By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes
Specialty pizzas, dry-rubbed ribs and pressure-cooked chicken are among the highlights at Happy’s Pizza, a Detroit-based chain that recently made its San Diego debut in Lincoln Park.
Since its founding in 1996, the company has become a charitable leader in the communities it serves by feeding the homeless, providing coats for kids and supporting educational initiatives for low-income families. 5083 Logan Ave., 619-527-4444, happyspizza.com.
Swami’s Cafe, which currently has nine locations throughout San Diego County, will open a Hillcrest branch “hopefully by February,” according to Martin Kleckner, a manager for the family-owned company. The cafe will go into the space formerly occupied by Busalacchi’s A Modo Mio, which closed last year and is now undergoing minor remodeling.
Known for their extensive breakfast and lunch options, as well as fresh juices and smoothies, some of Swami’s Cafes also offer dinner, which Kleckner said “might” enter into the Hillcrest concept along with the availability of beer and wine. 3707 Fifth Ave., swamiscafe.com.
Renowned pastry chef Karen Krasne will close her original, long-established location of Extraordinary Desserts at 2929 Fifth Ave. later this year and move it “a scone’s throw away” to 2870 Fourth Ave. into The Louie, a mixed-use building that also houses James Coffee Co.
Krasne is making the move because her lease on Fifth Avenue is due to expire after she held it for more than 30 years. The new digs will allow for an expanded menu of sweet and savory items, as well as beer and wine and indoor-outdoor seating. It will be designed by architect Jennifer Luce of LUCE et Studio, who worked on Krasne’s second location of Extraordinary Desserts (1430 Union St.) in Little Italy before it opened more than a decade ago. extraordinarydesserts.com.
In celebration of its 35th anniversary, Rubio’s Coastal Grill will flash back to the decade it was founded in the Mission Bay area by selling original fish taco plates for $5 and playing ’80s music during normal business hours on Jan. 25 at all locations. The plates feature two beer-battered fish tacos, pinto beans and chips. Rubio’s currently operates more than 200 locations throughout the U.S., including 30-plus outlets in San Diego County, and has added grilled seafood options to its menu over the years. rubios.com.
The recently shuttered Whistling Duck Tavern in the HUB Hillcrest Market will make way for Nishiki Ramen, which operates a location in Kearny Mesa (8055 Armour St.) with customer lines often extending out the door. The eatery was founded in 2015 by Tokyo-born chefs Jimmy Kitayama and Mike Furuichi, both lauded for their house-made noodles and veggie and meat broths.
“They’re a proven concept with an excellent product,” said Steve Hargrade of Regency Centers, which owns the HUB.
The 2,082-square-foot space will undergo a redo to the dining area and take on new kitchen equipment for an expected May opening. 1040 University Ave., nishikiramen.com.
The fourth annual Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 10–11, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Dozens of local and national vendors exhibiting more than 100 gluten-free brands and products will take part in the event, along with chefs, authors and bloggers doling out food samples and leading instructional classes on gluten-free diets.
Participants include Barons Market, 2Good2Be Bakery, Milton’s Craft Bakers, and more. The cost is $15 for a one-day pass; $25 for a weekend pass; and $5 and $7 respectively for children 3 to 12 years of age. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, gfafexpo.com.
More than 180 restaurants are taking part in San Diego Restaurant Week, which spans over eight days, Jan. 21–28. Participating establishments will offer lunches priced at $10, $15 and $20, and dinners for $20, $30, $40 and $50.
Have a favorite dish from past Restaurant Week outings? The upgraded website features recipes for numerous dishes from many restaurants that have taken part over the past few years. You can find them plus a complete list of current participants at sandiegorestaurantweek.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.