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Foodie Flashes: May 25, 2018

Posted: May 25th, 2018 | Featured, Food & Drink, Foodie Flashes | No Comments

What the heck is a glampisphere, you ask? The answer lies in North Park’s Air Conditioned Lounge, which opened a groovy, outdoor space tailored for private events and business meetings. It features an elevated bar, retro-style tables and chairs, and a soothing waterfall. Situated on the building’s back patio, the glampishere was created expressly to “ignite creativity and spark conversation among guests,” according to Air Condition’s public relations team. 4673 30th St., 619-535-6007, glampisphere.space.

The Air Conditioned Lounge’s new “glampishere” (Courtesy of Alternative Strategies)

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The Googie-style structure in Hillcrest that last housed Bull & Grain — and numerous other food and drink concepts before that — is springing back to life in preparation for a late-June opening of Ad Libitum.

Los Angeles transplant and co-owner Mike Kan told Gay San Diego that the restaurant will have a contemporary feel and feature bourbon that is barrel-aged onsite. The space is undergoing minor cosmetic touch ups and the menu is still in the works.

Ad Libitum is a Latin, musical term for performers who decide which notes and tempos they will play. Kan is a classical-music buff and likes the term because of his disdain for labels and definitions. Thus, he hesitantly described the restaurant’s bill of fare as “California cuisine,” preferring to not put it into any particular context.

Executive chef Irene Yoon will helm the kitchen. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu with double degrees in French cuisine and baking, and she spent the last few years working for restaurants in Bali and Seoul.

Kan’s business partners include Peter Shih, also a Le Cordon Bleu alum, and Jay Kang, a restaurateur who has opened hospitality ventures in Southern California, Las Vegas, The Bay Area, and the East Coast.

The cocktail program will spotlight house-made syrups and locally sourced ingredients. 1263 University Ave.

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Expect an abundance of spanokopita, pastitsio, mousaka and other Greek fare at the 49th annual San Diego Greek Festival, to be held June 8–10 at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in North Park. The three-day event features an “Opa!” beer garden serving Greek and domestic brews as well as ouzo; a wine lounge called The Oracle; and a main dining area where visitors can savor everything from Greek-style chicken and cheese-stuffed phyllo triangles to stuffed grape leaves and traditional green beans in tomato sauce.

Members of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church are gearing up for their annual Greek festival. (Courtesy of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church)

An outdoor food area will feature legs of lamb, gyros, pork and beef souvlaki, flaming Greek cheese (saganaki), and more. All food items will be sold a la carte.

New to operation is a system that allows consumers to pre-order baklava and koulourakia cookies for pickup.

Festival hours are 5–10 p.m. on June 8; 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on June 9; and 11 a.m.–8 p.m. on June 10. Admission is free on the first day, and $3 for each of the remaining days. 3655
Park Blvd., 619-297-4165
,  sdgreekfestival.com.

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Fans of old-school Chinese restaurants have been heading to La Mesa since the recent reopening Wong’s Golden Palace and its adjoining bar, The Dragon Room. The restaurant, which opened in 1966 by Chinese immigrants Stanley and Helen Wong, closed in August because of a kitchen fire. The couple’s son, Jeff, who now runs the establishment, said damage was confined mainly to the structure’s electrical and plumbing systems. The dining room and its original, ornate artwork were spared and remain intact.

Cocktails are served in vintage mugs and bowls at an iconic Chinese restaurant that reopened in La Mesa. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

In an effort to attract a new generation of customers, a variety of sushi rolls will soon nudge their way onto a menu that is otherwise frozen in time. It features Chinese-American classics such as egg foo young, chop suey, orange chicken, walnut shrimp and more. Complementing the food are various cocktails still served in kitschy drink vessels ranging from Buddhas and angels to tiki barrels and moat-shaped punch bowls. 7126 University Ave., La Mesa, 619-465-9222.

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The original Thai Joint in Normal Heights, which closed several years ago to make way for Heights Tavern, has reopened in a nearby address at 3456 Adams Ave. The new rendition is also quaint and returns with a focused menu of favorites such as e-sarn sausage spiked with ginger; Thai meatball skewers; rice and noodle dishes; the colored curries; and more.

Crispy egg rolls and other popular savories are in the offing at the latest incarnation of Thai Joint. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Owner Patty Thongchua also owns Plumeria and Chi Extraordinary Kitchen in University Heights, and The Asian Bistro in Hillcrest. 619-564-6659, thai-joint.com.

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— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at fsabatini@san.rr.com.

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