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Food & Drink

Foodie Flashes: Dec. 8 – 21, 2017

Posted: December 8th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Champagne expert Dustin Jones of Skurnik Wines will head up an informative tasting of French Champagne from 7 to 10 p.m., Dec. 22, at The Wine Lover in Hillcrest. Guests can drop in at any time during the indoor-outdoor event to sample four pours featuring three whites and one rosè, all hailing from within France’s Champagne province. The cost is $35 per person.

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Healthy mix-ups

Posted: November 24th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant  Review

The meal options are wholesome, the “sauce bar” is inviting, and many of the customers appear hale and hearty.

Welcome of Elva’s Bowls & Wraps, a basic continuation of what used to be Crazy Bowls & Wraps before Marvin Fleschman and his wife, Elva Rodriguez, purchased the business nearly a year ago as “a hobby” to augment their retirement. He was in real estate and she catered banquets for hotels and country clubs in Los Angeles.

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Foodie Flashes: Nov. 24 – Dec. 7, 2017

Posted: November 24th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Get your chili fix — and lots of it — at the eighth annual SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-off, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 3, at 32nd and Thorn streets.

The event ushers in nearly 40 local restaurants competing for top chili honors as they dole out samples to attendees. It also features a beer and wine garden, live music and a kid’s zone. Tickets are $20, which includes five chili tastings in a ceramic bowl guests get to keep.

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Pass the kibbeh, please

Posted: November 10th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. When asked if the surrounding competition of at least five other Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurants was a deterrent when opening Blue Fourno Grill in Hillcrest earlier this year, owner Abed Shadfan replied, “No. We’re different.” He explained that everything is made from scratch, including the chicken and lamb-beef shawarma, for which the meats are spiced in-house and stacked by hand onto a vertical rotisserie until forming a large self-basting cone.

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Foodie Flashes: Nov. 10 – 23, 2017

Posted: November 10th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes Napizza in the HUB Hillcrest Market has closed, but it will soon restructure under the same ownership as a sit-down modern Italian restaurant called Casa Maestoso. Co-founder Christopher Antinucci said he partnered with a “high-end chef from Rome” for the project, which is slated to debut in March. Napizza has existing locations in Little Italy, the 4S Commons Town Center, and Encinitas. Another will open in December in […]

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Foodie Flashes: Oct. 27 – Nov. 9, 2017

Posted: October 27th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes

The New Zealand-inspired Dunedin in North Park recently launched weekday breakfast service, available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as an extension to its successful weekend brunch offered within the same time frame. Many of the dishes carryover from the brunch menu, such as the baked pancake paired with apples and fried habanero chicken, and a hearty croque madame-style béchamel bread pudding with Gruyere cheese, ham, eggs, potatoes and roasted tomatoes. There’s also a traditional Kiwi breakfast featuring eggs, sausage, baked beans and potatoes. 3501 30th St., 619-255-8566, dnp-sd.com.

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‘Hands of love’

Posted: October 27th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review

Oscar Acosta recalls telling his wife, Dulce, before they got married, “One day we’re going to have a restaurant.”

The couple first met at a farmers market in their native Mexico City. They eventually moved to the U.S. and settled in Spring Valley, where they run one of the best and most underrated Mexican restaurants in San Diego County, called Ranas Mexico City Cuisine.

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Gourmet bar brunch

Posted: October 13th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

The owners of The Rail could have settled for a novice cook who’s good at scrambling eggs and frying bacon within the confines of the establishment’s small kitchen. Lucky for us they went the extra mile in recruiting a veritable chef to head up their brunch and lunch menus.

Chad Brunette is a graduate of the Las Vegas Art Institute’s culinary program and former sous chef at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. You know immediately when sinking your choppers into his wine-braised meatball sliders, for example, that a practiced, creative mind is at work.

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Wine time in a garden

Posted: September 29th, 2017 | Features, Food & Drink, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Back in 2000, when the notion of opening a bar that serves only wine was considered financially risky, longtime gay couple and world travelers Reuel Olin and Bob Grinchuk decided to take the gamble after returning from a trip to Paris.

They were impressed by the city’s “unique civilization” of wine bars and the myriad varietals and artisan cheeses they served.

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Foodie Flashes – Sept. 29, 2017

Posted: September 29th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes

The upcoming Bankers Hill Fall Festival will bring together many of the neighborhood’s core restaurants as they offer ticketed guests samples of their signature dishes. They’ll be joined by dozens of other businesses such as boutiques, fitness studios and art galleries that will provide information and demos about their products.

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Mouthfuls of food at Lazy Acres Market

Posted: September 29th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

I never cared much for soda drinks, cookies and chicken cordon bleu. But that all changed when grazing through the prepared foods section of Lazy Acres Natural Market, the upscale organic-conscious grocery store that recently opened in Mission Hills.

Hang left after entering and you’ll see the area’s first food station, where smoothies are made to order and fresh orange juice, kombucha and “natural” house sodas are available from self-serve taps. If you’re struck by indecision, ask for a sample.

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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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