Two culinary newcomers have landed on the ground level of Fashion Valley Mall, just below the AMC Theaters: Pure Burger (760-683-5101, pure-burger.com) specializing in grass-fed beef, and Bibigo Kitchen (858-291-8311, bibigousa.com), an international company famous for its Korean barbecue and related dishes.
At Pure Burger, the beef is ground daily onsite and the menu extends to grass-fed bison burgers, Jidori chicken sandwiches, vegan Impossible burgers and gluten-free french fries cooked in non-GMO rice bran oil.
Bibigo Kitchen made its San Diego debut a couple years ago in Westfield UTC Mall. The Fashion Valley location will offer a similar menu of bulgogi beef, galbi chicken in addition to signature bowls and assorted dumplings. The mall is located at 7007 Friars Road.
Look for dishes such as veggie scrambles, loaded hash browns and lobster Benedict at the upcoming Breakfast Bitch, a central-Hillcrest venture that will operate as a booze-serving breakfast spot by day (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and a laid-back after-hours speakeasy on Friday and Saturday nights (12:30 – 3:30 a.m.). For the latter crowd, there will be games, CBD waters and non-alcoholic spritzers.
The project replaces the short-lived Vancouver Wings on a block of Fifth Avenue between University Avenue and Robinson Street that has seen a number of eateries come and go. Its owners,
former college and professional football player Derrell Hutsona and his wife, Tracii, own the Los Angeles-based lifestyle management company Elite Luxe, which caters to athletes and celebrities.
Hutsona, a local native, told us he came up with the concept because “there’s no place to eat after hours in San Diego.” The couple was originally looking for spaces in the Gaslamp District until the Hillcrest opportunity caught their eye.
He added that the establishment’s campy bitch-speak concept, already evident on the web site and voice greeting, isn’t specifically aimed at the LGBT community, but that it’s merely a fun, playful approach “open to everyone.”
There is a LGBT connection to the project, however, with community member Carla Andrea in talks to serve as executive chef. Andrea runs a cooking show on YouTube and has already helped develop the menu for Breakfast Bitch, which Hutsona hopes to have open by early July. 3825 Fifth Ave., 877-732-4824, eatbreakfastbitch.com.
Paleo Treats in Normal Heights is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with free, daily samples given out through the end of June. The company, owned by Lee Selman and her husband, Nik Hawks, touts itself as the first paleo bakery in the nation and the only one in San Diego. It launched originally from a tent in 2009 at Cross Fit Games in Northern California. Soon after, the couple grew it into a direct-to-consumer business before moving the business into its current retail space a couple years ago.
Its six-item product line includes chocolate bars with nuts and raisins, assorted cakes and espresso brownies, all of which are free of gluten, grains, dairy and starches. 4662 30th St., 619-795-2203, paleotreats.com.
Attention vegans: Mondays are your bargain days at Cafe Gratitude in Little Italy. Each week for the next three months, the stylish plant-based restaurant is offering 50 percent off on select items as part of its “meatless Mondays” promotion. The discounts are available to members of the restaurant’s free Gratification Program to those who wish to sign up. 1980 Kettner Blvd., 619-736-5077, cafegratitude.com.
The Hillcrest Farmers Market recently doubled the number of chairs, tables and canopies in its food court area to provide ample shaded seating for those consuming dishes prepared onsite.
In addition, several new San Diego-based vendors have arrived since the start of spring. They include: Fresh Flavors Chutney, which sells six different chutneys created by Madhulika Achal from India. There is also Marley’s Pet Planet Dog Beer specializing in a fermented non-alcoholic beverage for canines; Grandma Sally’s Farm out of Chula Vista, which brings in fresh herbs, mini beets and other seasonal veggies; Ritual Energy, a maker of healthy bars containing 100 milligrams of caffeine; and Veg-N-Out, a purveyor of pea-protein burgers, vegan bratwurst and homemade sauces.
Vendor manager Mark Larson says the current number of food and merchandise sellers has reached 176, and there’s still room for several more.
“We now rank as the largest farmers market in the city of San Diego,” he added.
The market is runs from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. every Sunday along Normal Street between University Avenue and Lincoln Street. For more information call 619-237-1632 or visit hillcrestfarmersmarket.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.