By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Foodie Flashes
Is it any surprise that North Park is home to the hippest culinary studio in San Diego?
Instructors and students alike at Hipcooks raise their cool in spirited cooking classes held nearly seven days a week. The casual environment, stocked with impressive lines of kitchen equipment, sets the stage for classes focusing on a variety of cuisine. They usually run three hours each and average $70 per person. And yes, participants get to eat what they cook in what often results in family-style meals inside the studio.
Some of the upcoming classes include “Healthy, Fresh and Zingy” from 6 to 9 p.m., April 11; “My Big Fat Greek Cooking Class,” from 6 to 9 p.m., April 12; “A Cocktail Party,” from 5 to 8 p.m., April 15; and “J’Aime Paris!” from 5 to 8 p.m., April 22. For a complete list of classes, visit the website. 4048 30th St., 619-269-8844, sandiego.hipcooks.com.
Red House Pizza in University Heights will receive a big sibling later this year when Kairoa Brewing opens next door with a spacious dining room, a large bar and a rooftop dining area. The project was recently started by Red House Pizza owner Shanan Spearing and a posse of fellow New Zealanders who will combine their native cuisine with various styles of beer brewed onsite. Kairoa will occupy a circa-1925 building at the corner of Park Boulevard and Madison Avenue.
A few facts about the new 5th Ave Kitchen & Tap in Hillcrest: the French bread used for po’boys and other sandwiches is flown in regularly from Leidenheimer Bakery in New Orleans; bacon and pork belly are cured in-house; and the “porkinator” is a gut-busting sandwich consisting of ham, house-made sausage, pork belly, tomato jam, fried onion strings and house sauce. It weighs more than a pound and a half.
The establishment opened recently in the space previously occupied by Spitz. Its owners are Andrew Boyer, former chef and general manager for Carvers Steaks & Chops in Carlsbad, and Ron Crilley of The Kraken Bar & Restaurant in Cardiff.
“Our theme is a bistro-style sports bar,” said Boyer, a New Orleans transplant whose menu features assorted po’boys as well as “burgers of the world.” There are also desserts such as Southern banana pudding and peach cobbler.
The space received a full face-lift that includes ongoing renovations to the back patio, which is due to reopen when weekend brunch is launched on April 8. The establishment also has a full bar with 16 taps devoted mainly to craft beer. 3515 Fifth Ave., 619-578-2873, 5thavesandiego.com.
One of San Diego’s most ambitious spring menus rolls out each year at True Food Kitchen, the national chain known for promoting Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. With locations in Fashion Valley Mall and University Town Center, the new, seasonal offerings are available from April 11 to July 10.
Highlights in this year’s lineup include miso-glazed eggplant with tahini yogurt and black walnut pesto; asparagus toast with roasted onions, mint, lemon and hemp seeds; and artichoke-pesto pizza with vegan ricotta made from almonds. Several new cocktails and “refreshers” are also in the offing. 7007 Friars Road and 4303 La Jolla Village Drive, truefoodkitchen.com.
Three “taste of” events in neighborhoods with steady restaurant scenes are on the immediate calendar: Taste of Morena from 5 to 9 p.m., April 11; Taste of Hillcrest from noon to 4 p.m., April 14, and Taste of Liberty Station from 5 to 9 p.m., April 18.
Taste of Morena enters its 11th year with 20 participating restaurants that will include Bay Park Fish Company, Baci Ristorante, Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats, Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ, Offshore Tavern & Grill and the new Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant. Most are located on and off Morena and W. Morena boulevards as well as the west end of Linda Vista Road. The cost is $25. exploremorena.com.
Nearly 40 restaurants will flaunt their latest and greatest dishes at the 17th annual Taste of Hillcrest, which spans more than a dozen blocks and exposes consumers to myriad styles of cuisine ranging from French, Italian and Thai to Indian, Japanese and American-comfort. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of the event. fabuloushillcrest.com.
This is the second year for the Liberty Station event, which will combine music and art with food and drinks. Among the restaurants that will dole out samples throughout the historic grounds are Dirty Birds, Solare, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Olala Crepes, Soda & Swine, Pisco Rotisserie & Cevicheria, and more. The cost is $30. tasteoflibertystation.com.