About FoodbuzzSD

Marcie Rothman edits Foodbuzzsd. Food has been her beat for more than 30 years as a television personality, writer, caterer and teacher. She’s written online about the local food scene for Voice of San Diego, San Diego City Beat, Dateline at the James Beard Foundation and was food editor for OurCity: SanDiego. You can find more about her at http://www.5dollarchef.com. Other voices you’ll find in the blog have been involved with the San Diego scene for years. Cumulatively we give you more than 100 years of food experience to keep you at the cutting edge of the ever-changing scene.

One of the truly exquisite spots in San Diego is in Coronado at the Hotel Del Coronado.  It’s a place you can walk the promenade between the sand and ocean and then walk up the pathway a few steps for a drink at the firepit lit Sunset Bar or enjoy a lovely dinner at 1500 Ocean. Earlier in the year both chef de cuisine, Brian Sinnott and wine director Ted Glennon moved on and now there’s a new culinary team at the restaurant.

Chef de cuisine Aaron Martinez worked for three years at Addison under William Bradley at The Grand Del Mar , and most recently headed the kitchen at Rancho Valencia. We’ll wait to see what Martinez does with the menu as the current one online still reflects the work of Sinnott as well as his then position as chef de cuisine. 

Joe Weaver stepped into the wine director’s position after working with Glennon for nearly two years.  Buzz knows Weaver from his days at the short-lived (but very good) Crescent Heights Kitchen and Lounge that closed in 2009.   He is certified at the second level of the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as honors study at the  Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

For the longest time Point Loma suffered from a lack of restaurant choices.  But now things are popping as Buzz  reported in February.  The latest addition to the group is Lighthouse Bar and Grill that opened last week at the corner of Canon and Scott Streets with a full liquor license (beers on tap too) and a menu that includes 10-inch pizzas ($11.95 to $13) that might give Old Venice pause.

It’s a casual room with bar seating (comfortable seats, unlike those hard tiny ones at Old Venice), with tables on the perimeter of the rooms.  Expect some hiccups as they settle in with their menu that includes everything from salads and crab cakes to pasta and pizzas. (A few menu items may look familiar but with a different twist, coming from their sister restaurant Pomodoro next door.)  My take-out pizza arrived with no basil (but had a not too thick or chewy crust, hand formed and was good even minus the basil). Their crab cakes are good if you like the almost pâté style that they and many other places serve.  Buzz prefers the chunky, light, with no or very little, cracker crumb filler.

I called to let the manager know about the missing basil so that he could alert the kitchen, and he thanked me for telling him.  Yes, it’s good to nicely let a restaurant know about a problem as it helps them iron out the opening kinks.  It’s not nice to slam a place in a Yelp comment without first letting them know the problem.

Observed at the bar single gals checking the scene with drinks as well as solo guys, locals, having dinner.  Open for dinner and now, soon for lunch. 1101 Scott St., Point Loma, 619-224-2272.

A few blocks away on Rosecrans, between Canon and Talbot comes Westy’s Antique & Tavern at 1029 Rosecrans.  Just posted the ABC notice, so it will be a bit of time before it opens.  Local resident James West is listed as applicant for the beer and wine license.

And in the same block La Playa Café and Marketplace opens Thursday, June 30.  Owner Cindi of La Playa Bistro, next door plans to serve gelato, smoothies, sandwiches and more.

On Kettner, in Little Italy just before Juniper, 98 Bottles expects to open this summer.  Sounds like it will be a fun spot

Patrons of La Jolla’s Trattoria Acqua (that closed at the beginning of the year) can soon travel to Mission Hills where owners Michael and Victoria McGeath will open a new place named Brooklyn Girl Eatery.  Their Trattoria Acqua blog says they signed a lease late last month for the space at the corner of Goldfinch and Ft. Stockton.  They expect to start construction soon for a fall opening to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with  menus to feature locally sourced ingredients, craft beers, wine and more.

If you’re wondering what to do this weekend, here are a couple of last minute ideas for this Sunday, June 12.  Grab the kids and head over to Mosaic Wine Bar in North Park as they host Hospitality for Hunger to raise awareness  of child hunger in San Diego.  This first annual event was conceived by Claude Renner –who manages hospitality, food and beverage at the Hotel Del Coronado– as a way to engage the community about giving back for a good cause.  The event features chefs Amy DiBiase (consultant), Olivier Boiteau (Farm House Cafe) and Anthony Sinsay (Harney Sushi) for a barbecue and canned food donation drive…along with music and fun for the kids and more adult things into the evening.    Information is here and all proceeds go to Feeding America San Diego, a very worthwhile organization. For more information:  858-452-3663.

For another give back event, Wine & Roses raises money for Camp Oliver, in Descanso, CA and other charities of Social Service Auxiliary. In its 28th year, the event takes place at the Westgate Hotel, from 3pm to 6:30pm for $65 ($75 at the door).  Great restaurants and wineries supply tastes and the walkabout event is always a hit on the hotel’s rooftop. For information:  (619) 517-5825

It’s summer vacation so Buzz will take some time to play and tackle new projects while occasionally posting throughout the next few months.  Expect to see Buzz pushing beyond the San Diego boundaries to bring you food and travel news to inspire the wanderlust in all of us…from Los Angeles and New York to Paris and Prague (and beyond).   But first, news from San Diego:

Red Velvet Wine Bar in Little Italy closes tomorrow Saturday (as noted by a Keli Dailey tweet).  To answer Dailey’s question of “why”, Buzz talked with wine director Kyle Showen today to get the answer.  Bottom line:  Owner Wendy Segal wants time off and isn’t ready to recalibrate the staff as Kyle is moving to San Francisco where Katie Brookshire (opening wine director) now works.  Terrific chef Luke Johnson will be missed as will the very contemporary and grown-up spot for interesting wines and well-paired food.  We hope that Segal will not keep the place shuttered too long.

The Marine Room‘s dynamic duo Bernard Guillas (executive chef)  and Ron Oliver (chef de cuisine) nabbed two big awards at the IACP gala last night in Austin, Texas.  Their cookbook Flying Pans, Two Chefs, One World won the People’s Choice award along with best in the Chefs and Restaurants category (they beat chefs Rick Bayless and Michael Chiarello).  Congrats to Bernard and Ron.

 

The return to San Diego of  Jason McLeod, could be a big deal for San Diego eating.  He opened The Grand Del Mar as executive chef and director of food and beverage for the property’s four restaurants but didn’t stay long as Chicago called with the opportunity to open Ria.  There he earned two Michelin stars, though he left his heart in San Diego.  According to the Chicago Tribune, he’s under contract with The Mediterranean Room at La Valencia Hotel, designing its menu.  And on his blog (that he co-authors with his sister Karlin), and his tweets, you’ll find he’s looking for a space to open his own place.  We can only hope that San Diego is ready to support the food one can imagine from a chef with an international reputation.  We want to know when the new menu will appear at La Valencia…and when McLeod opens his own place.

Troy Johnson, for those who don’t read Riviera magazine, is their senior editor for food and drink.  He’s also a pretty clever and funny guy in person as well as on the written page.  If you’ve ever aspired to be on the Food Network, check out Troy’s audition tape that got the Network to put him on the air.  The show, called Crave, is written and hosted by Johnson and  premiers June 20 at 10pm.  Here’s a short clip.

Caffè Vergnano 1882 opened this week in Hillcrest and Buzz has tried it and it’s good.  Owner Hector Rabellino comes from Genoa and soon you can also expect to find savory sandwiches, pizza and focaccia to munch while you enjoy an espresso.   If you want a proper coffee, espresso to be exact, this place (as well as Caffé Calabria in North Park and Little Italy’s  Caffe Italia) are the three best around–they understand that a shot isn’t a half a large cup of coffee but one that fits perfectly in a small ceramic cup.

Chef Chad White has joined Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park  as executive chef and partner. Look for menu changes in the next few weeks.

 

Do the pub sprawl in North Park on April 25 from 8pm to midnight  when 11 of the bars and restaurants will offer $5 drink specials.  $5 per ticket = 1 drink. Tickets are on sale that evening. Check their website for information.

Italy comes to San Diego in a great way:  fabulous espresso.  Look for Caffè Vergnano 1882 to open by the end of April in Hillcrest. You’ll find it mid block on the left hand side of  Fifth Avenue between University and and Robinson. Buzz sampled this coffee recently while in New York.  The coffee is in Mario Batali’s homage to everything Italian–the mega Italian grocery and eatery known as Eataly.  Caffè Vergnano’s arrival in San Diego, for espresso lovers, will be the place for a properly pulled shot (and a good addition to the neighborhood with Chocolat just down the street).  For more information: 619-255-1882.

Easter is around the corner, and here’s a quick roundup of things to do and places to go if cooking a ham isn’t your thing….

Get the kids involved on Thursday, April 21, when Cups La Jolla hosts an Easter Cookie Decorating class from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Chef Francois of renowned bakery Girard Gourmet, teaches  the fun class. Ccst is $50 for a parent and child team, $15 per additional child, and $30 for a solo adult. For more information or call 858-459-2877.

More cupcake ideas come from the HOP box at  Sprinkles. The box contains dark chocolate, red velvet, brown sugar praline and carrot cupcakes adorned with pink and green bunnies and is from April 15 to 24.  The Jewish holiday of Passover isn’t forgotten here either.  Get a dozen  Passover Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes adorned with blue Star of David and sealed with a Star of David sticker and available from April 18th to 26th. 8855 La Jolla Villa Drive, La Jolla. 858. 457 3800.

Take your daughter (or son) to tea at The US Grant Hotel on Saturday, April 23 from 1pm to 3pm where you’ll sip premium loose leaf teas served alongside a tantalizing selection of house-made sweets and savory treats. 
 
Cost is $47 adults and $22 children. 
For reservations,  619-744-2039 .

At La Valencia, you can do brunch buffet style, served throughout the day in the hotel’s various dining areas, seating from 11 am and is $75 per adult and $32 per child plus tax and tip. Bring the kids for an Easter egg hunt from 11am to 3pm. For reservations, please call 858- 551-3744.

Also in La Jolla, Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar offers an à la carte menu from 11am to 2pm with interesting dishes that include Jidori chicken adobo; breakfast tacos with eggs, cheese and Asian guacamole; macadamia nut pancakes and more. For reservations:  858-551-5252.

If you’d like to sweeten an Easter basket, consider chocolates from  Chuao (available countywide),  Chi Chocolat (Liberty Station), The Elegant Truffle (Point Loma village), Eclipse Chocolat (University Heights) and Chocolat  Creamerie (Hillcrest and Gaslamp).  Buzz can attest that each of these purveyors makes artisanal and extremely luscious chocolates to satisfy every chocoholic.

Change comes quickly to 1500 Ocean with the news that chef de cuisine Brian Sinnott will leave effective April 1, and as he assured me in an email, it’s no April Fool’s joke.  He wants to concentrate on his family.

Supper club dining comes to San Diego:  Whisknladle Monthly Supper Club does it on the last Tuesday of each month as they begin their third year.  Bringing strangers together in celebration of food, wine & great conversation, the three-course family-style fixed-price dinner for up to 12 to 14 guests  served in Whisknladle’s private dining room includes paired wines.  Limited to four per group to spur mingling in their private dining room, the next dinner is March 29 and the cost is $75 plus tax and tip.  For reservations: 858- 551-7575.

Grant Grill Saturday Night Supper Club creates a jazz evening, with specialty cocktails and dinner.  Drink and dine and then spend the night at the hotel with their Saturday night escape package which you can find on their website after scrolling down seven items in the list.  (Note to hotel, make it a bit easier to locate on the website.)