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Food & Drink

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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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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