The release of Beaujolais Nouveau is a big deal in November and a couple of places will be celebrating its arrival Thursday, November 18. The Gamay grape stars in this wine and it is meant to be drunk within six months of bottling. Each year it’s released on the third Thursday of November – literally only weeks after it was still growing on the vine and because it is a light friendly wine, it’s a great reason to party!
At the Wine Vault & Bistro arrive anytime after 5:30 and enjoy a four-course Beaujolais Nouveau Family Style Menu for: $25 2010 Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau: $7 glass / $22 bottle. If you’re not on their mailing list, it’s worth it if you are interested in good wine dinners and tastings. For reservations: (619) 295-3939.
Euro Food Depot will celebrate on November 18 from 6pm to 10pm with wine, cheese, charcuterie and macarons. Four pours and food $30. For information: 858-452-9200.
Downtown, Bacchus Wine Market presents Beaujolais Nouveau and other first releases on Friday, November 19th (4pm to 8:30pm) and Saturday. November 20th (2pm to 8:30pm). Cost is $15 each day. For information: 619-236-0005.
LATE ADDITION: While we’re wining, The WineSellar & Brasserie, Paris Driggers is the new general manager and wine buyer. He’s been in the business for 15 years selling wines to top notch venues and brings a wealth of experience to the shop. Upstairs in the Brasserie chef Kevin Smith (who has worked in many of California’s top kitchens, including Patina in Los Angeles) is updating the menu. This gem of a store and restaurant is tucked away in an unlikely industrial park, just down the hill from Qualcomm and is worth a visit. 9550 Waples Street, (858) 450-9557.
Those of you who follow one of San Diego’s top talented women chefs, Amy DiBiase, won’t find her at Old Town’s Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant as she left the restaurant due to creative and money issues with the management. Many of the original hires have also departed since the restaurant opened.
She was hired to do food that bore the hallmarks of the time (1870’s) when Bandini’s home became a stagecoach stop and hotel. The hotel’s management now wants to stray from their original concept as noted on their website and the reason that DiBiase came on as executive chef.
Buzz spoke with the general manager and it is expected that the food will change from the moderately priced yet upscale dining destination that DiBiase provided to a middle-of-the-road, broad appeal, and possibly less uninspired menu.
Foodies that still get cooking magazines (Buzz loves Saveur among many), Bon Appetit just announced its new editor- in- chief, Adam Rapoport who is style editor at GQ. One could expect a big change in design…some think the magazine is staid in its look. It was redesigned in 2008 to the dismay of some Chowhound readers.
Kudos to Candice Woo who scored a food writing position at San Diego Magazine. She’s reviewing restaurants and it’s nice to see a fresh voice for the magazine.
Which brings me to the unfortunate Union Tribune, aka U-T. Whatever has happened to caring about food in this town? Don’t expect to see it coming from the U-T. People whose bylines were always there and who know food (Carolyn Dipping, Lori Weisberg, Peter Rowe, to name a few), have been relocated to writing about auto accidents, obituaries, and occasionally now a piece about a restaurant going bust. When will the U-T care about its readers and the food scene here? It seems management depends more on outside writers to fill the gap. Sorry to say that the redesigned paper doesn’t inspire one to renew their subscription (that would be Buzz). Sadly, the U-T logo and design look like something from a high school newspaper.
Do something nice, support World Bicycle Relief (“WBR”) and treat yourself to a terrific seven-course dinner at Farm House Cafe WBR provides modified bicycles to children in Africa so they can travel safely to and from school. Key note speaker is 10th place Tour de France Cyclist Chris Horner and there will be an auction of Tour de France items including Lance Armstrong cycling equipment. November 5, 7pm, $200 per person includes wine pairing, tax and gratuity. BTW, Buzz thinks Farm House Café is one of the best restaurants in San Diego. Reservations: 619) 269-9662 or www.farmhousecafesd.com.
Expand your taste buds and get over to Ocean Beach and The 3rd Corner Monday, October 25 to try unique wines featuring 25 different grapes. 4pm to 7pm, $10, Information and reservations: 619-223-2700.
Lobster fans rejoice and enjoy the locally caught crustaceans at King’s Fish House in Carlsbad, Chula Vista and Mission Valley. They work with local fisherman to bring these seasonal beauties to the table. They also feature local swordfish caught off the Channel Islands. UPDATE: AS OF THIS WRITING, CHECK WITH THE RESTAURANT FOR LOBSTER AVAILABILITY, DUE TO SEASONAL FLUCTUATIONS.
Hillcrest adds Ethiopian to their smorgasbord of ethnic restaurants in the block between Fifth and Sixth on University. Bayu Authentic Ethiopian Cuisine takes over the spot that Cafe Bleu had before relocating down the street on Washington in Mission Hills. Not familiar with Ethiopian food? Here’s a quick primer.
Soon to open next door to (but not affiliated with) Farm House Cafe on Adams in University Heights, is Cueva Bar. Expect to find some basic tapas (so far from the menu on their website) and wines from any country that speaks Spanish (Spain, Mexico, and maybe a few that speak Portuguese), along with micro brews on tap. Will be nice to have another choice in the hopping and growing area that includes some good places on Park Boulevard.
You need not be a foodie to stroll Canon from Rosecrans east two blocks to Shafter on a Sunday morning to support the new Farmers Market. You’ll find local organic produce and other goodies including flowers and even craft items. Cheese lovers can rejoice at the selection that Mary Palmer of Taste Artisan Cheese brings to the market. Mary and her hubby George decided to do the markets rather than the brick and mortar place they had on University next to Wine Steals.
Buzz recently cruised the market and found it a terrific start for the Point Loma residents who don’t want the hassle of the Wednesday Ocean Beach market, or don’t want to drive to Hillcrest for their Sunday shopping. Besides good produce, cheese, and flowers, you can have a less traditional Sunday brunch as you munch on the multi-ethnic prepared foods available. Buzz would like to see an earlier opening as their current hours are 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.
It’s up to the community to support local farmers…and our local economy. What would you like to see at the Farmers Markets …wherever you live in San Diego?
It’s that time of the year again when restaurants want to see you patronize them–especially if you’ve been wanting to try a new place. San Diego Restaurant Week begins Sunday, September 19. You can choose from 180 venues that offer three-course menu for either $20, $30 or $40, depending on the restaurant. Check the website for all the information.
Saffron turns 25 in October. There will be five days of fun and food from October 18 to 22 that includes a Pad Thai throw down with local celebrity chefs and media judges…Stay tuned for more information, or check out their website.
Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy, now has Brent Calley as the executive chef for their Glass Door restaurant with a new menu to boot. During restaurant week they will have a $19 three-course dinner…sounds like a good place to try and enjoy the view of the bay and the roof tops of Little Italy.
Spoke to Chris Walsh who closed his Hillcrest restaurant, Bite, August 30. The reason? It’s the economy stupid…and it seems that area diners love to drink more than to eat–so even though his menu was well-priced and good, it just was not enough to keep people coming back.
He mentioned also a few facts that many diners don’t realize when it comes to eating out: Most restaurants top costs are: Labor, then rent, food and all the other costs such as license fees, utilities, etc. Most diners also don’t factor into the price of a meal the ability of the chef to create and deliver dishes based on their expertise and training. When asked what he will do, he replied, “I’ll get a job.”
In Point Loma, the long running La Scala Italian Restaurant at Scott and Canon, will soon become Lighthouse Grill a concept from Fabio Speziali (Pomodoro and others) and Antonio Mastellone (Arrivederci and others). Whatever these two create, we know it will likely be a hit here in Point Loma as Pomodoro has taken off with solid Italian food, nothing fancy, but well-priced and always good in a cozy, bustling room (and enclosed patio).
Charlie’s Best Bread opens Labor Day weekend in the old Con Pane space. One thing Buzz already knows from buying their challah at the Hillcrest Farmers Market is that it is more expensive and a much denser, less satisfying loaf than that of the artisan bakery, Con Pane, now in Liberty Station on Historic Decatur and Dewey Roads. Buzz will give their breads and other menu items a try.
Back in April, Buzz reported on Point Loma’s Dolphin Motel’s expansion of a steakhouse and then heard it would be a coffee shop. Lately, nothing seems to be happening…as the restaurant seems to be stuck in the Coastal Commission’s review.
Some observations from readers and Buzz…feel free to comment.
If you experience issues with your meal or service, please don’t wait til you leave or, as happened at Farm House Cafe, write an anonymous two page scorching letter about the scallop dish they ate. Had Olivier Bioteau, the chef/owner been aware at the time of the meal, he could have replaced the errant dish and could have dealt with the diner at the moment. By not expressing (nicely, by the way) the problem when it happens, everyone loses. And, restaurants and their owners always like to hear good comments also. (Side note: Farm House Cafe will be closed Labor Day weekend from Sunday dinner to reopen for dinner on Wednesday, September 8).
Shishito peppers seem to be the current darling of local chefs. The summer pepper is small and thin-skinned, not really hot and usually served in Japanese restaurants as an appetizer (peppers flash fried in a tiny bit of oil and cooked to just barely scorch the skin, then served with sea salt or topped with bonito flakes). Buzz ate them at Searsucker (called so over cleverly “no shoshiito schoos”) and heard from a reader about them at Bali Hai.
Trader Joe’s now carries coconut water, a good mix of electrolytes, with no additives that Buzz can attest, tastes good. It comes from the water of green coconuts and is considered to be quite a healthy drink. If you’d like to buy fresh green coconuts and coconut trees, check out Florida Coconuts, a company that grows and ships the coconuts nationwide.
The New York Times Op-Ed piece, Math Lessons for Locovores is worth the read and certain to provoke discussion. If you’ve not encountered an interesting site called Grist, it has a good vitural roundtable discussion addressing this Op-Ed story.
**All three locations of The 3rd Corner (with the very cool redesigned website…) now offer happy hour from 3 to 6pm in the bar only, Tuesday through Saturday. Note the three venues are closed on Monday.
**That venerable group of local chefs known as CooksConfab will host Camp Confab, a sleep-over at Susie’s Farm in Imperial Beach on September 11 and 12. Dinner and breakfast the next morning will be prepared by many of the confab chefs. And you will be able to participate in harvesting, cleaning and preparing the produce from the farm. Sounds like a hoot with a host of activities that include guest appearances and tastings from such luminaries in their field as Gina Frieze from Venissimo Cheese, MIHO Gastgrotruck, and beers from Lost Abbey and master brewer Tomme Arthur and evening cocktails (after you help harvest) with mixologist Ian Ward of Snake Oil Cocktail Co. Lest you think it’s all veggies, the protein part of the meal is barbacoa of local goat and stick fire roasted local fish. There’s lots more for the $225 per person. Reservations are limited and so, at 9am September 1, get on the CooksConfab website to register. 100% of the proceeds go to Slow Food Urban San Diego.
**Jeff Rossman, owner/chef of Terra Restaurant, a hidden gem in Hillcrest (on Vermont near the east side of Trader Joe’s), has finished his cookbook, From Terra’s Table. Just in time for a holiday gift, the book publishes in November and sells for $32.95 online and at bookstores. The focus is on Jeff’s passion for local ingredients and the many farms and vendors that supply his restaurant. You can receive a 20% discount as a foodbuzzsd reader when you buy the book online here and use the code foodbuzzsd20 .
**Gordy’s Bakery sounds yummy and a place Buzz needs to try as she travels the 5 back and forth to LA. Just east off the freeway at Encinitas Boulevard in the Smart & Final center. Owner Gordy is born and raised in Encinitas and had a wholesale bakery business years ago. Sold the business and took a break and worked at the Running Shoes store and trained the track team at San Dieguito Academy. He has now gone back to his love of baking and has opened a retail bakery in the previous Baskin-Robbins space.
In the world of food, let’s face it, there’s a lot of junk, stuff that kids grow up on because their parents can’t figure out how to cook a simple breakfast, or in this particular case, can’t put bread in a toaster and then top it with any and everything from peanut butter and jelly to a fried egg and bacon. Instead, they eat Pop-Tarts that are practically a faux food created 40 plus years ago by food giant Kellogg. These sugary things that many consume for breakfast or snacks now have a brand store. Yep, a store with everything Pop-Tart(ed). Should you find yourself in New York’s Times Square, you can indulge a sugar craving at the first Pop-Tarts World store located at 128 West 42nd St. The New York Times gives you the rest of the story.
Point Loma’s Roseville abruptly closed last week. Various issues seem to be at the heart of the restaurant’s sudden turn. We’re hearing that owner George Riffle is trying to work with the landlords but might possibly relocate the restaurant. So, as with all things in life, it’s a fluid, changing situation. Stay tuned.