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Restaurant Reviews

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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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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‘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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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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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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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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