Italian Inspired Bottega Americano

Italian Inspired Bottega Americano
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Located inside the Thomas Jefferson School of Law directly across the street from the city’s new Central Library in San Diego’s East Village, Bottega Americano is an Italian–inspired restaurant and specialty food marketplace that invites guests to dine in a fun and exciting dining hall.

Together, there are four notable Bottega owners who bring to life a new genre of dining inspired by old–world European style, including Giuseppe Ciuffa, founder and CEO of Giuseppe Fine Restaurants & Fine Catering; avid foodie, investor and East Village resident Chad Ruyle; restaurateurGreg Van de Velde, who most recently managed the iconic Bertrand at Mister A’s restaurant; and noted chef David Warner, formerly of San Diego’s beachfront hotspot JRDN. “My partners and I had a strong vision for the project from the beginning,” says Ciuffa. “Chef Warner and I work together with our culinary team on all of the menu ideas. So instead of having just one chef with only one vision, we are inspired by many different tastes, trends and experiences.”

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Cafe Madeleine Sidewalk Cafe

Cafe Madeleine Sidewalk CafeCafe Madeleine Sidewalk Cafe

Nestled in the heart of south park, Cafe Madeleine is inspired by the sidewalk street cafes in France. The art nouveau stlye of the cafe, outside tables and crimson umbrellas lining the sidewalk complete an ambiance fit for Paris. A mural of Toulouse-Lautrec-like decorative painting on the Juniper Street side of the building is done by Alexandra Pastorino, a French artist now living in Los Angeles.

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Welcome Breakfast Republic

Breakfast RepublicBreakfast Republic (BR) is raising feathers and giving you something to crow about with its new opening in North Park.

In search of a fun and unpretentious place to enjoy a clucking good breakfast? Look no further! This innovative breakfast destination offers a top spot for locals and visitors to flock to every morning. Breakfast Republic is taking over the space that was previously occupied by Western Burger, and using an avant-garde approach to décor that is innovative and inviting. The living wall emblazoned with a rooster on the run is no exception!

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Andaz Cocktails During Comic Con

Andaz Cocktails During Comic ConComic-Con, San Diego’s multi-genre entertainment convention is just around the corner and Andaz San Diego is getting ready for the big event with innovative cocktails themed around the 4-day extravaganza!

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Sin City Pizza Comes to San Diego

With its first location opened at the LINQ in Las Vegas, the second Flour & Barley restaurant is slated to open this Fall in the former Pizzeria Mozza location at The Headquarters at Seaport. Sin City Pizza Comes to San Diego

Flour & Barley is all about Pizza pies and craft beer. Individual brick oven-style pizzas with wood-fired crusts are made with All Trumps flour, San Marzano tomatoes, whole milk mozzarella and house-made toppings along with Italian-inspired appetizers, pasta dishes, Panini’s and salads. Flour & Barley also features barrel aged and handcrafted cocktails as well as seasonal beers on draft.

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New Civico 1845 Comes to Little Italy

The Next Generation of Italian Cuisine Comes to Little Italy with Civico 1845

Civico 1845 comes to Little Italy

Civico 1845 Opens, Bringing Contemporary Italian Classics, Vegan Included, to Little Italy

Straight-from-Italy brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo have opened the doors to Civico 1845, serving up authentic Italian cuisine that is anything but “old school.” Situated in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy, Civico 1845 (pronounced CHEE-vee-ko), provides a modernized Italian dining experience – with an array of vegan dishes included.

Located at 1845 India Street, Civico 1845 is a contemporary Italian restaurant that features fresh flavors and revamped versions of Italian classics. The Gallos’ southern Italian roots serve as the inspiration for much of the restaurant, both in its cuisine and design.

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Sunset Savor The Central Coast

THE ULTIMATE CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP – TOP TEN SECRET DESTINATIONS UNVEILED ALONG THE ICONIC HIGHWAY 1 DISCOVERY ROUTE

SunsetSavorTheCentralCoastSunset SAVOR The Central Coast and Highway 1 Discovery Route Offer A Chance To Win The Ultimate Fall Vacation, September 24-27, 2015

This Fall, the California Central Coast reveals the road less savored and invites travelers to take the ultimate culinary road trip on the California Highway 1 Discovery Route. An easy-to-drive vacation boasting unexplored destinations fit for culinary lovers, adventure seekers, vinophiles, and sunshine chasers, the road trip weaves through a unique part of the Golden State, San Luis Obispo County, located half-way between both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Featuring natural attractions that most urbanites don’t have the chance to experience, the route is home to 10 distinct destinations that are easy to experience by car. These fall travel hotspots remain untouched by the masses, and offer completely customizable itineraries filled with farm fresh cuisine, unparalleled wine culture, whimsical artisan towns, and seaside villages rich in character and history.

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Spot a Celebrity at Comic Con

Spot a Celebrity at Comic ConComic-Con International 2015 is flying in quickly and downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District is turning up the heat this summer with a wide variety of happenings to celebrate the world’s largest pop culture convention. Check out our sampling of some of San Diego’s hottest Comic-Con inspired offerings as well as the top places to spot a celebrity!

Searsucker San Diego: Located in the epicenter of downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, Searsucker downtown serves a playful menu of classic twists on New American cuisine and an array of moth-watering cocktails.  Just blocks from the San Diego Convention Center and offering a great patio on Fifth Avenue for superhero and zombie watching, Searsucker is transforming their entire cocktail menu from July 6 through 12 to pay tribute to some of Comic-Con’s greatest characters while even adding a NEW cocktail, Drax the Destroyer.  

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July Fourth Destinations

July Fourth DestinationsFrom the beaches to the perfect weather, there is no better place to spend the holiday than in America’s finest city! Enjoy our handpicked list that will make destination decision making easy this Independence Day. Commemorate the birthday of our amazing country the right way with the following bars and restaurants offering great food and libations!

Have Friday, July 3 off from work? Get into the 4th of July spirit at Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp with the help of local band, Slower. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., the youthful band with an old soul plays multiple genres including Classic Rock, R&B, Motown, Funk, Pop, Contemporary and current Top 40 hits. A $10 gets you inside the downtown restaurant for all the action. Union’s Late Night Lounge Menu that includes items such as flatbreads and sliders will be available until midnight.

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Scarpetta Beverly Hills

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

What could be more relaxing than the clickety-clack of wheels on steel rails, a distant horn, and the gentle vibration of a train whisking you to a far-away destination?

On one fine weekend, I boarded the Amtrak in Solana Beach, and not more than two quick hours later, I was de-boarding in busy Union Station in the center of Los Angeles.  Pacific Surfliner is an appropriate name for this route between San Diego and L.A., as much of the trip parallels the ocean, with nothing between your window and the water.  These modernly equipped cars have spacious and comfortable seats, much like airline first-class accommodations, with power outlets and free Wi-Fi.  But I must admit, my laptop was closed the entire trip, as I enjoyed the ever-changing landscape and endless sights of life beyond my own little world.  What an extreme difference compared to a drive up I-5, gripping my steering wheel tightly as I navigate the traffic and feel the anxiety rise by the minute.

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Have Breakfast at Rancho Valencia

Rancho Valencia
Breakfast Flatbread at Rancho Valencia (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

About Rancho Valencia

Since its opening in 1989, the award-winning Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa – Southern California’s only Relais & Châteaux property – has garnered a reputation as one of the West’s most sought-after five star resorts. A sanctuary of good living tucked away on 45 acres of lush gardens and olive groves, this Mediterranean-inspired, all-suite property recently completed a $30 million renovation including remodeled guest casitas, a brand new restaurant and new bar, and completely remodeled meeting space, as well as major enhancements to The Spa and fitness center. Among the property’s offerings are 49 luxuriously appointed guest casitas with private patios, rejuvenating spa treatments and a wellness-oriented fitness program at The Spa, two distinctive restaurants – Veladora and The Pony Room – showcasing Rancho Valencia’s farm-to-table philosophy, and an award-winning tennis program.

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Lou and Mickey’s

Lou and Mickey's
(Courtesy photo)

Located at the entrance to San Diego’s Historic Gaslamp Quarter, within direct proximity to the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park, Lou and Mickey’s serves memorable classic American cuisine with plenty of mid-western hospitality that is warm and welcoming for anyone – whether in a three-piece suit on a business lunch or in shorts and a tee en route to the Padres game, “mid-western” hospitality is diplomatic.

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Summer Fare At True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen’s summer menu is in full effect, offering ingredients that are sustainable and locally grown with natural health benefits.

Summer Fare At True Food Kitchen

For those looking to keep up with fitness goals for the summer, there is no need to worry when dining at True Food Kitchen because its menu is based on the principals of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, using ingredients that are as good for you as they taste. 

Additionally, True Food Kitchen San Diego is launching an educational cooking class series, with the first event taking place on Wednesday, July 15th. Each class in this new series will be tailored to a specific theme and will feature a local community partner specialized in the topic of the class. True Food Kitchen is partnering with Santa Monica Seafood for this class, which will focus on the importance of sourcing seafood sustainably. San Diego Executive Chef Nathan Coulon will welcome Guest Chef Paddy Glennon, a local authority on food, the environment and sustainability with over 25 years of experience in the industry, to join them in a cooking demonstration paired with interactive discussions on sustainability of the ocean and alternative types of seafood that conscious consumers can choose.
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Visit Lucy Restaurant at Bardessono

Lucy Restaurant at Bardessono
Onsite Garden at Bardessono (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Executive Chef Victor Scargle of Lucy Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono in Yountville, Napa Valley, says he feels fortunate enough to live and work in one of the best places in the world for food and wine. “We’re able to produce, grow, and source amazing ingredients year round from both our on-site garden and other amazing local purveyors. My passion for these high quality, locally sourced ingredients is the driving force behind our menu.”

During an apprenticeship at Red Lion Resort in Florida, Scargle says he found a mentor in Executive Chef Brian Bird who encouraged him to travel east to work with chefs in Miami and New York, including Patria, Gramercy Tavern, Tribeca Grill, Park Avenue Café and East Hampton Point with Chef Gerry Hayden.

Lucy Restaurant at Bardessono
Freshly Dug Carrot Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

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Healthy Eating at Tender Greens

Healthy Eating at Tender Greens
Roasted Roma Tomato Soup (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Considered a “fast-casual organic restaurant,” Tender Greens is a great place to experience slow food at an affordable price. A significant hallmark for Tender Greens is its established partnerships with local ranchers and purveyors, as well as a handful of small local farms that use sustainable farming practices. Popular favorites include the Happy Vegan Salad, roasted Roma tomato soup and herb-brushed albacore. Tender Greens has several locations in the Southern California region, with plenty of tasteful and nutritious meals available for dining in or taking home.

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Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen

Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen
Heirloom Tomato Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Located on a rather quiet residential street just 1 block west from the South Coast Highway, this small gastropub is a hidden gem. Husband-and-wife team Rodney and Aaron Browning have deep experience in the local culinary community, working with some of the most respected chefs in Southern California.

sandiegofoodfinds.com
Grits with Bolognese Sauce (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

This eatery is dedicated to the slow-food movement, a farm-to-table philosophy utilizing locally sourced and fresh ingredients. Rustic American cuisine is featured throughout the menu, with a touch of Southern-style comfort. One of the signature dishes is the Durac Pork Belly served with collards, caramelized apple, and polenta spoon bread.

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WineSellar and Brasserie

In a modest location on a corner in Sorrento Mesa, Gary Parker, owner of the WineSellar and Brasserie, encourages diners to loosen their ties in his cozy and comfortable restaurant, offering artful plates boasting innovative California French cooking par excellence.

WineSellar and Brasserie
Lobster Tartine BLT (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Not only is the service impeccable and precise at this long time eatery, Parker has built the menu around homemade, seasonal, and locally grown ingredients, offering a unique spin on American classics. A small kitchen is proof that ingredients can only be stored and used fresh daily. The only thing that is not made at the restaurant is the bread, which comes from St. Tropez Bakery.

The Lobster Tartine BLT, richly tastes of avocado butter paired with apple wood smoked bacon, melted leeks, roasted tomatoes and garlic aioli. On the advice of Parker, we savored Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards, Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2008 with this dish. “This is a good one,” says Parker. “It’s oaky, ripe, and meant for early consumption.”

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Organic Fresh Pasta In Little Italy

Organic Fresh Pasta In Little Italy
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Known for their fresh homemade pasta, Bencotto Italian Kitchen and its “little brother” restaurant next door, Monello, have made a big change this year. Both restaurants are saying arrivederci to normal pasta as they announce they will only be serving organic pasta. After extensive research and taste testing, owners Valentina and Guido selected a supplier in Parma, Italy which offers a large selection of organic flours, certified among the best in the world.

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Savoie Eatery Appoints New Chef

Innovative Chef Mikel Anthony Takes Top Toque at Savoie

Savoie Eatery Appoints New ChefChef Mikel Anthony used to describe himself as a “Ronin,” a rogue Samurai warrior who served many masters on a freelance basis. This intriguing self-description stopped applying when he stepped into the kitchen of Karina’s Group’s popular South Bay restaurant, Savoie, to focus on heightening the dazzling eatery’s Mediterranean influenced menu featuring dishes from France, Italy and Spain.

David Contreras Curiel of the family-owned Karina’s Group says, “We wanted to bring in a new chef who could really take ownership of the kitchen. We were looking for a local talent who wants to make his mark on the San Diego food scene, and were delighted to find Mikel.”

Anthony and Savoie found each other so mutually satisfactory that he agreed to become Executive Chef. He turned 33 this month, and says, “I think 33 is a good age. I plan to accomplish a lot this year.”

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Caroline’s Seaside Cafe

Caroline's Seaside Cafe
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Given the wide array of stunning locations to dine in San Diego, it’s nearly impossible to find a new venue tucked away from the typical tourist hotspots. There are many choices in this beautiful city, with whitewater vistas and orange sunsets every day of the week. With a kaleidoscope of cuisines representing most corners of the world, it can be somewhat of a challenge at times to find a simple menu that still provides healthy and fresh choices.

Unexpectedly nestled on the water’s edge of the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography Seaside Forum, Caroline’s Seaside Cafe fits the bill. The restaurant is another winning concept from local culinary guru Giuseppe Ciuffa, who also owns the Museum Café located in the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Sculpture Court Cafe located adjacent to The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, and his own tremendously successful Fine Catering business.

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New Chef At Balboa Bay Resort

Balboa Bay Resort is pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Haggstrom to executive chef of the luxurious Newport Beach resort. Haggstrom has been serving as the property’s chef de cuisine since October 2013.  

New Chef At Balboa Bay ResortIn her new role, Haggstrom will oversee the resort’s dining restaurants, including Waterline Newport Beach, the resort’s signature bay front seafood restaurant and A&O Kitchen+Bar, the resort’s waterfront gastropub. Haggstrom will also manage the resort’s day-to-day culinary operations, including special events, galas and weddings.

“Rachel has been instrumental in spearheading the development and implementation of the resort’s culinary programs,” said Sam El-Rabaa, general manager of Balboa Bay Resort. “Her depth of knowledge and extraordinary experience, both at five star resorts and elite culinary destinations, make her the ideal candidate to lead us to new culinary heights.”

Balboa Bay Resort was previously under the culinary direction of executive chef Vincent Lesage, who is now the executive chef at the resort’s sister Meritage Collection property, Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA.

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New Bracero Cocina de Raiz

Bracero Cocina de Raiz is a new 4,800 square-foot restaurant that’s scheduled to open July 7th. Thoughtfully designed spaces are meant to be rustic yet modern, nostalgic, yet impressively forward-thinking. The name is inspired by the Bracero program, bracero meaning “one who works with their hands & arms.” This was a term for manual laborers.

Bracero Cocina de Raiz

Bracero Cocina de Raiz

For casual or romantic dining experiences, Bracero offers lively street-level dining, as well as an exclusive second-floor mezzanine that is sure to ignite the fire within. An interactive vertical bar towers from floor to ceiling, where mixologists are exhibiting their craft on every level, and an open kitchen on each floor allows guests to view the artful preparation of their meal. There is also an open terrace that showcases San Diego’s perfect climate.


When it comes to dining in Downtown San Diego, Bracero Cocina de Raiz will be offering something very unique. You will be transported from the moment you enter, and leave with a little touch of the Bracero spirit.


Regarding the concept, the menu will be modern Mexican with both small and large plates, as well family-style shareable platters. Their beverage program will highlight Mexican spirits and Baja wine. It will be influenced by Chef Javier Plascencia’s existing locations, such as Romesco and Finca Altozano.



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Kale and Strawberry Salad Recipe

Recipe and Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

This light and healthy Kale and Strawberry salad is the perfect side dish for those sultry summer days!

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Market Cookbook Coming Soon

Market Final CoverMarket Cookbook Coming August 2015

One of the highlights of my career as a food writer was co-authoring and photographing Chef Carl Schroeder’s new cookbook. Chef Schroeder and I spent a good year or more working together in the kitchen at Market Restaurant. I learned so much from this extremely talented and BRILLIANT chef. You are going to want this cookbook!

In 2006 Carl Schroeder established San Diego’s famed Market Restaurant + Bar where he takes great local products and turns them into great food. His passion for locally sourced ingredients and hyper-seasonal cuisine are on display for dinner every evening. He seeks out the best produce, seafood, and meat from local markets and his passion for perfection and the spontaneous nature of what is available are showcased in the daily changing menu. With a modern supper-club like atmosphere, this cozy eatery has a sophisticated feel. “After many years of hard work and attention to detail, we are now a nationally recognized restaurant that has received many awards and James Beard nominations,” says Schroeder, who has a great eye for detail, a strong focus, and a very distinct point of view on his cuisine. Look for the Market Restaurant + Bar Cookbook (Lyons Press) to be released August, 2015.

*Written by mdm

Market Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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