style brisket, and Memphis style pulled pork to Kansas City ribs in everything from starters, sandwiches, entrees and meat combos; plus hearty sides like Carolina slaw, pit beans and smokehouse fries. Hhomemade desserts, including banana pudding, peach cobbler and selection of rotating pies, are also available. Bugsy's is open Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. 827 5th Ave. (619) 235-8700 Photo: Facebook

Awards Season Inspired New Sips: Grant Grill

Howlin' Wolf

Just in time for awards season, the beverage team at this storied eatery have whipped up a new music-inspired menu of libations––created and inspired by Chef de Bar Cory Alberto's favorite musicians. New additions include Howlin' Wolf (Johnny Walker Red, cane sugar, chocolate, Angostura Bitters, cigar foam) - inspired by legendary Chicago Blues guitarist Howlin' Wolf; and Lady Ella (Remy Martin 1783, Creme Yvette, rose water, tangerine, Prosecoo) - named after Ella Fitzgerald's piano player who sipped cocktails at Grant Grill. 326 Broadway (619) 744-2077 Photo: Tim King


FEBRUARY 6, 2016

New Chef & Menu: Top Of The Market