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.
In Mission Hills, Philippe Beltran (of Bleu Boheme in Kensington) gave up on a place next door to Lefty’s Pizza. The building will now be a beauty salon: Cut. Instead, Beltran will focus on redoing a former flower shop on Adams Avenue where he will then turn out pizzas.
At the corner of Rosecrans and Talbot in Point Loma, the nearly finished box of a building (certain to be nominated for an Onion award in design) will house La Playa Bistro due to open this June or July. Expect traffic congestion–it’s a very busy intersection as the entrance to La Playa and the sub base.
Also in Point Loma, according to workers on the construction site next to the Dolphin Motel, the buzz is that the restaurant will be a coffee shop, not a steakhouse. Stay tuned.
The Arrivederci restaurant group has been busy. Along with their Ristorante Arrivederci and Arrivederci Pizza on Fourth Avenue, the group also owns the soon-to-open Au Revoir Bistro in the former La Vache location at Fourth Avenue and Robinson. They’ve just about made Monopoly on those few blocks of Fourth. The long awaited Il Postino by Arrivederci opened in North Park. Haven’t been, but will as it is next door to Buzz favorite, Caffe Calabria.
East Village Asian Diner just opened in Encinitas. With a chef trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York, the casual menu looks good and well priced. Open for lunch and dinner. 628 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760-753-8700.
Luna Grill Neighborhood Kabobery opens its second location in Mission Valley—in the same complex as IKEA and Costco. The 65-seat restaurant features modern fast casual Near East/Mediterranean food, including the freshest kabobs, salads, wraps and sandwiches. 2245 Fenton Parkway, Suite 105, 619-516-5862. Their first location is in the Albertson’s shopping center at the 56 Freeway and Torrey Highlands. Haven’t been, but Buzz loves their well-designed website.
Assuming you’re rooting for the Saints and watching the game with friends, plan and theme a Super Bowl party with food from Mardi Gras Café and Marketplace. You’ll find the place on Midway, two blocks off Rosecrans at Riley in small mall that includes a Punjab Indian restaurant (haven’t tried it, looks good) and a 7-Eleven. The café features sausage subs, po’boys and entrees such as red beans and rice, gumbos and jambalaya, all under $10. The market in this tiny space carries pickled pig’s cheeks, crayfish, all variations of sausage, spices, hot sauces (they boast nearly 300) and alligator tail meat, Zapp’s chips, and Café du Monde coffee and beignet mix. Open daily: 3185 Midway Dr., Point Loma, 619-223-5501.
Closed: Bondi in the Gaslamp and SanFilippo’s on Fifth in Hillcrest and according to their new phone number: 619-850-4802, they are looking for a new location.
In Del Mar, the place that morphed from Scalini’s to Pasquales has done it again…now it’s Flight. Flight’s new chef is Aaron Martinez who just left Addison where he was sous chef under William Bradley.
A well-known Gaslamp hotel restaurant is hunting for a new executive chef…it’s all about personalities…
Syrah Wine Lounge opens downtown–a wine bar with more than just Syrah–and cheese and meat platters (no kitchen). Located below the Cohn owned Dakota Grill & Spirits, we’d bet they have a interest in the place.
The building that housed The Guild, has been sold and Buzz is watching to see what will happen with the restaurant space.
And those wondering what happened to the Parallel 33 space in Hillcrest will soon have another restaurant by the same owners as Cafe Bleu at University and Fifth. Renovations are underway.
For sale: Twelve year-old La Vache in Hillcrest and the La Jolla institution, Sante on Hershel Avenue.
Up in Bankers Hill, another well-known eatery could be undergoing yet another makeover…possibly to Italian?
If you’re still wondering what to do New Year’s Eve, here are some suggestions: Support your favorite neighborhood restaurants where you may be able to sit at the bar if they’re already booked for dinner, or think about early drinks and then home with friends–you cook or get food to-go. It’s a good way to stay close to home, enjoy the evening and support the restaurants. Party–even in these woeful economic times–and everyone wins.
The possibilities are numerous for celebrating with many venues offering early and late seating and prix-fixe dinners of three plus courses at reasonable prices. So rather than list every place that sent Buzz a release (and many who didn’t post anything on their websites or send an email), here are some of my top picks.
In Bankers HIll, Hexagone French Cuisine now occupies the corner of Fifth and Laurel in the old Gemelli spot. Hexagone is the newest addition to French Market Grille up in Rancho Bernardo. The new place features everything from salad niçoise ($13.75) and onion soup grantinée ($6.50) to traditional coq au vin ($17.50) and sea bass with corn risotto and fennel-vanilla sauce ($22.50). I haven’t eaten at either spot yet. And if you’re wondering (as I did) what a hexagon has to do with French cuisine, it’s the term the French use when talking about the shape of their country. Hexagone French Cuisine, 495 Laurel Street, Bankers Hill, 619-236-0467. Open daily from 11am.
For fabulous and very French desserts and chocolates, Mille Feuille is your place at the corner of University and Fifth. Executive pastry chef Thomas Gèrard, comes from La Valencia in La Jolla, and being French knows his pastries. I’ve tasted a few: Opera (light coffee sponge cake, chocolate ganache and coffee butter cream, $6.50), apricot summer (coconut-pineapple and carrot sponge cake layered with orange-apricot cream cheese filling, $5.50) and lots more including a caramelized onion and cheese quiche ($5.50) and macaroons almost as ethereal as those found in Pierre Hermé’s Paris shop. For lunch there are sandwiches and from 2 pm to 4pm there’s high tea for $20. Mille Feuille, 3896 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest, 619-295-5232.
Barely two years old, Rannoosh the Middle Eastern restaurant next door to Mille Feuille, is closed.
There’s a shakeup in the kitchen at the Ivy Hotel. Executive chef Damon Gordon moves on at the end of the month for a likely gig back on the east coast at another upscale hotel. No word who will step into Gordon’s position.
In these tough economic times, we hope it isn’t true: Could it be that a supper club in Bankers HIll might be on the selling block? Readers to this blog wonder if another restaurant/club near Symphony Hall may not be faring so well. Up in Hillcrest, a reader wonders about a wine bar that may also be on the ropes. Stay tuned.
Looks like Wolfgang Puck‘s influence will now be downtown at the soon-to-open Crescent Heights Kitchen & Lounge. Executive chef David McIntyre’s experience comes from eight years at Puck’s Beverly HIlls Spago working his way to sous-chef and kitchen manager and most recently, consulting on Puck’s very upscale steak house Cut. McIntyre’s menu features solid Puck inspired dishes…variations of which are on the menus of his LA restaurants, including Kobe beef sliders, Chino Farm veggies and more. What Puck’s branding brings to San Diego is consistently solid food and service–something many restaurants in this town, for the most part, can’t deliver. 655 West Broadway, Ground Floor, at India St. and Broadway. Opening late this month.
Over in North Park, Heaven Sent Desserts newly installed executive chef Tina Luu brings years of pastry making to the cafe at the corner of University and 30th. She teaches at baking and pastry at The Art Institute of San Diego, and for the past 20 plus years has worked in top restaurants world-wide and with such chefs as Michael Mina and Bradley Ogden.
Great to see that The Better Half in Hillcrest received a Wine Spectator award for its wine list that features half bottles…that go so well with the food.