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Food & Drink

Burger mania on Friars Road 

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Whether it’s fish tacos, fried chicken or some special sauce that becomes the signature item in certain restaurants, I always try cracking into their guarded recipe secrets through various means. Sometimes I luck out. But more often I hit a wall, especially in franchises protected by scripted personnel.

At Mr. Peabody’s Burgers & Ale, I more or less discovered the elusive ingredient that goes into their top-selling burgers.

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Foodie Flashes – Sept. 15, 2017

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes

North Park will see its first hard-cider bar arriving in early October under the name Bivouac Ciderworks, which will also feature a full-service restaurant component. The project was conceived by Missouri transplant Matt Austin, an avid homebrewer with an architectural background, and San Diego native Lara Worm, who helped her parents run Bekker’s Catering.

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Cooking in transition

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

In an industry dominated by men, Dominick Scott knows what it’s like climbing the culinary ladder as a woman.

Before recently landing the position as head chef at The Glass Door, located on the fourth floor of Little Italy’s Porto Vista Hotel, the 31-year-old Serra Mesa resident identified as female.

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Foodie Flashes – Sept. 1, 2017

Posted: September 1st, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes

Café Bleu recently transformed into Jo’s Mission Hills Diner with a brightly colored makeover and a menu that covers numerous breakfast dishes, salads, sandwiches, burgers and entrees such as meatloaf and smoked mac n’ cheese.

“We wanted to be a little more approachable,” said Ric Libiran, who owned Café Bleu and kept its chef for the new venture.

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Foodie Flashes – Aug. 18, 2017

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes

The Old Mill Café in North Park has changed its name to North Park Diner and will begin introducing Korean-inspired barbecue to its lengthy menu this month.

Harry Kim, who took over the restaurant 10 years ago with his wife, Kyoung, has already added ramen to the menu.

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Greek redux

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review

I have a major problem dining at Olympic Café.

Nearly every menu item — Greek, American and the house-made desserts — sends me into a state of shameful gluttony quelled only by overeating and stealing forkfuls of food from my tablemates along the way.

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Foodie Flashes – Aug. 4, 2017

Posted: August 4th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes Noted for its burgers, hickory smoked wings and craft beer selection, The South Park Abbey closed on July 30. The nearly 10-year-old establishment, which previously housed South Park Grill, alerted patrons to its last day of business on Facebook, but offered no explanation for shuttering. 1946 Fern St.

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Top-floor boss

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review

Ingrid Funes has figuratively and literally made her way to the top since leaving her native El Salvador at age 15 to pursue a restaurant career in Los Angeles.

Now the executive chef of Cusp Dining & Drinks, where customers are afforded opulent views of La Jolla from an 11th-floor dining room and bar lounge, Lunes proves that you don’t have to be a man or an alumna of some highfalutin culinary school to achieve success.

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Foodie Flashes – July 21, 2017

Posted: July 21st, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes “No borders!” is the theme of this year’s fourth annual Ceviche Showdown, to be held from 1 to 4 p.m., Aug. 13, at Fifty Seven Degrees in Middletown. The event includes for the first time restaurants from Mexico that will compete against chefs from several local establishments such as Old Town Tequila Factory, Red Card Café, Coasterra, Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant, The Blind Burro and more.

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Backseat dining

By Frank Sabatini Jr.        

It was a reservation for two.

“We have the car for you,” said the hostess to our bewilderment, while leading us toward the rear section of the warehouse-style dining room and past a busy, open kitchen.

Within moments a shiny red Fiat perched a couple feet off the ground came into view. Its front seats were missing and the side doors were ajar. Implanted inside was our table, an attention-getting perch that sent my tall spouse into a moment of panic.

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A marriage of beer and liquor

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, Profiles, Top Story | No Comments

By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Since opening up just in advance of Pride weekend five years ago, Hillcrest Brewing Company — touted as the only LGBT-owned brewery in the world — has become a welcome addition to the gayborhood. Their popular pizzas, tangy wings and array of house-made craft beers and guest craft brew taps draw people from all over to their humble, industrial-style space.

Each year they brew up a special “one-off” craft beer for Pride week, and there is another change this year, one that may take some by surprise: Hillcrest Brewing Company now has a liquor license.

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A carnivore’s paradise

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review Their goal was to take the mystery out of meat by showing consumers how regionally sourced free-range livestock is broken down for consumption, with few parts excluded. After generating revenues through crowdsourcing, Trey Nichols and James Holtslag opened their dream business, an educational butchery named The Heart & Trotter in North Park.

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Foodie Flashes – July 7, 2017

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes Restaurateur Frankie Terzoli, a former contestant of Bravo’s “Top Chef” (season two) who once ran the long-shuttered Big Easy in Hillcrest, will open a seafood-centric restaurant within 57 Degrees wine and craft-beer bar by mid-fall. Tentatively named Fish Mongers Market, the venture will occupy a front section and back patio of the sprawling structure and serve lunch and dinner. Terzoli also plans on utilizing an existing deli area inside […]

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Grapes, suds and coffee

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

The most commonly asked question by first-time visitors to Negociant Urban Winery is, “Do you make the wines here?”

According to co-owner John Rinaldi, their jaws often drop when he answers “Yes,” despite stacks of wooden barrels forming the backdrop to a modest-size tasting room and wine-making facility that formerly housed a tanning salon.

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