Pancake Monster at Brian’s 24

Pancake Monster at Brian's 24There is nothing more satisfying than a fluffy, light and buttery stack of pancakes. Nobody does them better (or bigger!) than San Diego’s iconic 24-hour eatery, Brian’s 24. In honor of National Pancake Week, starting February 21st, enjoy one of downtown’s most popular food challenges, The Brian’s 24 Pancake Monster.

This local food feat is made with three fried eggs, five hotcakes, four strips of bacon, two sausage patties, an eight oz. ham steak, and an eight oz. country fried steak on a bed of home fries. If you cross this Mt. Everest of breakfasts off your list in under an hour, it’s on the house!

“We have sold a bunch! It is also a great way for a group of friends or a family to share a meal, family-style,” says Andrea Epstein, part proprietor of this this family-owned and -operated restaurant.  However, an honorary t-shirt and free meal is only awarded to those solo, challenge winners. About 150+ people have been daring enough to try the actual challenge (some more than once), and eight heroic souls have completed the Pancake Monster contest successfully.

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Simplistic Perfection at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse

Tom Ham's Lighthouse
raw bar seafood selections

Open since 1971,  Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is one of San Diego’s best known architectural landmarks, offering one of the best views of the San Diego Bay, paired with classic wood and high ceilings. Their real power, however, lies in the simplistic perfection of their menu, which is all about fresh and sustainable seafood.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Grapefruit and Endive Salad

Executive Chef Kyle Kovar has modernized the menu, elevating it to new heights, while  keeping the tradition and quality of expectation consistent. He developed his own style by working under several different chefs.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Clams and Linguini

After taking a few short culinary courses to develop some skills, most of his training consisted of working his way up in the kitchen.  “I never had the opportunity to work under one real mentor figure,” he explains. “Understanding the different backgrounds and knowledge of all of my past executive chefs helped me craft my own style that I now share with those working with me in the kitchen at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.”

Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Seafood Bouillabaisse

Kovar likes to incorporate local produce and seafood into his menu, relying on Specialty Produce and farmers’ market trucks that stop in a few times a week.  His focus on unique seasonal elements results in creative dishes that are well received by discerning diners. Some menu items change frequently, depending on the ingredients involved. “We’ll do a complete menu revamp at least four or five times a year, changing with the climate and ingredient availability,” he says.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Key Lime Pie

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse host banquets, weddings, corporate events, seminars, business meetings, class reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, rehearsal dinners and festivals. With 3 unique banquet spaces, they undoubtedly have a space to accommodate your private event.

©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Tom Ham's Lighthouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hot Valentine’s Day Destinations

Prepare to eat your heart out at some of San Diego’s most romantic dining destinations. From breathtaking views to a cozy hideaway booth, to a splurge-worthy dinner just for two, join Stake Chophouse & Bar (Coronado), Coasterra (Harbor Island), BO-beau kitchen + bar (Ocean Beach) and The Prado (Balboa Park) for a night on the town!

Steak Chophpuse and BarSTAKE CHOPHOUSE & BAR [Coronado]

It doesn’t get more luxurious than Chef Tim Kolanko’s decadent four-course menu for those looking to celebrate their love in style. From Stake’s second floor perch overlooking downtown Coronado, couples will be treated to tableside hors d’oeuvres of lobster, caviar and mushrooms, along with a first course selection of Lobster Wonton Soup or a Citrus & Crab Salad. Known for their top-notch cuts of fine meats, diners can choose between Stakes’ premier Filet Mignon, N.Y. Strip Steak or Ribeye, or take to sea with a selection of Scallops, Seared Tuna and a Black Cod served with sunchoke and young broccoli in a red wine reduction. Set the mood with a sultry sweet for two, as Executive Pastry Chef Francis Laureano presents his Cupid’s Heart, a white chocolate and passion fruit confection that’s sure to set hearts aflutter. 

1309 Orange Ave

$120 per person, custom wine pairings $75 or $125

StakeChophouse.com | for reservations, 619.522.0077

Full menu available here

CoasterraCOASTERRA [Harbor Island]

Kick the romance factor up a notch with breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline while you dine on Chef Deborah Scott’s three-course menu of Modern Mexican cuisine. Toast your love under the stars as you dine on Creama de Elote, a white corn soup with fresh shucked corn, roasted poblano creama and crispy leeks, or the Mar Y Tierra, a cedar river natural beef short rib braised in a Oaxacan mole, severed with a lobster-risotto cake, grilled asparagus and topped with a succulent lobster claw. Save room for dessert – the Passion Fruit Cheesecake and Chocolate Torte are sure to ignite some flames of passion of your own. DineCRG.com | for reservations, 619.814.1300

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Italian Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Rolls Recipe Maria Desiderata Montana
Recipe and Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

There was no such thing as fast food in our home; ingredients were simple and straightforward, and this recipe is no exception. This was one of my favorite recipes that my Italian mother made for me often, simply because I asked her too!

Cabbage Rolls With Brown Rice and Marinara

Serves 6

Preparation

18 Chinese cabbage leaves
½ pound ground veal
½ pound ground Italian sausage
1-1/2 cups prepared brown rice
¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of chili flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

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Authentic Mexican Taco Shop

Authentic Mexican Taco ShopLocals are going loco for the brand new taquería, The Taco Stand (La Jolla), with an additional location recently opened on B Street in the heart of downtown.

Your Baja adventure starts as soon as you step through the entrance of this fast-casual eatery. To your left, you will be greeted by a mural by the well-known, Tijuana artist “Art Pusher,” that features a Latin accordionist. To your right, you’ll find a scrap-metal, rectangular enclosure that displays the menu in bright colors, designed to resemble an authentic, south-of-the-border stand.

The Taco Stand’s menu is inspired traditional recipes found along the Baja coast, featuring top-grade meats, handmade tortillas and fresh guacamole and salsa made from scratch, daily.  Order at the counter and indulge in dishes such as the Sonora Taco, with 100% certified Angus beef, melted cheese, beans guacamole, onions, cilantro and salsa. Or go vegetarian with the Nopal Taco, filled with flame grilled cactus. The Taco Stand not only serves up appetizing tacos, but also has a large selection of burritos, quesadillas and breakfast options. If you’re in the mood for something light, try the Pescado Burrito filled with grilled Mahi Mahi or if you arrive with a bigger appetite, try the Al Pastor Burrito loaded with Rotisserie marinated pork, cilantro, onions, cilantro sauce and pineapple.

It’s no secret that Southern California is the best place to find genuine Mexican food and The Taco Stand doesn’t miss any details. Pair your meal with an ice cold, imported Mexican cerveza. And if you’re able to find more room in your stomach, enjoy a Mexican flavored popsicle or a freshly made Rosarito-style churro.

From its spicy design to its top-grade meats and hand-made tortillas, The Taco Stand is bringing a whole lot of culture to the downtown area. With another location to open in Encinitas in the next few months.

The Taco Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Syrupy Stacks Of Sweetness

Fig Tree Cafe PancakesNational Pancake Day and Mardi Gras are on the same day this year, so go ahead and give in to your breakfast temptations with any one of these syrupy stacks of sweetness on February 9th.

Breakfast Republic is North Park’s buzzed about brunch spectacular. Available this month only, the sunny breakfast joint is offering an exclusive plate of Red Velvet Pancakes topped with cream cheese frosting (and it’s only $10!). If Red Velvet isn’t your flavor of choice, opt for the flight of pancakes instead.  With Oreo, Cinnamon Roll, Churro, Bacon, Mint Chocolate Chip and Pineapple Upside Down Cake to choose from, picking three isn’t as easy as it sounds. Are you drooling yet?

If you’re a San Diego local, you’ve heard of Fig Tree Café. With three locations in Pacific Beach, Hillcrest and Liberty Station, the hit breakfast spot is hard to miss. In honor of the upcoming national holiday, give their signature stack of Buttermilk Pancakes a try. Served with orange segment syrup, the classic dish is available to be topped with your choice of blueberries, strawberries or bananas. For all the fruit lovers out there, go ahead and order all three for the ultimate naturally-sweet topping!

For a restaurant that embodies the beach community it’s surrounded by, head down to the Duck Dive. Located only a block from the sand and surf, the surfer’s lounge offers mellow brunch vibes. Their trademark Monkey Cakes dish is the ideal way to pay tribute to pancakes. The enticing stack of Buttermilk Pancakes is topped with fried banana, brown sugar and honey butter. We’re in a sugar coma already.

Get ‘em hot and get ‘em fresh at Pan Bon in Little Italy. Although the Italian restaurant specializes in staples from its homeland, the bi-level bakery and café knows how to do pancakes. Their Home Style Pancakes are prepared with seasonal fresh fruit, whipped cream and extra fluffiness of course!

Starving after a fun night out in Gaslamp? Get your hotcake fix at Brian’s 24 . The 24- hour eatery is known for their hearty portions and their signature pancake recipes, including classic Buttermilk, Potato, S’mores and Multigrain. Their Ultimate Pancake Sandwich doesn’t fall short either.  Prepared with three buttermilk pancakes, two fried eggs, four strips of bacon, two sausage patties and warm syrup, it’s guaranteed to fill you up. Up for a challenge? Order the Pancake Monster with three fried eggs, five hotcakes, four strips of bacon, two sausage patties, an eight ounce ham steak and an eight ounce country fried steak on a bed of special home fries. If you can finish it by yourself in under an hour, it’s free!

Known for their farm-to-table approach, Farmer’s Bottega in Mission Hills offers simple and traditional pancakes. Their plate of Buttermilk Pancakes is available plain or with toppings of your choice. Complement the classic dish with any of the following fruit varieties: mixed fruit, strawberries, bananas or blackberries.  Go for something different and try the blackberry pancakes!

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Celebrate National Pizza Pie Day

National Pizza Pie Day
Biga Pizza 5

Everyone’s favorite holiday is right around the corner. No, not Valentine’s Day… but National Pizza Pie Day! This February 9th, take a slice out of pizza heaven with a bite of San Diego’s best cheesy delights.

If you’re looking for authentic Italian pizza, then head over to none other than Little Italy in downtown, San Diego. You’ll find that Pan Bon’s pizza stands out from the rest. Their pizza dough is hand-crafted with Lievito Madre, a starter type yeast, and rises for over 48 hours. This process helps break down gluten and allows your body to digest more easily. The endless menu allows customers to choose fresh meats and fish such as classic Italian sausage, Parma prosciutto, spicy salamino, salmon, lobster or crab.

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Bacon Lovers Rejoice

Bacon Lovers Rejoice
Brazen BBQ Atomic Buffalo Poppers

What’s better than bacon, you ask? Savory treats wrapped in bacon. These six San Diego eateries are sure to get you wrapped up in their mouthwatering bacon-wrapped menu items.

With a menu offering a cultural mashup of Korean, Chinese, Mexican and American influences, Common Theory Public House is sure to satisfy a wide array of cravings! Bacon-lovers will enjoy the Bacon Wrapped Garlic Corn Dog, crafted with Linguiça sausage. Served with housemade dips, this dish is a must-try for bacon aficionados! Stop by the Kearny Mesa hotspot for a snack and a sip of one of over 30 rotating brews on tap.

Looking for a spicy kick? Head to Brazen BBQ in Hillcrest to enjoy a starter that will surely make an explosion! Go all out with the Atomic Buffalo Poppers, bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with sweet corn and a blend of cheeses. The poppers are then tenderly smoked, in line with the southern smokehouse cooking techniques of the restaurant.

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Biga Handcrafted Coffee Specialties

Biga Handcrafted Coffee SpecialtiesWhen you’re in the Gaslamp and in need of a pick-me-up, Biga is ready to serve! The Italian-influenced artisan eatery recently opened on the corner of 6th and Broadway. Whether you’re on the go or taking a seat among the morning hustle and bustle, your day will be made better with a buzz from Biga’s coffee creations. The brews are brought to life on a state-of-the art Italian espresso machine. Featuring coffee beans from local, award-winning Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Biga promises to grind out some of the best coffee drinks in San Diego, an affordable price.

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The Grill Closes For Renovation

THE LODGE AT TORREY PINES® ANNOUNCES $2.5 MILLION RENOVATION OF THE GRILL

The Grill

The Grill to Undergo Patio Redesign and Expansion with Outdoor Rotisserie & Reimagined Menu; New Look to Debut in June 2016 

On February 1, 2016, The Lodge at Torrey Pines will temporarily close doors to The Grill, the popular dining destination nestled alongside the iconic Torrey Pines Golf Course. Slated to reopen in June 2016, The Grill will undergo an extensive remodel that will include a reinvigorated patio design with an impressive outdoor wood-burning rotisserie as well as a revamped kitchen to make way for a menu overhaul from the property’s acclaimed Executive Chef Jeff Jackson.

A mainstay at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, one of Southern California’s most notable AAA Five Diamond hotels, The Grill, a local favorite, has played an important dining role at the resort since its inception in 2002. Enhancements will transform The Grill’s current outdoor patio to include an overhead wooden trellis, several intimate fire pits and an expanded, redesigned seating area to both The Grill and The Bar. The focal point of the renovation is a vast, custom-built, wood-fired grill, which will serve as the inspiration behind Chef Jackson’s new menu. 

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Gourmet Latin Cuisine Hits Little Italy

The newly opened Sirena restaurant offers a true gourmet Latin Cuisine inspired menu, with many dishes having roots in the food culture of South America.

Latin Cusine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Gourmet Latin Cuisine

Located on the corner of Columbia and Fir Streets in San Diego’s Little Italy, the new Sirena restaurant boasts a neutral color palette accented with wooden walls and dark tables, making it the perfect spot for a romantic date or upscale business dinner.

The philosophy behind the menu at Sirena is to showcase fresh ingredients with simple flavors. “We wanted to bring San Diego a unique and unmatched culinary experience with a one-of-a-kind menu,” says Executive Chef Jaime Chavez.

Latin Cuisine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Sirena stands out from other restaurants in the area by a few trademarks. First, Sirena is the only true Latin American-inspired restaurant, with many dishes having roots in the food culture of South America, while taking on a new life with modern and inventive preparations. Secondly, the caliber of their fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients is unmatched. “We do everything we can to feature only locally or regionally-caught seafood and in-season produce,” Chavez says. “We even grow some of the produce ourselves. The menu is creative and complex, while still allowing simple ingredients to shine through.”

Sirena utilizes a unique combination of ingredients for a distinct flavor and appearance. For example, their purple cauliflower is delicately pickled and prepared with oysters and a a fresh coconut-ginger sauce is paired with braised scallops. Additionally, even though Sirena is a seafood restaurant, they also cater to vegetarian and vegan diners. Chavez explains that several members of his kitchen team are not-meat eaters, so much time has been devoted to developing techniques to replicate some of their favorite dishes into vegan-approved options, including cauliflower that tastes like ceviche or mushrooms that imitate raw oysters. “Food can be very creative, which is our inspiration in the Sirena kitchen.”

Latin Cuisine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

A majority of the ingredients on the menu at Sirena are not only fresh, but sustainable. Born in Puerto Montt, one of the main cities in the south of Chile, Chavez liked to go to his grandfather’s house in a little fishermen’s city called Maullín, where they had a farm. At a very young age, he learned about fish and seafood. “I was able to open clams before reading,” he says. Chavez also says his first approach with cooking was during the holiday season. “It is common in my family to slow roast a half lamb with a chimichurri lacquer. So, while it was very annoying for adults to rotate the lamb for four hours, it was a very attractive job for a little kid.”

Latin Cuisine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

In the south of Chile, Chavez explains that there was a significant German influence, thus his family developed German pastry traditions. “I think cooking and baking is in my blood,” he says. “To be honest, while growing up, I never thought I wanted to cook for a living, but at some point what was in my blood was stronger than my own wishes.”

Chavez attended Inacap, in Santiago de Chile, the oldest culinary school in Chile. He started in 2004, studying in the daytime, and working in different places at night. From fast food to taco shops, Asian eateries to sushi restaurants, he’s worked all of them, gaining invaluable skills, techniques and experience.

Latin Cuisine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

In October 2006, Chavez moved for an internship to Peralada a little village in Alt Empurdá Barcelona in a little boutique hotel. He learned there the importance of respecting the ingredients. During his internship, he spent a couple of weeks at El Cingle, a Michelin star restaurant. It was there he received his training in contemporary Catalan cuisine with Montse Estruch; a revolutionary in the field.

Eventually, Chavez headed back to Chile to finish school. Looking for new experiences he moved to a restaurant called Emilio, the best Peruvian fine dining restaurant in Santiago. He started there as line cook and in less than three months, he was promoted to sous chef. He stayed there for a couple of months, until he received an offer to open a Peruvian restaurant in his home city. “It was a beautiful and hard experience, but it was there that I realized that I really loved this life,” he says.

Latin Cuisine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

One day, Chavez was in his office and received a call offering him a pastry position at El Cingle, the Michelin star restaurant he had trained at. It was an opportunity he could not turn down, pastry or not. When he arrived at the restaurant, he was informed that there was actually no chef de cuisine at the restaurant, so he jumped from pastry to chef de cuisine in a couple of minutes!

Chavez explains that managing a Michelin star-awarded restaurant was very different than managing other any of the other restaurants he had worked for at that time. At El Cingle, there was no space for mistakes and the place was very demanding. We worked eighteen hours a day, almost every day. “There are so many details to take care of, that you can’t even imagine,” he says. “I had so much to read about, invested several hours in research, practiced my plating skills, and developed a creative process for making new dishes. That place made me who I am now.”

Eventually, Chavez left Spain to follow his my wife to Tijuana, Mexico. There he was an instructor at a cooking school, teaching students how to experience food and cooking. From Tijuana, Chavez and his wife came to San Diego, where they have worked in several hotels and restaurants in the city, finally bringing him me to Sirena as the new Executive Chef. “Now, I wish to provide a way for anyone to enjoy and experience those possibilities through my culinary creations,” he says.

Latin Cuisine
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

The menu at Sirena is inspired by Chavez’s background and by the food culture of South America. Many of the dishes are inspired by things his mother would make, but with a special spin. “I love simple, clean flavors with a complex preparation,” he says. “But, there are also other menu items that play up the quality of seafood we are able to get here in San Diego. Nekkei, our take on a “sushi-style” dish, spotlights how fresh and flavorful our seafood is, even when served raw.”

One of Chavez’s favorite dishes on the menu is the Peruvian Ceviche where the flavors are very fresh and clean with a hint of spice. The fresh oysters are also a favorite, offering a unique presentation, served with pickled vegetables and toasted squid-inked black bread. As a main dish, the braised scallops set atop a fresh coconut-ginger sauce, mirasol chili oil and a cauliflower puree is absolute perfection. “I love every dish we have on the menu,” says Chavez. “When I started, I was convinced about the flavors but I had to test the textures. I especially love the scallops because it’s a simple dish and the flavors are amazing. There are so many textures, that every bite is a difference experience.”

*Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood on Urbanspoon

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Fig Tree Café February Specials

Fig Tree Cafe
French Toast and Cinna Bunz

Take your taste buds on a date! Pacific Beach’s Fig Tree Café is rolling out February specials that will make you fall in love at first bite.  Starting February 1st, Fig Tree will be rolling out specials that are sure to bring out your sweet side. Make it a morning full of indulgences with their Red Velvet French Toast filled with cream cheese and topped with chocolate sauce, or their White Chocolate Raspberry French Toast filled with fresh raspberries and white chocolate sauce.

Sweet Heart Float
Sweet Heart Float

Looking for a savory and robust breakfast dish? You won’t be able to take your eyes off of Fig tree’s Surf & Turf Bennie. Crafted with top sirloin, lobster and poached eggs, topped with roasted red pepper and hollandaise sauce, and served over your choice of our house-baked focaccia bread or English muffin, this dish combines heavenly proteins from both land and sea.

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New Cucina Sorella In Kensington

CELEBRATED SAN DIEGO RESTAURATEUR, TRACY BORKUM ANNOUNCES PLANS TO OPEN CUCINA SORELLA IN KENSINGTON NEIGHBORHOOD

cucina sorellaNew Eatery Brings a Re-Conceptualized CUCINA Concept to Urban Kitchen Group’s Longstanding Kensington Location, Opening Spring 2016

A leader in San Diego’s culinary transformation for over two decades, celebrated restaurateur Tracy Borkum is excited to unveil cucina SORELLA—the newest addition to the CUCINA collection of restaurants, located in the heart of the city’s beloved Kensington neighborhood. Set to open in spring 2016, cucina SORELLA will offer a new spin on the signature CUCINA concept, aiming to become a delicious gathering place for the Kensington community and San Diego diners as a whole.

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Dining Solo Can Be Fun

Did you know that about half of all dining out happens alone?

The Taco StandSolo feasting is becoming a trendy epidemic, and there are a few San Diego restaurants that offer the best “party of one” experience. Next time your stomach is grumbling, opt for some “Me, Myself and I” time and visit these fast-casual eateries that will have you asking for a table for one more often!

Treat yourself to a trip to Italy without having to buy a plane ticket! Little Italy’s Pan Bon is the result of owner Giancarlo Anselmi’s clear vision to incorporate over three decades of experience producing Italian breads and pastries with a unique dining atmosphere. When you first arrive, you’ll be greeted by a long display case to your left, showing off countless rows of colorfully irresistible pastries and hot and cold Italian specialties. Order at the counter, and take a seat at a table made just for you. If you prefer, you can also choose from their extensive menu and be waited on by the friendly staff.

Pan BonAfter a relaxing day out on the water, the best way to refuel is to visit The Fish Shop. Stop by the Pacific Beach or Encinitas location, and choose from a boatload of fresh fish selections. Their fast-casual concept makes it easy to grab a quick meal that is customized to your taste preferences. Or, stay awhile, put your feet-up and be warmed by the open fire-pit while enjoying your protein from the sea.

From its quick-service, lunch concept to its vibrant ambiance, Barrio Star is the ultimate eatery for any solo-diner looking for an adventure. Enjoy dishes such as the Barrio or Brazil Bowl while people watching on their front patio. You can also take a seat at their open garage-door window and soak in the sun while you meet new friends.

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Dine One Door North

ONE DOOR NORTH UNVEILS DESIGN DETAILS IN ANTICIPATION OF MARCH/APRIL 2016 OPENING

One Door North

New North Park Eatery & Bar Interior Inspired by the Great Outdoors

One Door North, the causal North Park restaurant and bar by husband and wife duo Executive Chef Fred & Tammy Piehl of Piehl Restaurant Group, releases exciting new developments in the design and inspiration of their highly anticipated neighborhood eatery.

Perched near the corner of 30th Street & Upas, One Door North’s unique design esthetic comes together through the collaboration of various San Diego-based consultants including hospitality architecture and design group obr, marketing specialist Dana Williams, and boutique design studio Murfey Design. Upon completion in March/April 2016, the 5,000 sq. ft. restaurant will offer a more laid-back vibe in relation to the Piehl’s neighboring sister restaurant, The Smoking Goat. The inspiration behind the design playfully pays tribute to the great outdoors while complementing Chef Fred’s enthusiasm for culinary discovery and exploration.

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Super Bowl Party At Striders

Make Striders Luxury Sports Lounge Your Game Plan for Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl Party At Striders

Fans Are Invited To Watch The Big Game on 170 TV’s For the Ultimate NFL Experience

Change up your game plan and join Striders San Diego for its first annual Super Bowl Party, kicking off on February 7th at 12 p.m. Strider’s is a powerhouse of entertainment with 170 TV’s – more than any other bar in San Diego – giving every guest a MVP seat for the most widely watched sporting event of the year.

To add to the ultimate NFL experience, Striders will be hosting a free raffle where all party goers can enter to score big prizes including the grand prize of a $1,000 bar tab, a $100 gift card and a $50 gift card. Three lucky fans will be chosen at the end of the game.

Enjoy game day specials including signature pizzas, stadium dogs, burgers and wings for only $6 – $10, and quench your thirst with $4 drafts, $5 shots, and $15 pitchers.

Super Bowl Party At Striders

Striders is a 8,200 square foot multi-level luxury sports lounge boasting a signature horseshoe cocktail bar, casual dining room, an open kitchen with chef’s tables and two outdoor patios. Guests can relax and dine in premium booth seating while watching the big game or soak in the spectacular views of Downtown San Diego on one of its two panoramic balconies.

About Striders

Striders, the first-of-its-kind luxury sports lounge in San Diego, offers Las Vegas style in the heart of downtown and features casual dining, craft beer and cocktails plus more than 150 HD TVs. The signature Turf Clublounge is the only place in the city centre where guests can wager on horse racing from racetracks around the world. Striders is located at 100 Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA, 92101 (at the Harbor Club Towers across the street from the San Diego Convention Center on the corner of 2nd Avenue & J Street) and is open daily from 10 a.m. to close for lunch, dinner and gaming action. For more information and reservations, call 619.393.7166 or visit www.striders.com. Engage with Striders on Facebook and Instagram.

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Karina’s Grand Opening In Otay Ranch

Karina's Grand Opening In Otay RanchKarina’s Group Celebrates Grand Opening of Otay Ranch Karina’s Mexican Seafood with “Fiesta Fabulosa”

On Wednesday, February 3rd, San Diego’s homegrown hospitality firm Karina’s Group will celebrate the grand opening of its newest and largest restaurant yet with Fiesta Fabulosa. Community leaders, notables and the media will gather at the group’s beautiful new 10,000 square-foot Karina’s Mexican Seafood located in Otay Ranch Town Center (2015 Birch Rd, Chula Vista, CA, 619-591-4444) for a VIP reception. The event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30.pm and features hosted food and drinks, live entertainment and plenty of fiesta-style fun. The celebration will highlight the best of the best that Karina’s Mexican Seafood offers, including a bountiful ceviche bar boasting many of Karina’s famous versions of this much-loved dish, plus numerous tastes from their authentic menu of Mexican seafood specialties and traditional favorites. There will be margaritas, of course, as well as other festive cocktails and refreshments.

At 8:30 p.m. the party opens to the public and will continue to offer complimentary tastes of food and beverages. Guests can also indulge in Karina’s full menu on a no-host basis.

WHO: Karina’s Group invites media and other invited guests to attend its Fiesta Fabulosa VIP Grand Opening Reception at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

WHAT: Fiesta Fabulosa will celebrate the Grand Opening of Karina’s Group’s newest Karina’s Mexican Seafood location with an invitation-only VIP Reception for community leaders, notables and the media from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. followed by a public celebration from 8:30 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. At the VIP reception, Karina’s will serve a hosted assortment of its celebrated ceviches, margaritas and other tastes from the menu. All the while, guests will enjoy décor inspired by Mexico’s rich culture and lively entertainment including mariachi, acclaimed acoustic guitar duo Cantua, and DJ spins. After 8:30 P.M., the public is welcome to join in the festivities with a complimentary sampling of tastes and sips, DJ entertainment and no-host full menu and bar selections.

WHEN: Fiesta Fabulosa VIP Grand Opening Reception will be held Wednesday, February 3, 2016 from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. After 8:30, the party opens to the public on a primarily no-host basis.

WHERE: Karina’s Mexican Seafood, 2015 Birch Road, Suite 710, located in Otay Ranch Town Center, Chula Vista, CA 91915

RSVP: By February 1 to 619-572-8564 or Click Here to RSVP Now

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New Kitchen Team at Town and Country

New Culinary Team Includes Executive Sous Chef Mark Pawlowski, Pastry Chef Jack Fisher and Chef de Cuisine Matt Hobbs

Newly appointed director of food, beverage and culinary operations, Paul McCabe has hand selected three seasoned culinary professionals to work with him at Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, A Destination Hotel, as it embarks on a massive $80 million renovation project.

McCabe was tapped by Destination Hotels’ vice president and managing director Michael Slosser, who worked with him on the highly successful launch of critically acclaimed KITCHEN 1540 restaurant as part of the rejuvenation of Southern California’s L’Auberge Del Mar, A Destination Hotel.

Town and Country Resort
Chef Paul McCabe

McCabe is drawing on more than 30 years of culinary experience working with Californian, Mediterranean, Southwestern and Pacific Rim cuisines to reconcept the entire food and beverage operation at Town and Country Resort. He will be developing all concepts and menus and recruiting top culinary talent for new dining and drinking concepts – an all-day restaurant and expansive lobby bar that will also serve food will be housed in one building; and there will be a stand-alone restaurant near the pool complete with a pool bar. In addition, he and his new culinary team are revamping and refining the current Town and Country Resort & Convention Center food venues, including Terrace Café, The Market and Charlie’s, Sports-Beer-BBQ. Most recently, they reconceived Charlie’s into a modern sports bar offering slow-smoke BBQ and local award-winning micro brews.

Prior to this position, McCabe was the executive chef at Phoenix’s Four Diamond Royal Palms Resort and Spa, A Destination Hotel, where he relaunched the signature restaurant T. Cooks and won over guests with his clean, simple style. In addition to his time as executive chef at KITCHEN 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar, he was at the helm of Rancho Santa Fe’s Delicias restaurant before being recruited to take over culinary operations at the famed La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. Long known for his culinary creativity and innovation, McCabe has helped reinvent such San Diego foodie icons as Top O’ the Cove and Anthony’s Star of the Sea. He spent six years at the award-winning Enchantment Resort in Sedona, where he worked his way up to executive chef and played an integral part in the renovation of Five-Star L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills where he was the executive chef. Continue reading

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Exotic Sushi Style at Cafe Japengo

Exotic Sushi Style at Cafe Japengo
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Consistently ranked among the best Japanese restaurants in San Diego for its Asian style seafood, Cafe Japengo allows guests to venture into exotic culinary territory while surrounded by warm woods, Asian–style furnishings and subdued lighting. “While some of our sushi and hot food have changed and progressed throughout the years, we have stayed true to serving the highest quality of product presented with simplistic artistry,” says Executive Chef Jerry Warner.

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BEAMING Juice Bar

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San Diegans have come to know BEAMING for its cult-favorite signature cleanse – more than 500 “beamers” have participated to date. The soon-to-open bBar will be unlike anything San Diego’s seen before, going beyond cleansing to offer busy San Diegans a simple, straightforward avenue to a healthier lifestyle.

(Courtesy image)

BEAMING founder Lisa Odenweller has combined her background in business (she is a former high-level executive at software giant Oracle) and her expert knowledge of health and wellness (she’s been schooled by the best in the industry including holistic health authority Adina Niemerow, renowned celebrity raw foods chef Matthew Kenney and wellness activist and New York Times bestseller, Kris Carr) to revolutionize the juice bar concept.

The bBar is opening its doors just in time to help combat holiday over-indulgence with a family-friendly menu of juices, smoothies and raw take-away foods that are as good for you as they are delicious.

San Diego’s bbar location will be the brand’s flagship retail store and the first of many planned national “detox depots.”

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Hip Italian Food at Pan Bon

Pan Bon
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Pan Bon has made its grand entrance on the quaint streets of San Diego’s Little Italy with a décor that was studied to pair the modern trend of décor of all restaurants in San Diego with the traditional yet hip Italian food prepared by Executive Chef Riccardo Brentegani. 

Pan Bon
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Pan Bon’s euro-contemporary setting boasts high ceilings, an open floor plan and an elegant, yet simple design that welcomes visitors to enjoy a meal or a variety of grab-and-go options. Upstairs, a scenic mezzanine is available to host guests for private parties and intimate dining experiences. The demonstration kitchen is the true focal point in the restaurant, allowing diners to watch the chef bring his culinary masterpieces to life.

Pan Bon
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Chef Riccardo Brentegani received his 5 year Diploma in Culinary Arts from Culinary School of Chefs “Carnaccina” in Valeggio, Verona, Italy. “Everything I learned was from my mentor, Chef Marcantonio Sagramoso, as well as from one of my best friends, “ Alberto Marchiorri of Cavour Restaurant. he says. “I also spent two years in Paris at La Closerie des Lilas restaurant as a Chef de Partie (meat and sauces main chef), and Saint James & Co. at Albany as Comie de Cuisine (main line cook), learning the basics of the French cuisine.”

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Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

At Pan Bon, Brentegani differentiates himself from other Italian Chefs by bringing a more traditional Italian cuisine and recipes from his grandmothers ‘book’.  He strives to use only seasonal products and high quality local ingredients while meeting with vendors to meticulously choose the freshest organic produce. 

Pan Bon
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Brentegani also frequents local farmers markets and purchases fresh meat at local farms, as well fish from local fishermen. “I always try to cook plates that identify with my taste, origins and the Italian flavors in general. I change the menu every couple of months, yet it’s important to also leave an imprint of what I do best,” he says. “I offer specials every now and then to have fun, and to see the response I get from my customers. This helps me decide whether a dish can make it to the regular menu.”

Pan Bon
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Pan Bon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Special Ahi Poke Dishes

These six restaurants are making some of the best tuna poke dishes that America’s Finest City has to offer.

Special Ahi Poke Dishes
Barleymash Tuna Poke

Do the Ahi Poke at Common Theory Public House every day of the week! Fresh tuna is cut into perfect cubes and loaded with cucumber, onion, sprouts and ginger oyster soy sauce. The Kearny Mesa spot serves the dish with taro chips so that you can dig and dip right in!

Romesco in Bonita is giving ahi tuna a Mexican-meets-Mediterranean twist! The eatery creates dishes from authentic Mexican recipes, utilizing Mediterranean techniques—and their Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada is no exception! It is crafted with tuna, guacamole, fresh cream, mixed tender greens and mild habanero salsa. This tostada evokes tuna greatness and tastes even better when paired with a cerveza.

Romesco Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada
Romesco Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada

If you’re a poke fanatic, The Duck Dive in Pacific Beach is the place to be. Start with their Poke Tacos, fresh caught ahi tuna marinated in olive oil, soy and ginger and loaded inside a wonton taco shell. The tacos are served with bean sprouts, wasabi aioli and sesame seeds. Another mouthwatering option is the Ahi Poke, yellowfin tuna with olive, jalapeno, avocado, chili sauce and crispy wonton chips.

Stop by Pacific Beach Shore Club for a beachside taste of the Ahi Poke Stack. It’s hard to compete with what this spot is serving up – a mouthwatering sea-inspired dish and picturesque views of the Pacific. Kick off your meal with the plate, crafted with cucumber, avocado, seaweed salad, wasabi mayo and tortilla strips.

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Heat Bar and Kitchen

Heat Bar and Kitchen is a warm and inviting neighborhood restaurant which incorporates all natural, fresh and organic products into one of a kind ‘made from scratch’ dishes.

Heat Bar and Kitchen
Salmon Crudo (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Create a memorable dining experience with friends and family in a relaxed yet sophisticated ambiance infused with warmth and elegance.

Kale Caesar (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Kale Caesar Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Using the freshest, seasonal and local products to invent new dishes, Executive Chef Pascal Courtin says healthy meals made without butter and cream are best. He prides himself on creating old-fashioned sauces with a new twist.

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Bellamy’s Offers New Winter Menu

Bellamy’s is serving up new dishes with seasonally-inspired ingredients and flavors from their winter menus. Drawing on fresh ingredients, Bellamy’s provides a farm-to-table dining experience that fuses the tastes of California cuisine with French influences.

Bellamy's Offers New Winter MenuLed by Chef Patrick’s vision, the Escondido spot will provide a culinary journey to remember with the seasonal flavors of its recently launched winter menus. With numerous “Top 10” and “Best of” awards and the honorable title of Master French Chef, Chef Patrick has made a name for himself in the dining scene.

Upon arriving at the French-inspired gem, begin lunch or dinner with the Classic Vidalia Onion Soup, complete with toasted country bread and gruyere cheese. This tradition française is sure to warm and please your palate. Another mouthwatering dish to begin lunch with is the Baby Beets & Baked Goat Cheese, with A.O.C Crottin de Champcol, watercress and pistachio. These seemingly simple starters brim with deep flavors and artful culinary touches that will have you anxiously awaiting your next course.

Bellamy’s lunch menu will continue to include favorites such as the Parisian Ham & Cheese Crêpes and the Croque Patrick. The lunch menu has also been beefed up with items including the Grilled Steak Melt, a classic that has been transformed into an upscale sandwich with wild mushrooms, horseradish and emmental. The updated bar and lunch menus also feature Wild Boar Poutine Fries, complemented with juniper berry, red wine sauce and parmesan. The plate provides a reimagined take on a traditional favorite.

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Sexy And Manly Bracero

Bracero
Carrot Aguachile (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Featuring the new cuisine of Mexico, with both small and large plates, the menu at the new  Bracero Cocina de Raiz in Little Italy will be changing quite frequently depending on the seasons and what is available in the fields and farms. The modern Mexican décor is very close to executive chef Javier Plascencia’s style. “The ambiance feels sexy and manly.” he says.

With the entire menu made from California products, Plascencia likes to be as sustainable as possible, making cheese from TAJ Farm’s goats, and purchasing ingredients from El Campito Farm, Suzie’s Farm, Catalina Offshore Products and the local farmer’s market. The tortillas are from maiz from Michoacán, Mexico.

San Diego Food Finds Bracero
VERDE ES VIDA SALAD (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

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