Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria Opens In Hillcrest

A taste of New York style pizza opens second location in San Diego

Photos by Maria Desiderata Montana
(Photos by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria has announced the Grand Opening in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, of its second new Pizzeria, from the highly successful Northern California based operation featuring 12 Pizzerias.

The Hillcrest location is on the “Fabulous Five on Fifth Block” at 3958 Fifth Avenue between University and Washington, adjacent to Urban Outfitters, Bombay, Snooze, and D Bar. Amici’s first San Diego Pizzeria opened last year in La Jolla.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Kale and Quinoa Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

“After opening our first location outside Northern California in La Jolla over a year ago, we have been looking forward to Hillcrest Amici’s presence with more enthusiasm and anticipation, than any store in a long time” stated Richard Allum, Director of Marketing and Purchasing for Amici’s. “Our new Hillcrest Pizzeria is not only beautiful and very customer appealing, but we believe the Hillcrest neighborhood, with such a diverse demographic, is the perfect fit for our overall product and menu presentations. As a company, we become totally committed to the neighborhoods we serve and establish a presence in. We will be providing our full support of Hillcrest, its Business Association and neighborhood event and activities; allowing us to become 100 per cent invested in what is best for this exciting and dramatically burgeoning area of San Diego. Working with our property owner, who has supported us with each step of our build out and installation, has been one of the smoothest and most gratifying experiences for us.”

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana
Caesar Salad with Chicken (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Amici’s Pizza, “a taste of New York”, is baked thin crust in stainless steel Brick ovens, at over 720 degrees, the way traditional pizza has been prepared for hundreds of years. One of the dramatic visually enticing features of Amici’s Hillcrest is its amazing “exhibition kitchen”, in full view for all dining room patrons, where the staff prepares nearly all the dishes from the menu. More often than not, pizza is seen continuously being tossed high in the air individually, by one of the experienced pizza chefs. Amici’s is 2800 square feet and features over 150 seats.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Assorted Pizza’s (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Amici’s award winning Pizzeria will be offering full lunch and dinner 7 days a week from 11:00 am daily. Amici’s offers over 18 signature pizza’s, with over 25 additional toppings available, 6 delicious signature salads, 15 pasta dishes and so much more. All pizzas, salads and pastas feature vegetarian and vegan selections. Amici’s offers a wide variety of beer, wine and now Champagne for its newest “Pizza and Champagne” celebrations. Creativity and innovation of dishes are welcome.

As a very special feature, Amici’s Pizza is always available for pick-up as well as delivery.

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana
Linguine with White Clam Sauce (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

About Amici’s: Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria is about quality, convenience, and enjoying the Northeast’s distinctive Italian fare. In the mid-1980′s two East Coast transplants, Peter Cooperstein from Boston, and Mike Forter from New York decided to do something about their mutual longing for the style of pizza they’d grown up with, and set out on a quest to learn the secrets that made pies from the famous pizzerias of New York, Boston, and Connecticut so distinctively delicious.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Gnocchi with Pesto (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

The friends discovered that their favorite pizzerias had something in common: a traditional, Italian brick oven. The 700 degree temperatures of the stone hearths produced thin crusts that were crisp, airy, and slightly chewy. When the pies ingredients were of the highest quality and freshness, those hot bricks melded together the flavors just right, for a taste that was nothing short of perfection.

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana
New York Style Cheesecake/Tuxedo Cake (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Peter and Mike returned inspired, and were excited to share what they had learned with fellow East Coast transplants. In 1987 they opened the first Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria in downtown San Mateo and to their delight it became a success – not only with transplants, but with EVERYONE.

With a focus on authenticity, friendly service, customer satisfaction, and with carefully measured growth, Amici’s has become the Bay Area’s standard for high-quality, freshly made pizzas, pastas, and salads enjoyed by thousands in their homes, businesses, and in Amici’s stylish restaurants.

Amici’s East Coast Pizza on Urbanspoon

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Ironside Fish & Oyster Opens Today

IronsideSurprisingly absent in California’s southern-most city, is a rich oyster culture—one that is deeply engrained in coastal communities such as the Puget Sound of Washington State, or the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and Maryland. Executive Chef Jason McLeod’s goal at Ironside Fish & Oyster is to reintroduce this culture with an approachable raw-bar concept in San Diego—a known seaport city, born from the local fishing industry that once existed as the tuna capital of the US.

THE CHEF — Oyster liquor runs rampant through Jason McLeod’s veins. Born and raised along the seafood-abundant coastlines of British Colombia, a mere 90 minutes south of Fanny Bay, McLeod was spoiled at a young age with plenty of local catch, but his favorite, undoubtedly, was the oyster – always unadorned, the most authentic taste of the sea. With over 25 years of culinary experience under his toque, Jason has traveled the world to train with several of the most prestigious chefs in the industry, including culinary icons Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White. While Ironside will be Chef McLeod’s first venture as an owner, it will certainly not be his first foray into developing a concept focused largely on seafood. In 2009 as the opening executive chef of RIA in Chicago’s 5-Star Elysian Hotel, McLeod led a luxurious seafood-driven restaurant from being relatively unknown, to receiving two Michelin stars during its first year of operation—an honor that only two other restaurants in Chicago (Charlie Trotter’s and Avenues) were awarded that year.

KITCHEN + CUISINE — Creating thought-provoking concepts with progressive design, CH Projects spared absolutely no expense to transform the 4,500 square foot, 1920s-era warehouse. At the epicenter of Ironside’s $1.8 million build out, an impressive raw bar is one of three open-air culinary hubs, offering guests a daily changing menu of bivalves, oyster flights, crudos, crab claws, seafood platters, house made mignonettes and more.

Fostering a shared space of communal interaction and education, an in-house bakery and European-style open kitchen each features their own unique chef’s table, and a five-foot live lobster tank houses crustaceans from the coasts of Baja, Maine and beyond. Alongside the raw bar and bakery, McLeod’s culinary program features an extensive menu of seafood-heavy specialties feature Beer Braised Mussels with Andouille sausage, Fried Oyster Po Boy, Shrimp Bahn Mi, a Lobster Roll – in addition to more traditional classics like “Daily Catch” served a la plancha or grilled, Seafood Chowder, Fish & Chips and more.

IN-HOUSE ARTISANAL BREAD PROGRAM — Ironside’s impressive in-house bakery is led by Pastry Chef Donna Antaloczy. Antaloczy has gathered invaluable “Old World” knowledge about the art of baking at acclaimed kitchens throughout the country including Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park, Christophe Eme’s former Ortolan Restaurant, Gordon Ramsay’s The London NYC, and David Kinch’s Manresa – where she trained under famed head baker Avery Ruzicka and pastry chef Stephanie Prida who’ve propelled the  “Manresa Bread Project” to celebrity status. Antaloczy’s bread program weaves its distinctive, high-quality ingredients into all aspects of Ironside’s menu, offering up items ranging from fresh hearth loaves, porridge breads, brioche and lobster rolls.

FORTIFIED ON ALL FRONTS — CH Projects is respected for turning out some of the best and most ambitious bar programs in the county (“Cocktail Bar of the Year,” Imbibe Magazine’s Imbibe 75; “The Best Bars in America,” Esquire Magazine; Top 50 Bars in the Country,” Food & Wine; “Beer Bar of the Year,” Nightclub & Bar Awards). Ironside’s cocktail menu, helmed by Bar Manager Leigh Lecap, pays tribute to a resurgence of sherrys, ports and Madeiras, with more than 90 different fortified wines proudly gracing Ironside’s 14-foot overarching, steel bar trellis. A viscous beverage traditionally enjoyed as a digestif, Lecap translates the natural affinity between fortified wines and spirits into a selection of “Fortified” cobbler cocktails. This re-imagined take on the beloved and uniquely American sherry cobbler is a resurgent “lost art” among bartenders, cocktail enthusiasts and general imbibers.

COCKTAILS ON THE HALF SHELL — Alongside a handful of “Fortified” creations, Ironside’s bar menu showcases over 50 unique cocktails divided into categories such as “Uplifting”, “Stimulating”, “Hold Fast”, “Seaworthy” and “Cocktails On The Halfshell” – a single raw oyster served alongside a lively concoction of restorative qualities.  The menu is designed to give imbibers a variety of options to compliment each aspect of their meal from start to finish. Pouring from the bar’s 26 taps are 16 beers, eight wines, one draft cocktail and ice-cold coffee on draft in partnership with Coffee & Tea Collective.

THE HAPPIEST OF HOURS & LATE NIGHT EATS — Happy Hour: Nothing beats a fresh platter of oysters over ice, unless those oysters happen to come at the low price of a dollar apiece! Oyster happy hour is sure to become one of Ironside’s favorite pastimes, offering a selection of $1 oysters from the raw bar Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  Late Night Eats: While Ironside’s last seating is at 10 p.m., the raw bar will stay open alongside the cocktail bar until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, offerings the freshest of bivalves, oyster flights, crudos, crab claws and more.

DESIGN — Underscoring the collaborative spirit that Ironside aims to restore, CH Projects once again commissioned brick-and-mortar guru Paul Basile of Basile Studio (Craft & Commerce, UnderBelly, Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine) to visually convey the collective’s essential spirit and philosophy. From custom, plasma cut barstools and copper tabletops, to the 14-foot-tall overarching steel bar trellis, Ironside’s deliberately intricate and intellectually stimulating décor includes experimental design elements that Basile himself customized and fabricated in his East Village warehouse. Five massive floor-to-ceiling steel flip doors at the front of the building can be lifted to create an open concept restaurant that faces the bustling avenue, and a 15-foot marble countertop near the open-aire kitchen transforms into a 14 seat communal table with outwardly swinging bar seats that discreetly hover below the countertop. For Paul Basile, it’s all in the details – and with Ironside’s design, functionality is kept top of mind, translating into dollars and cents.

HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open 7 days a week

Lunch
Monday through Friday | 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday + Sunday | 10 a.m. to 3p.m.

Dinner
Daily | 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cocktail Bar + Raw Bar
All Day to Midnight, Sunday through Thursday
All Day to 2 a.m., Friday + Saturday

Oyster Happy Hour | Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m., $1 oysters

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AMC’s ‘Mad Men’: Flashback Frenzy Continues this week with True North Tavern

The popular AMC television show “Mad Men,” having just started its final season, has us all enjoying a sort-of flashback frenzy. From high fashion to the Old-Fashioned, this era could be called more mod than mad. Pull on a pencil skirt or a fancy fedora and head to one of these San Diego joints for their take on the classic cocktail concoctions.

(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

Saddle up and mosey on over to North Park’s True North Tavern for the Strawberry Bourbon Mule.  This southern cousin to the “Moscow Mule” takes advantage of peak strawberry season, combining Benchmark Bourbon, strawberry puree, lemon juice and topping it off with the essential dose of ginger beer. Traditionalists should try True North’s Ginger Manhattan, made with Templeton Rye, Antica Formula Vermouth, ginger syrup and a dash of cherry bitters.

True North Tavern on Urbanspoon

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AMC’s ‘Mad Men’: Flashback Frenzy

The popular AMC television show “Mad Men,” having just started its final season, has us all enjoying a sort-of flashback frenzy. From high fashion to the Old-Fashioned, this era could be called more mod than mad. Pull on a pencil skirt or a fancy fedora and head to one of these San Diego joints for their take on the classic cocktail concoctions.

(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

The Duck Dive: There Will Be Blood (well, blood oranges that is) at Pacific Beach’s The Duck Dive this summer. Channeling Don Draper’s favorite, the “Old-Fashioned,” this Mad Men-esque cocktail combines Old Forrester Bourbon, fresh blood orange, bitters, maraschino cherry, brown sugar and ginger ale. At 142 years young, Old Forrester is America’s oldest brand of bourbon. During Prohibition, it was one of only 10 brands sold under the guise that it was “for medicinal use only.”

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