By Frank Sabatini Jr.
As we reported in May about Project Pie’s acquisition by the Los Angeles-based Elite Restaurant Group (Slater’s 50/50 and Daphne’s restaurants), the company has decided to convert its remaining San Diego locations of Project Pie to Patxis Pizza shops, which was still in question at the time of the takeover. Those outlets are in Hillcrest, Chula Vista and Eastlake. They’re due for re-branding by late summer.
The new Patxis Pizza concept will beckon to those throughout California and Colorado with a variety of deep-dish and thin-crust pizzas. The menu extends also to hearty sandwiches, meatballs served in bread bowls, and to the unexpected non-Italian offering of chicken tikka masala. The Hillcrest location is at 3888 Fourth Ave., 619-501-8000,
The long-established Szechuan Mandarin restaurant (5855 Mission Gorge Road) in Grantville has permanently shuttered after serving cuisine inspired by China’s Sichuan province and Mandarin culture since 1980. A paper sign taped to the doors thanked “faithful customers,” but offered no explanation for the closure.
The establishment is among a handful of old-school Chinese restaurants that have disappeared from San Diego’s landscape over the past several years, with the most recent being Chop Suey/Peking Restaurant in North Park.
Fans of chef, restaurateur and author Su-Mei Yu can learn some of her culinary secrets in a cooking class she’s conducting from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Sept. 7, at her recently opened Saffron Thai in La Jolla. The restaurant is an offshoot to the original location at 3731-B India St. in Mission Hills.
Yu will teach attendees how to make popular dishes from her restaurants, in addition to her versatile “anti-inflammatory paste,” which serves as the foundation for some of the recipes. She will also demonstrate ways to blend spices such as turmeric, peppercorns and garlic for achieving optimal health benefits.
The cost is $55 per person and includes a signed copy of Yu’s most recent cookbook, “The Elements of Life.” 1055 Torrey Pines Road, 858-263-4324, saffronthai.com.
The Wine Lover in Hillcrest will hold its first-ever tasting by a winery based in San Diego County, from 5 to 7 p.m., Aug. 31. Two whites and three reds from Twin Oaks Valley Winery in San Marcos will be poured and discussed by vintner/owner Malcolm Gray, who sources his grapes exclusively from local growers.
The event will be held on the patio and is limited to 25 people. It is the sixth of eight Saturday tastings scheduled for this year. The cost is $45, which includes wines and a cheese bar. Reservations are recommended by calling The Wine Lover or visiting its website. 3968 Fifth Ave., 619-294-9200, thewineloversd.com.
The acclaimed Babycakes is returning “home” to Hillcrest this fall as it resettles into a prime address previously occupied by Pinkberry, at the corner of Fourth and Robinson avenues. The structure sits one block away from where Babycakes originally operated for several years.
This time around, according to co-owner Christopher Stavros, the bakeshop won’t feature a bar-restaurant component, although it will eventually serve Champagne, beer, coffee and frozen yogurt.
“That decision came during our restructuring of the business in 2017. We just want to focus on one thing and do it well,” he said, in reference to the company’s toothsome line of cupcakes and other baked goods, which also include customized wedding and birthday cakes.
He added the recent pop-up of Babycakes inside Fiji Yogurt at the HUB Hillcrest Market will likely discontinue once the new, permanent space opens.
The inventory will feature about 25 flavors of cupcakes, plus crème brulee cheesecake, brownies, cookies, muffins and more. The location will serve as a pickup spot for customized orders as well.
Babycakes also operates a bakery and coffeehouse in Imperial Beach. The Hillcrest space will be nearly equal in size and feature a sleeker, more modern design. 3795 Fourth Ave., 619-990-2282,
Just when you thought the menu at Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe in North Park couldn’t get any lengthier, it did.
Owner Cheryl Dagostaro recently hit her goal of offering 100 different sandwich choices in what is a shrine to musicians of the 1960s and the Woodstock Music Festival from 50 years ago. She opened the eatery in 2011 with 20 sandwiches on the menu. Three years later the number rose to 50, and in January of this year it had grown to 77.
“I just added the last 23 and I’m finally going to take a nap,” she quipped before naming off some of the newcomers such as Leon’s Love, Manfred Mannwich, Frampton Fire and Elton’s Everything — named after Leon Russell, Manfred Mann, Peter Frampton and Elton John, respectively.
Dagostaro’s creations feature various meats, cheeses, garnishments, condiments and house-made sauces. There are 33 vegetarian choices in the lineup. More than a dozen salads are also available.
In celebration of the shop’s eighth anniversary on Aug. 17, all sandwiches will be 20% off, and with a slice of cake included. 3042 North Park Way, 619-692-1969, sandwichessandiego.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.