By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes
The flavors of New Zealand are sailing into University Heights next month as the 10-barrel Kairoa Brewing Co. completes reconstruction of a nearly 100-year-old building at the corner of Park Boulevard and Madison Avenue. The project, spearheaded in part by New Zealand native Shanan Spearing of nearby Red House Pizza, promises a menu of “New Zealand comfort food” and small-batch beers using that country’s hops. The spacious two-level structure will feature rooftop seating and areas tailored for private and public events. 4601 Park Blvd., kairoa.com.
After plunging into an intensive syllabus on the making and usages of sake, and then completing an exam on the subject, sous chef Keaton Henson of Saiko Sake & Sushi Bar (2884 University Ave.) in North Park has become a certified sake specialist. He earned the level 1 achievement through the Sake Educational Council, which offers certification training programs globally.
“Sake is such a diverse beverage and it takes a lot of study to understand it,” said Henson, who sometimes cooks with the Japanese rice wine and also tends bar at Saiko Sushi (116 Orange Ave.) in Coronado.
The course was held in Las Vegas, and the level 2 program for becoming an advanced sake specialist will be held in 2020 in Japan.
“I’ve already reserved my spot for it,” Heston added.
The 33-year-old Saffron Thai in Mission Hills has opened a second location in La Jolla in a 2,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space formerly occupied by Chipotle. The expansion comes nearly two years after Saffron’s founder, Su-Mei Yu, teamed up with San Diego-based hospitality firm, Karina’s Group. Fans of the India Street location will find many of their favorite dishes at the new outpost, such as the signature Thai-grilled chicken, noodle soups, various stir fries, and robust curries. 1055 Torrey Pines Road, 858-263-4324,
Fast food alert: Vegetarians who think they’re dodging saturated fats at Panda Express when ordering meatless dishes should note that nothing is the fast-casual restaurant is conducive to their diets. After following up with the company on a tip we received from a surprised vegetarian, it was confirmed the chow mein and re-fried rice are made with chicken broth, and the vegetable egg rolls are deep-fried in the same oil used for various meats. The menus are the same at all Panda Express locations, which include Hillcrest, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley Mall and the Midway District.
Look for dishes such as curry chicken puff pastries, tofu soup, roasted pork loin and various breakfast dishes with Asian flair at The Nood Bar in North Park, rumored to soft open in early January. According to preliminary information stated on the eatery’s incomplete website, the space will also feature a cozy bar lounge that seats up to 40 guests. 4596 30th St.,
The much-anticipated second location of Wich Addiction is up and running in the Friars Mission Center shopping plaza in Mission Valley. Launched originally six years ago in Sorrento Valley by Mark Manning and his wife, Dyann (an alum of the Culinary Institute of America), their newest spot brings to the area an array of gourmet sandwiches that change so frequently, the shop doesn’t issue printed menus. The choices are instead updated regularly online and listed on a large menu board inside the eatery, which previously housed Elva’s Bowls & Wraps. 5664 Mission Center Road, 619-269-7269, wichaddiction.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.