Bo-beau kitchen + bar gets everyone’s attention because it’s the latest Cohn venue housed in the redone Thee Bungalow in Ocean Beach. If you like the French-inspired casual bistro interiors of Philippe Beltran (Vagabond and Bleu Boheme), you’ll find his third variation here where the many rooms are filled with all things old French. Beltran’s got a whimsical sense of decorating humor: Sit in the noisy bar and look up at the ceiling where you’ll see a huge canvas painting of a woman in white laying on a bed, legs seductively apart–Buzz hears the piece depicts a French prostitute. Love the huge mirror on the far wall of the bar.
Two visits gave us hits and misses with the food that left us wondering how much young chef Katherine Humphus (trained in Paris) gets to assert her mark on the menu. One imagines it can be difficult especially when the Cohn group of restaurants is known for less than stellar food that aims to please a tourist/convention diner. Of the hits, try the very classic and good onion soup ($7) or the calamari fritti (watch the cherry pepper pieces that are spicy hot and fried with the tender squid that includes tentacles) that come with a zippy tomato/caper dipping sauce that could be the base for caponata ($9.50). Six escargots stay in the shell bathed in butter and garlic, a classic preparation though more garlic would give it a boost of flavor ($10.50)
Not impressed with the bland chicken fricassee with Brussels sprouts that needed more mustard (or Champagne) as the sauce promised ($17). Flatbreads are more like pizza, thick crusted and baked as a rectangle, cut in fingers–ours touted chorizo and Serrano ham…flavors that got lost with the cheese and marinara sauce ($12). An appetizer featuring crispy Brussels sprouts, pancetta, Parmesan with a balsamic glaze came with very al dente and not so crispy sprouts ($7). And some (though not Buzz) like the cute idea for serving–in a brown paper bag– Sadie Rose sliced bread for the table. Dinner from 4pm, 4996 W. Point Loma Blvd., Ocean Beach, 619-224-2884.
**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.
Red Leight isn’t a district but is a cleverly named and bottled Rosé. The vineyards are in Malibu on 37 acres and they have been producing since 2006. Howard Leight created Red Leight which is under the Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards label that produces award-winning Cabs along with a Syrah and Merlot. Buzz was lucky enough to taste the Rosé and Syrah along with San Diego’s top sommeliers, wine directors and distributors–and the wines are notable. You can purchase online at their website and soon (we hope) will have distribution here.
Just opened, Sessions Public, an odd name for a new contemporary place sandwiched next to the retro Catalina Bar at Voltaire and Catalina. The tavern style food is good and if the Cat Bar (as the locals refer to it) is too retro, the restaurant’s long skinny contemporary room features a full bar to go with the eclectic yet approachable food. There’s a mystery consulting chef who created the menu that includes an additive bowl of tender crispy chicken oysters ($9), duck confit with an Asian flair of udon noodles ($17), Nueske bacon tempura lollipops ($8), short rib sliders ($11) and lobster-scallop cioppino ($20). Happily, most of the menu is $15 and under. Four of us feasted well though we weren’t impressed with the miniscule serving of Serrano ham and artisan bread ($6).
Buzz wonders if the mysterious consulting chef at Sessions Public could be Jason Maitland who had been at Arterra for ages…until the axe fell on him and others of the dining management team. Maitland, is teaming up with Jerome Astolfi who just left the front of the house at Market Restaurant + Bar in Del Mar to become the general manager at Flavor. They will open late summer in the old Epazote Steakhouse in Del Mar Plaza.
Caught up via email to former Blanca executive chef, Wade Hageman who will soon (June/July) open his own place, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza in Encinitas. Bet there will be lines for the 35 seats and the local, organic, farm to table ingredients that Hageman will make into mozzarella, sausage and pizza to be cooked in a wood-fire oven. His spot in the Lumberyard Shopping Center is just a few doors away from The 3rd Corner that dispenses retail wines as well as bistro food.
Coming in April, Point Lomans will have more than just pasta and pizza places (not that they’re bad, just that we’ve got many) to have a bite. Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern should be a nice addition to the local scene and is just a few doors away from Pizza Nova on North Harbor Drive. Sign up says they’re hiring now.
In Ocean Beach, The 3rd Corner has $25 prix fixe dinners on Sunday with updated menus on the website. For those who travel to Palm Desert and drive that winding Highway 74 to get there, Ed Moore’s third 3rd Corner opens in June in the old Palomino restaurant space at 73-101 Highway 111, just a few blocks from Highways 74 and 111.
Downtown, the short-lived and eclectic Guild restaurant on Newton in Barrio Logan has become a lunch spot named Blueprint Cafe. In 1989 owner/chef Gayle Covner started her catering firm, In Good Taste and in 2010 moved it to the new location. The café, according to a pal with good taste, serves “inventive and tasty” food– Buzz hasn’t tried it yet. 1805 Newton St., San Diego, 619-233-7010. Open Monday through Friday 11:30am to 6pm.
Cooks Confab, is a collection of fourteen chefs in San Diego who cook together every so often. Their next event is “Craft Beer: Grain to Glass, Farm to Table” and promises (as their events always are) to be a knockout at Stingaree. On August 9, some of the food and drink you can expect for your $90 (a portion of which goes to Slow Food Urban San Diego) includes: Lightening Brewery, Green Flash Brewing Company, AleSmith Brewing Company to go with food from the confab chefs (Katie Grebow, Cafe Chloe; Amy DiBiase, Roseville; Jeff Jackson, A.R. Valentien; Andrew Spurgin, Waters Fine Catering, among others). For reservations: 619-544-9500 or online at Stingaree.
Over at one of the nicest venues in San Diego, Eno at the Hotel Del begins the week with bubbles. Every Monday, all sparkling wines will be half price, all night (5pm to 11pm) including bottles, flights and glasses. What a great way to start the week and watch the sunset…
Wine tasting and dinners abound so be sure to check out The 3rd Corner, Wine Vault & Bistro, Winesellar & Brasserie, three places known for good wine shops as well. We’re hearing Cucina Urbana sells wine at the restaurant for a small corkage fee.
And if you want to meet fellow food lovers, get on the email list for Slow Food Urban San Diego so you can go to one of their monthly mixers…meet local chefs and taste local artisan foods.
Ocean Beach is fast becoming a hip spot for food and wine. One of my favorites for both is The 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro. Owner Ed Moore’s concept is unique: retail wine store, full bar and short bistro menu.
Cruise the store for a bottle, pay a $5 corkage fee and order a bite to eat with your wine. Unfinished bottles are corked and bagged for you to take home (in the trunk of your car, of course). Best of all, you can sip and nibble long after most places close as the kitchen is open until 1 a.m.
The small bistro menu is what it is. Nothing fancy, nothing costing more than $13—just basics like an artisan cheese plate, olive and paté samplers, a smoked salmon plate and a very good classic whole-leaf Caesar that includes white anchovies and homemade garlic croutons with bread from Point Loma’s Con Pane bakery. Substantial dishes include well-flavored and tender short ribs with mashed potatoes, a fresh fish of the day and spicy pasta with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and pesto all balanced with a squeeze of lemon. It hit my spot on a chilly afternoon.
The prime-time weekend wait for a table can stretch to an hour or more because of limited patio, sofa and banquette seating, and no reservations are accepted. But the service is knowledgeable and attentive. I particularly love that wine is served in proper glasses similar to the Spiegelaus that you can buy there for $35 (six in a box). 2265 Bacon St., Ocean Beach, 619-223-2700. Open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., closed Monday. www.the3rdcorner.com