New places set to open in the next few months:
Pacific Beach, Lamont Street Grill sold (Location Matters handled the transaction) and the new owner is Gina Champion-Cain. The place will be gutted and renamed The Patio on Lamont Street. Expect a May opening (or sooner) with Sheila Tracy in place as the General Manager. Stay tuned for who will fill the chef position. 4445 Lamont Street, Pacific Beach, 858-270-3060.
The Cohn Restaurant Group moves forward with a new place in North County called Vintana Wine+ Dine. Located in a Lexus showroom, at 1205 Auto Park Way in Escondido, Cohn staple and chef Deborah Scott will create the menu. Look for it to open in the next few months. And molecular leaning chef Daniel Barron said goodbye to his chef position at Blue Point…one can only guess that his desire to put a creative spin on his menu didn’t mesh well with the Cohn convention pleasing formula.
Brian Malarky gets an interview in Inc. where he outlines his ambitious restaurant vision.
In Point Loma, Harbor Town Pub will start breakfast in March.
Look for Towne Bakery to open in March in the Del Mar Highlands shopping center. Owner/chef Jason Sigala loves pastries so expect to see the vintage 40’s and 50’s celebrated in decor and in pastry choices that will include pies, cookies, puddings and cheesecakes. 12925 El Camino Real, Suite AA5. For more information, please call 858.794.7001.
March 11, grab a few tickets for Family Winemakers of California Tasting 2012. This tasting showcase features wines from California’s small, family-owned wineries. Taste wines from more than 150 wineries in California for a ticket of just $45 if purchased before February 20.
Buzz popped into the recently opened Snooze, an A.M.Eatery, to meet a friend for a late breakfast. The place hops at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning–so get your name on the waiting list since they seat when all of your party arrives. It’s a big fun room, with seating that includes a counter, booths and casual banquettes. In 2006, Snooze woke up in Denver and has locations in Colorado; San Diego is their first out of that state.
The menu includes eggs and pancakes, both with twists and liberties taken in name and flavors. Niman Ranch cage free eggs come in a variety of possibilities. A three egg omelet or scramble ($8.5) allows a choice of three fillings—everything from bacon, sausage, pulled pork, soyrizo, salmon, prosciutto to roasted garlic, spinach, caramelized onions, and arugula, and don’t forget various cheeses. A stack of crisp topped hash browns come with most of the egg concoctions.
My Tuscan Benedict ($9), one of many riffs on eggs Benedict, arrives with two lovely, runny-yolk poached eggs, perched on small slices of ciabatta bread and a “ragout of tomatoes, white beans, kale and squash” with cream cheese hollandaise. Unfortunately, the ragout needs to be more than just steamed vegetables with little if any herbs or seasoning–the flavors don’t meld. Snooze ought to call their sauces of either cream cheese or smoked cheddar cheese what they are—cheese sauces–NOT hollandaise since neither resembles the ethereal sauce of butter, egg yolks and lemon juice.
Check the menu here and you’ll find a BLT, burger and even fish tacos if eggs and pancakes aren’t your thing. Though Buzz didn’t try the pancakes, Keli Dailey did and Amy T. Granite tried a few other items. 3940 Fifth Avenue, (619) 500-3344, Open from 6:30am to 2:30pm weekdays and 7am to 2:30pm weekends.
Change is part of life and on Fifth Avenue between Washington and University change is redefining life for some of Hillcrest’s locally owned restaurants. Not long ago Kemosabe and Corvette Diner left the area and now, across the street in the complex that houses the Landmark Theater and 24 Hour Fitness, Pizza Nova closes at the end of August after 17 years (and a doubling of rent) while next door Banana Leaf that served southern Indian food (owned by Bombay formerly in the space and now across the street), just closed.
Apparently the owners/developers decided to up the rents to be more in line with the current going rates on the street–anyone interested in $3.50 a square foot for these spaces? Interested parties can check with Location Matters for more information.
The new leases for the expected winter opening of Colorado’s Snooze (breakfast and brunch) and soon-to-open Texas transplant Freebirds World Burrito, (owned by the Tavisock Group out of Florida) are both just above $3, not $3.50. But in this economy, one wonders if prospective tenants (locals or out-of-town franchises) are beating down the doors to get into spots like Banana Leaf or Pizza Nova. Buzz hopes the area doesn’t discourage locals trying to compete with new franchises. Time will tell.
At the corner of Washington and Fifth, Brazen BBQ Smokehouse & Bar opened this week. It’s a casual spot with patio tables, a wash sink for sticky hands in the dining room, a full bar and eager staff. This is the soft opening so be patient if you try the place in the next few weeks as they work out the kinks and add menu items. Buzz popped in to see the place. Here you won’t find parboiled meat, just smoked. While I was waiting for my to-go order (3 meats and 3 sides $20.99) a big basket of chicken wings waited its turn in the smoker that’s right behind the cashiers. 441 Washington at Fifth Ave., 619-816-1990, closed Tuesdays, open daily from 11am
Finally, heard on the street that City Deli on the corner of Sixth and University is up for sale.
The word is out (and the sign is up) that the popular Point Loma Con Pane Rustic Breads & Café will soon have a new home in Liberty Station. It is in the same complex as Joao’s Tin Fish Eatery & Pub, Ace Hardware and backs up to the Point Loma Sports Grill & Pub. The greater access with lots of parking and a big patio should be a boon to bakery goers far and near. And yes, the place is a Buzz favorite.
As mentioned in a September 8, 2009 post, wine lovers who might have wondered where Bryan Ferris landed after his many years downtown at The Wine Bank, can now sip and smooze with him at the new Fifty-Seven Degrees on Washington in the building that was the Pier 1 outlet store. The wine store is open along with the wine storage facilities and the center of the room wine bar is just about finished. 1735 Hancock Street, San Diego, 619-234-5757
One of the nicest little neighborhood eateries, The Better Half in Hillcrest, just began serving Sunday brunch from 10am to 2pm. Haven’t tried it yet, but my guess is it will be good, given the terrific press it’s been getting.
New in Liberty Station, stashed away near Trader Joe’s is Tender Greens that serves salads, sandwiches and plates for $10…and uses local produce, bakery goods (including Con Pane’s cibiatta), humanely raised meats and sustainable seafood. To drink you’ll find boutique wines and local microbrews. Haven’t had a chance to check it out…but certainly will soon.
Candela’s, the well-known downtown Mexican restaurant with sophisticated upscale Mexico City style food, opened at on Coronado’s Ferry Landing with views of the city. Note to the locals who live on the Island…you can get a 20% discount on your meals for a year. Check out the website.
Nearby at the Ferry Landing (and at their Del Mar location) at Il Fornaio, features a menu with regional dishes of Sardegna through July 20.
Two new additions to San Diego’s restaurant scene: Mukashi in Bankers HIll at the corner of Nutmeg and Fifth finally got their door open last week. Hope to try it soon. Call for dinner reservations: 619-298-1329.
Cardamom Cafe & Bakery in North Park is the newest addition for breakfast, lunch and bakery goods. They’re located at the interesection of 30th and Upas. They serve breakfast all day–a short menu of eggs, pancakes, cardamom sour cream coffee cake along with sandwiches and salads in the afternoon. Buzz looks forward to trying both places.
Once again, chef Gavin Kaysen garnered a top culinary award. This time it was the James Beard award for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Quite an honor as it is given to a chef, under 30 years old, who “displays an impressive talent and is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in the years to come.” In case you missed Kaysen in San Diego when he cooked at the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s El Bizcocho, now you’ll find him doing his magic at Cafe Boulud in New York.
Ruby’s Diner, the fixture at the end of Oceanside Pier, is part of a restaurant chain, serving good typical diner food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ruby’s first restaurant opened in 1982 on the pier in Newport Beach. It’s a 1940’s diner atmosphere, with good hamburgers and. As the longest wooden pier on the west coast (1942 feet), you can get a good workout walking to the restaurant. 1 Oceanside Pier, 760-433-RUBY (7829).
The T shaped Ocean Beach pier has my vote as a fabulous cheap date. Here you fish without a license, enjoy great views of the ocean and beach and just chill out from the city’s chatter. A bit more than midway to the T, stop at the Ocean Beach Pier Café owned since 1990 by the same family that owns the Fatboyz Pizza Mission Beach. This barely 20 seat wood and windowed room, outfitted with wood tables, captains chairs, a few patio chairs, and nautical pieces you can purchase, is just plain sweet. Sit at a window table and watch surfers below, or take in the coastline view north.
They open daily at 7 a.m. and serve breakfast all day. Don’t expect real plates, it’s paper and plastic all the way. Lobster fans will find an omelet and or taco, and the menu features a huge platter of nibbly nachos that two of us made a meal. Lemonade hits the spot in place of alcohol (it caused too much trouble on the pier) and white clam chowder comes in a bread bowl, (a smaller version comes in a small roll bowl). The rich chowder is creamy and filled with clams, potatoes and no thickener. Weekends, I’m told, there’s a wait for mango or blueberry pancakes. Scrambled eggs can be tricky if they are overcooked and dry. I had a single scrambled, perfectly cooked, egg with some really good homemade thickly sliced and cut crisp potatoes served with fresh salsa. Late in the day it made a perfect light dinner. Food can be ordered to go if you want to wander down to that T and watch the unobstructed sunset. 5091 Niagara, Ocean Beach, 619-226-3474.
Downtown is Richard Walker’s Pancake House in the Pinnacle building on Front and Market Streets, next to the future Children’s Museum. This is the place for solid Midwest breakfasts and a few lunch items (they close at 2:30 p.m.). The restaurant seats 30 outside on Front Street, and another 50 inside a compact room. The contemporary design, high ceiling, wood trim and tall windows that face the street, give the place a comfortable open feeling. You’ll find a menu filled with omelets, waffles, flapjacks, as well as some more unusual griddle cakes of buckwheat, wheat germ or potato, German pancakes and more.
A substantial veggie omelet is light and fluffy. The eggs seal in the chopped tomatoes, sliced mushrooms and broccoli flowerets, all of which keep their shape and flavor by not being overcooked. The omelet is golden from a quick finish in the oven. Refreshingly, there’s a choice of cheese (Swiss, cheddar or jalapeno) that melds with, yet doesn’t overpower the vegetables. Even better is the choice of toast or pancakes, and in a pancake house, why not choose these? The three are light, flavorful and a happy respite from the usual potatoes found at many breakfast joints. There’s good Boyd coffee, though my coffee cup was empty each time before the refill, and service was efficient and cordial. Open daily from 6:30 a.m. 520 Front Street, San Diego, 619-231-7777, www.richardwalkers.com/san_diego.