By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Pride flags are a rare sight in the Gaslamp Quarter. But lo and behold, the gay-owned Tropical Savor Bar & Grill flanks its outdoor entrance with them. The restaurant, which opened earlier this year, is unique also because of its focus on Dominican Republic cuisine.
“We’re the only restaurant in California with a direct connection to the Dominican Republic,” said Elison Ventura-Foster, whose parents are from the island.
Ventura-Foster owns the establishment with his husband, sister, daughter and parents. And he employs two openly gay bartenders.
Dishes representing Puerto Rico, Cuba and Jamaica also appear on the menu. The meals in general offer richly flavored preparations of beef, chicken and shrimp. In many cases they’re served with various types of rice, beans and plantains. A chic, tropical interior design also sets the stage for cocktails served in hollowed-out pineapples and coconuts. 729 Fourth Ave., 619-228-9385, tropicalsavorbarandgrill.com.
Green Flash Brewing Co. in Mira Mesa will host the eighth annual Treasure Chest Beer + Food Fest to raise funds for Susan G. Komen San Diego, which invests in research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
The event takes place from noon to 5 p.m., Sept. 30 in the brewery’s tasting room. It will feature specialty, one-off beers plus food from OB Noodle House, Green Flash Gastro Truck, The Knotty Barrel, The Alpine Pub, Frat Boy Donuts and more.
The charity has raised more than $250,000 since it was established in 2011 by breast cancer survivor and Green Flash co-founder Lisa Hinkley. Tickets range from $25 to $55. 6550 Mira Mesa Blvd., 858-622-0085, greenflashbrew.com or eventbrite.com.
The much-anticipated Common Stock has opened in Hillcrest with a comfort menu designed to incite culinary nostalgia. Owners Brian Douglass and Anderson Clark, both of whom worked for the Beverly Hills-based Hillstone Restaurant Group, took over the space previously occupied by Salt & Cleaver and gave it a refresh with foliage and lighter colors.
Their scratch-made cuisine combines all-American fare such as burgers and Nashville hot chicken with international dishes like spicy tuna poke and Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken. Amid the familiar dishes is an uncommon operational concept in which customers are afforded full table service with the option of ordering prior to seating. 3805 Fifth Ave., 619-756-6677, eatcommonstock.com.
Look for an October opening of Tahona, a mezcal tasting room with a full-service restaurant adjoining the historic Cemetery El Campo Santo in Old Town. Spearheaded by a group of mezcal enthusiasts, the 2,000-square-foot space will feature 120 varieties of mezcal and a menu of modern Mexican cuisine served amid Spanish-style archways and hand-painted tile work. 2414 San Diego Ave.,
Fox Restaurant Concepts from Phoenix brings to Fashion Valley Mall colorful, modern spins on Mexican food and cocktails with a Sept. 26 opening of Blanco Tacos & Tequila. The 6,300-square-foot restaurant offers indoor-outdoor seating and replaces California Pizza Kitchen’s original space on the mall’s second level.
Executive chef Aimee Patel has developed a menu featuring grilled avocado tacos, wagyu beef fajitas, creative ceviches, and more. Her menu complements an extensive margarita and tequila program. 7007 Friars Road, Suite 901, 619-810-2931, blancotacostequila.com.
Executive chef Brad Wise of Trust in Hillcrest and Hundred Proof in University Heights is fulfilling a career dream by cooking dinner at New York City’s James Beard House on Oct. 3. Wise and Trust pastry chef, Jeremy Harville, were selected to present the dinner for both the public and members of the legendary townhouse, which was home to the late culinary icon, James Beard. They’ve titled their multi-course meal, “Sunny San Diego.”
On home turf, Wise is preparing to open Fort Oak restaurant in Mission Hills this fall. He’s also been revamping Hundred Proof with enhanced aesthetics and a revised cocktail program steered by new beverage director Stephen Kurpinsky (formerly of George’s at the Cove California Modern). 4130 Park Blvd., 619-501-6404, hundredproofsd.com.
A program that shows love to “ugly” fruits and vegetables is sprouting up in San Diego this month. Known as Imperfect Produce, the home-delivery service was founded a few years ago in San Francisco and launches locally in all areas of Uptown and Downtown on Sept. 17. Its mission is to reduce food waste.
Consumers can purchase boxes of the produce on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for doorstep delivery. The contents are sourced from regional farms and cost 30 to 50 percent less compared to produce purchased from leading grocery stores. The filled boxes range from $12 to $18, depending on the size customers choose. Any overstock purchased by Imperfect Produce will be donated to a food bank via Feeding San Diego. To sign up for the service, visit imperfectproduce.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.