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Food & Drink

Captivating cuisine from India’s tropics

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Forget the pakoras, naan bread and chicken tikka masala flaunted in most Indian restaurants. Those are standard provisions from the country’s northern regions far removed from the menu choices at Flavors of Mayura, which specializes in a rare lineup of dishes common to India’s tropical southwest province of Kerala. (Mayura is a Sanskrit word for peacock.)

Indeed, you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere things like ultra-thin dosa crepes made with a batter of rice and lentils and stuffed with turmeric-kissed potatoes. Dramatic in size, they sport the length and girth of a loosely rolled-up wall poster.

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Foodie Flashes – April 28, 2017

Posted: April 28th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes The much-anticipated reopening of Olympic Café at its new North Park location will become a reality by mid-May, said Donna Kotselas, who founded the Greek restaurant with her husband, John, more than 30 years ago. The couple closed the business last year at its original location, at 2340 University Ave., due to landlord issues. In deciding to relocate, they acquired the lease to a structure one door west, where […]

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Out with the brass, in with the new

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, News, Top Story | 1 Comment

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

What stands today as The Rail on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Robinson Street in Hillcrest has made two previous moves from its original Downtown location, attracted a solid LGBT clientele along the way, and for a time greeted customers with a sunken bar defined by a long, brass foot rail.

From its early beginnings in 1934 and until July of last year, the nomadic establishment operated as The Brass Rail.

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Let them eat soup (at Nordstrom)

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. It was one of those rare times that I took myself to lunch at a cost nearing what I’d pay for dinner in a moderately priced restaurant — $27 plus tip, to be exact. For at least two decades I’ve heard from shoppers with loose purse strings about Nordstrom’s lovely third-floor restaurant, Marketplace Cafe, and its renowned tomato-basil soup, in particular.

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Dining and donating

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, News, Top Story | No Comments

By Dave Fidlin

Before he even opened the doors to his new Hillcrest establishment, Ron Kazemaini knew he wanted to do more than serve beverages and his signature “light bites.”

“I want my business to be a part of the community,” said Kazemaini, who opened The Kouch Lounge on Fourth Avenue on April 1. “Because the community is so important to me, I think this should be a place that gives back in any way possible.”

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Foodie Flashes – April 14, 2017

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes The two-story building at the corner of Ninth and University avenues in Hillcrest that was rumored to become a Japanese restaurant has been fully leased instead to Better Buzz Coffee Roasters. The Vista-based company is currently working with designers and architects to transform the house-like structure into a full-production roasting facility and café that will feature a “ring of seating” for customers to view the roasting process, said […]

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Corned beef for the birthday boy

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

My spouse’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day and I’ll be damned if I take another chance cooking him corned beef for the occasion. For two years in a row, they’ve yielded gross amounts of incorrigible fat. This time around, he gets homemade lasagna with a green candle in the middle.

Though in the week leading up to the celebration, we sated our corned beef desires over brunch at McGregor’s Grill & Ale House, which opened a stone’s throw away from Qualcomm Stadium, 20 years ago.

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On top of his game

Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, Interviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

As one of the rare entrepreneurs in the country with a knack for weaving chocolate and caramel into savory dishes, Will Gustwiller accepted an invitation from the Food Network to be a contestant on a special episode of “Guy’s Chocolate Games” and ended up $16,000 richer because of it.

The segment was a spinoff of “Guy’s Grocery Games” hosted by Guy Fieri. Gustwiller was among four competitors vying to survive three elimination rounds of cooking for up to $20,000 in prize money. The episode was taped in November in Santa Rosa inside a closed set, replete with food-stocked aisles resembling a commercial grocery store.

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Curry cravings

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Thai restaurants tend to sneak onto the landscape without any hoopla and then take months to discover if you don’t have a friend who’s an addict to drunken noodles to tell you about them.

Such is the case with Veganic Thai Café, which opened quietly more than a year ago in the heart of Hillcrest, where House of Khan resided briefly, and Mama Testa before that. Given its understated signage and a general lack of buzz, it’s easy to overlook.

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