The food court on the second level of Fashion Valley Mall will soon feature its first-ever cheesesteak tenant. Charley’s Philly Steaks is due to open by mid-July, according to franchisee John-John Kim, who previously ran restaurants in China and South Korea. The space was last occupied by Muscle Beach Lemonade & Hot Dogs. Charley’s spans the globe with 500 locations and features a variety of cheesesteaks made with beef or chicken. 7007 Friars Road, Suite 925, charleys.com.
The new El Tianguis in North Park has one of the most straightforward menus of any Mexican eatery in San Diego. Aside from agua frescas, horchata and sodas, customers are faced with four easy meal decisions: beef, chicken, potato or lentil-quinoa rolled tacos. They’re served with or without sour cream, cheese, lettuce, salsa and guacamole. The quaint space captures the vibrant colors of Mexico’s markets and bazaars, which are known as tianguis throughout Latin America.
The eatery is owned by Oscar Ancira, whose family founded the highly successful Deli Mex, a wholesaler and manufacturer that supplied taquitos to retailers mainly in markets west of the Mississippi. Ancira says that when his family sold the business in 2001, they were making 2 million rolled tacos a day, hence the idea to open an eatery specializing in “what I know best.” 2810 El Cajon Blvd., 619-677-3581, eattaquitos.com
Forget acai bowls and kale salads if you’re delving into the newest foods at the San Diego County Fair, which opened June 1 and continues through July 4. This year’s lineup includes deep-fried filet mignon, which pales in sinfulness compared to items such as spaghetti and cheese compacted into the shape of donuts; bacon-wrapped baklava; chocolate-flavored pasta served in red velvet waffle bowls; lasagna nachos; ramen burritos; and unicorn cotton-candy ice cream sandwiches.
On the liquid side of things, there will be plenty of suds and spirits for the tasting as the grounds make way for the San Diego International Beer Festival (June 15-17) and the Distilled Spirit and Cocktail Festival (June 23). 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 858-755-1161, sdfair.com.
This year’s annual Pride brew is a collaboration between Ballast Point Brewing and Hillcrest Brewing Company (HBC). Described as a “cucumber lager,” the newly released product is made with German hops and Bock yeast. Brewers Kelly Tidwell of Ballast and Clinton Shaver of HBC began working on the recipe earlier this year at Ballast Point’s brewing facility. It is available at Ballast Point locations (ballastpoint.com) and HBC (1458 University Ave., hillcrestbrewingcompany.com). Consumers can also find it at various West Hollywood bars starting June 10.
The much-anticipated gelato shop that looks like a dry cleaners has opened in North Park under the misleading title, An’s Dry Cleaning. Many of the signature flavors are named after linens such as chiffon (strawberry-ginger), poplin (cucumber, lime and mint), and silk (almong-sage). The gelatos are scratch-made in small batches and use locally sourced ingredients. 3017 Adams Ave., 619-450-6166, adcgelato.com.
The chic, little cafe in Hillcrest formerly known as The Kouch is now called Bardo Lounge. Its recent re-branding has resulted in more options for breakfast and lunch as well as a “lightened up” motif in Pride rainbow colors — but in pastels, according to manager Jack Castillo.
In addition to beer, wine, cocktails and coffee drinks, the menu includes colorful “ombre” pancakes, tacos, quesadillas, salads, various burgers, wraps and more. There are also two types of multigrain toast: The Hillcrest features egg, avocado, feta cheese and chipotle aioli, and the LGBT is topped with guacamole, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.
A new, daily deal has also been introduced. For $8 you can score two fish tacos and a Modelo beer at any time during regular operating hours. 3852 Fourth Ave., 619-269-5729, bardolounge.com.
Scores of San Diegans have contributed to the latest tally of mussel bisque orders served at Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant since it opened in 1984. According to head chef Martin San Roman, records show that 1.1 million servings have been sold.
The famed pastry-crowned bisque, which receives a generous pour of sherry when it’s served, has sated the likes of President Bill Clinton, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, famous bullfighters from Mexico and other luminaries. Of late, San Romano says he sells up to 700 orders per week. As for the origin of the recipe, the restaurant’s founder, Paul Dobson, obtained it decades ago from a bistro in Normandy, France. 956 Broadway Circle, 619-231-6771, dobsonsrestaurant.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.