Christmas in Rancho Santa Fe

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Presents an Olde Fashioned Christmas and Traditional Holiday Fun for the Entire Family

christmas in rancho santa fe

Christmas in Rancho Santa Fe

Outdoor Ice Skating, 25 Foot Christmas Tree, Christmas Carolers, Marshmallow Roasting, Soup Competition and Photos with Santa

When: Friday, December 5, from 5:00 – 8:00pm

What: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe comes alive with holiday cheer and good tidings including an array of festive activities for the whole family including, for the first time ever, an outdoor ice skating rink in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe.

Highlights include:

Christmas Tree

A 25-foot lit Christmas tree will hover above the evening festivities and serve as the perfect backdrop to an enchanting holiday celebration.

  • Official tree lighting ceremony to begin at 6:00pm.

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Big Bad Burgers at Slater’s 50/50

slater's 50/50

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Slater’s 50/50 is the biggest and baddest bite of bacon across the Southland. Named for Scott Slater’s signature half-beef, half-bacon burger patty, Slater’s 50/50 is known across the country for offering completely bonkers burgers, big selections of craft brews, and dedication to good-times all around in Southern California. With locations in Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, and San Diego, Slater’s 50/50 recently opened in Pasadena in December of 2012. They will be launching their 5th location in Lake Forest in February 2013.

ABOUT THE MENU: The signature 50/50 patty, 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon, is the inspiration and star of Slater’s 50/50. Signature items start off with the namesake 50/50 signature patty topped with a sunny side up egg, avocado mash, pepper jack cheese and chipotle adobo mayo on white brioche; the Peanut Butter and Jellousy burger with thick-cut bacon, creamy peanut butter and strawberry jelly; and of course the B’ B’ B’ Bacon Burger, a 50/50 patty with bacon American cheese, sunny side up egg, thick cut bacon and bacon island dressing on a bacon pretzel bun. The Design it! Menu gives guests the ability to design their own gourmet hamburger with seven meat options, four breads, 12 cheeses, 30+ toppings and 20 sauces. For those less burger minded, the Fried Chicken and Pancakes with house-made-bacon-infused-country-gravy, two strips of thick cut bacon and a fried egg smothered in real maple syrup is a real treat, among numerous salads, appetizers and desserts. Don’t forget to finish off with 50/50’s Famous BACON Brownie.

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Jake’s Del Mar Chef Wins Crown


Jake's Del Mar

Photo by Denise Jones

Jake’s Del Mar

Duvinh Ta’s Dry Rubbed Pork Ribs with Sambal BBQ Sauce, Watermelon Radish, and Zucchini Slaw Wins Grand Prize at 2014 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

In conjunction with the American Culinary Federation, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food FestivalTM is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Chef of the Fest Competition. The annual competition brings San Diego chefs head-to-head in a fierce culinary competition judged by the San Diego Chapter of the American Culinary Federation along with celebrity guest judges. This year’s “Chef of the Fest” title went to Chef Duvinh Ta of Jake’s Del Mar for his dish, “Dry Rubbed Pork Ribs, with Sambal BBQ Sauce, Watermelon Radish and Zucchini Slaw.” This year’s “Chef of the Fest” winners were announced at the Big Green Egg Grill Zone Demonstration Stage during the Grand Tasting Event on November 22-the perfect conclusion to the weeklong food and wine festival, said San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival co-producer, Michelle Metter.

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San Diego Downtown News

sandiegofoodfinds.comNotable San Diego Journalist Frank Sabatini, Jr. writes about my new book in the San Diego Downtown News!

For the Love of Pasta

The time was riper than a mid-summer tomato to chronicle the recent explosion of Italian restaurants in San Diego and to frame the history of the long-established ones that still thrive. 

Locally based author and food blogger Maria Desiderata Montana has done exactly that (and more) in her latest book, “San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond,” published by The History Press.

As a first-generation Italian who was born and raised in Spokane, WA, she approached the eight-month project armed with a family background steeped in enviable culinary traditions.

Weekends meant rolling out batches of ravioli with her mother, whom she refers to as “the quintessential Italian wife,” while summers signaled the arrival of fresh vegetables that her father cultivated in their large backyard. She goes on to describe snacking on home-cured meats that were hang drying from the rafters of her uncle’s basement.

Her passion for cooking, she recalls, began at 7 years old when helping her mother prepare Christmas Eve dinner at the crack of dawn — hence a collection of favorite recipes from her own kitchen that are included in the book.

Read more of this story by Frank Sabatini, Jr. in the San Diego Downtown News and Gay San Diego.

San Diego Downtown News

About Frank Sabatini, Jr.

Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of Secret San Diego (ECW Press); worked at the former San Diego Tribune; and has since covered the culinary scene extensively for NBC, Pacific San Diego Magazine, San Diego Uptown News, San Diego Downtown News, Gay San Diego, Living in Style Magazine and The Gay & Lesbian Times.

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Family Dining at Casa Sol y Mar

family dining

photo by maria desiderata montana

Well-known restaurateur and Casa Sol y Mar owner Diane Powers wanted to capture the spirit of the Mexican culture in all facets, including food and authentic flavors with a contemporary twist. From the painted walls and hand-woven Oaxacan fabrics, to the art and accessories on the wall made by contemporary Mexican craftsmen, she also wanted to have the interior depict the color and artistry of Mexico.

Family Dining at Casa Sol y Mar

The entire family can enjoy the healthy menu selections at Casa Sol y Mar. Nearly everything on the menu is fresh and made from scratch, including the salsas and tortillas. “We have many vegetarian and gluten-free selections, as well as a new healthy creations menu,” says Powers. “We’re constantly working on healthy items with tons of flavors, made with ingredients found in Mexico.” In addition to their deliciously appealing entrée salads and vegetarian selections, they’ve recently introduced a new healthy creations menu, which has six new and flavorful entrees, all under 650 calories, including several gluten-free options. Casa Sol y Mar has contemporary and upscale environment, boasting a beautiful patio and outdoor dining. “We want people to feel like they’ve taken a trip to Mexico when they come here,” Powers says. “We’ve done our best to make the restaurant appealing to everyone!” ( Family Dining

family dining

photo by maria desiderata montana

Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Take a Bite San Diego

Bite San Diego

photos by Maria Desiderata Montana


If you love food…

If You’re In America’s Finest City….

Then you’ve come to the right place. Bite San Diego is San Diego’s premier food tasting and cultural walking tour company that offers you up-close and intimate tastes of San Diego’s finest and legendary restaurants. Bite San Diego

Bite San Diego offers big, bold, bite-filled tours, taking you inside the restaurants that have impacted and made San Diego’s culinary scene what it is and where it’s going. Experienced tour guides introduce you to the tastes making San Diego’s food scene one of the hottest in the country. Guests are lead on an exploration of the history, roots, and reasons San Diego is becoming a food fantasy mecca for locals and visitors the world over.

For more information on Bite San Diego reservations, dates or prices, visit or call 619-634-8476.

*Courtesy information

Holiday Fiesta at Bloomingdales


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On Saturday, December 6th from 1pm to 3pm, Bloomingdale’s Fashion Valley and Karina’s Group will present Feliz Navidad, a special holiday fiesta on the third floor. The public is invited to sample the flavors of the Karina’s Group’s family of restaurants, while reveling in live Latin-inspired musical entertainment, festive décor, giveaways, stylish trunk shows and store wide savings. Complimentary tasting stations will welcome guests, each offering dishes that highlight the menus at the Karina’s Group’s diverse collection of dining establishments including La Tequila, Savoie French-Italian Eatery, Enamorada and Karina’s Mexican Seafood.

Savor holiday tamales from the chefs at La Tequila, delectable braised short ribs with mashed potatoes from Savoie French-Italian Eatery, signature ceviches from Karina’s Mexican Seafood, and marlin tacos from Enamorada, to name a few.

Drink pairings will also be available, including a traditional holiday punch, Ponche Navideño, as well as Champurrado — a warm masa-based Mexican beverage served during the holidays, prepared with chocolate, panela, milk and spices.

This fun, family oriented event is free to the public and open to all ages

“The holidays are a joyous time for our family,” says Karina’s Group partner David Curiel, “where we gather together to share in delicious food, music and laughs. Now, we are bringing this incredible energy to the people of San Diego in partnership with one of the most recognized holiday-focused stores in the country. We can’t wait to share our traditional seasonal dishes and festivities with holiday shoppers.”

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Where to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo by Tim King

Thanksgiving is almost here and if laboring in the kitchen all day doesn’t sound like your ideal holiday, leave it to the professionals to prepare a festive and delicious Thanksgiving dinner meal. From special buffets to easy catering options, we’ve included the top restaurants in San Diego to celebrate the holiday!

Rancho Bernardo Inn: Tucked away on a lush 18-hole golf course, Rancho Bernardo Inn is tranquil oasis offering multiple options for Thanksgiving this year. For the true foodies, the on-property restaurant, AVANT is offering an elevated 3-course Thanksgiving menu from 2 – 7 p.m. With sophisticated offerings by Chef Tomas Baistrocchi, AVANT is the perfect choice for food-lovers who want a break from the kitchen. For fun with the whole family, the Aragon Ballroom will serve Thanksgiving classics with a special holiday buffet from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The entire family will be entertained, as the event is featuring live music on the terrace and a petting zoo & pony rides on the lawn. For Thanksgiving sweets to-go, patrons can delight in delicious mini-pies by Chef Margaret Nolan, the well-known pasty expert.

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Wondrous La Jolla Salt Company

The La Jolla Salt Company renders beautiful flake sea salt from the purified waters off the coast of La Jolla California.

La Jolla Salt Company

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La Jolla Salt Company

The La Jolla Salt Company was officially founded in Early 2014 but the foundation for the company started many years prior.

It was while serving in the United States Coast Guard as a Food Service Specialist that La Jolla Salt Company owner and  proprietor Chris Polley was first introduced to the process of desalination. “Many of the ships in the Coast Guards fleet use the process of desalination to turn salt water into fresh potable water,” he says. “The byproduct of this process is Sea Salt!”

After leaving the U.S. Coast Guard, Polley returned to working as a chef in a few local San Diego restaurants. “This was right about the time when the farm to table movement began and Americans really started making more conscience food choices,” explains Polley. “The word organic was being thrown around a lot and honestly, in the beginning I really didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I landed a spot working under local chef and restaurateur Matt Gordon that this word, and the entire culture surrounding, it really started to make sense.”

Polley says that chef Gordon is strict when it comes to selecting ingredients, with never a single item brought into any of his three restaurants containing any unnatural ingredients. “This philosophy forced us to make many everyday dining staples on our own using only raw natural ingredients,” he explained. “When I saw that the menu included some items with sea salt, I decided to revisit the idea of rendering our own in house using local waters.”

When it came to sourcing water for the sea salt, the first place that came to mind was La Jolla. Known for its beautiful shoreline and strict ecological reserve limitations, Polley felt La Jolla was the perfect location to source clean mineral-rich ocean water.

With less than 10 inches of rain a year, and mostly sunny conditions year round, La Jolla turns out to be one of the best locations to render sea water into sea salt in the country.I started off a little smaller than I am doing today. In the beginning I was going down to the Scripps Pier about once a week and collecting 30 gallons at a time in small five gallon buckets. I wasn’t always lucky enough to make it back to the restaurant with all 30 gallons. I remember one time having to pull off to the side of highway 52 because about 10 gallons of ocean water fell over in the back of my SUV and I noticed it leaking onto the street out of the back window,” Polley explains. “When I did manage to make it back with all of the water and began rendering it down, everyone was intrigued. We were now making one of the most fundamental ingredients available in the culinary world. We began making salt on a weekly basis and each time it came out just a little bit better.”

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Thanksgiving Meals To Go

This year, both Waters Fine Foods & Catering and Whisknladle Hospitality are doing the prep for your Thanksgiving Meals To Go, giving you more time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen!

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Get Napizza in Little Italy

NPZ LOGO_2014Perched on the corner of Date and India Streets, Napizza is not only one of the newest establishments in Little Italy, but it also has a new concept that is gaining attention. Green-certified and committed to utilizing locally sourced, organic ingredients with no preservatives or chemicals, this is not your typical pizza joint. But that new philosophy is underscored by one of the oldest traditions in pizza-making techniques. Pizza al taglio is the centuries-old art of utilizing special flour, yeast and water and allowing for a slow rise, creating a product with no equal. The large, square-cut pieces are familiar to anyone who’s sampled street food from Italy’s larger cities. Produce is sourced daily from local and organic farmers, whether you enjoy it on a pizza or sample it from the organic salad bar. Read more about Napizza in my new book: San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond.


click on the images to buy my books on AMAZON

Napizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mexican Fare at Puesto

Puesto La Jolla

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Located in downtown La Jolla, this upscale fast-casual eatery features a walk-up counter where you can dine in or get your food to go. The menu offers a variety of authentic Mexican food ingredients including all-natural meats, sustainable seafood, local and seasonally organic vegetables, homemade all-natural stone-ground corn tortillas, and 6 homemade signature salsas made from scratch daily. Customize your guisados (grilled foods), which can be mixed and matched and are served as tacos that are layered with crispy hot cheese. Diners can choose from a variety of toppings such as fish, shrimp, chicken, carne asada, and gourmet Mexican vegetarian items like zucchini flower, corn truffle, and soy chorizo potatoes. For a healthy dessert or refreshing side, Puesto serves a Mexican street cup of sliced jicama, cucumber, carrots, mango, and dried mango sticks with lime, chili, and sea salt. Puesto Mexican Street Food, 1026 Wall St., La Jolla, CA 92037; (858) 455-1260;; Mexican; $$.

©Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego by Maria Desiderata Montana

Puesto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thanksgiving Menu at A.R. Valentien

Thanksgiving menu

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The Lodge at Torrey Pines is home to A.R. Valentien, one of San Diego’s most notable and refined restaurants. You will certainly feel transported whiling away the hours in a charming dining room with a beautiful view of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean just off the bluffs in the distance. Acclaimed Chef Jeff Jackson will be preparing a seasonal Thanksgiving menu for this year’s celebration.

Thanksgiving Menu

Thursday November 27th, 2014

Adults: $95 – $45 (Children under 12)

First Course

  • Fall Salad
    Shaved Beets, Red Grapes, Pomegranate, Pink Lady Apple
    Watercress, Frisée, Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Parsnip and Potato Soup
    Crispy Five Spice Brussels Sprouts
  • Chicken Liver Pâté with Whole Grain and Dijon Mustards, Pickled Cauliflower
  • Apple Wood Smoked Ruby Trout
    Arugula, Radish, Creamy Salsa Verde, Crispy Sunchokes
  • Hand Rolled Canestri Pasta with Braised Short Rib
    Carrot, Sweet Onion, Garlic, Parmesan, Gremolata

Second Course

  • Roasted Turkey with Traditional “Fixins”
    Cornbread Pecan Stuffing, Cranberry Orange Relish and Giblet Gravy
  • Oak Roasted Beef Tenderloin
    Horseradish Dauphinoise, Young Broccoli with Laurel, Bordelaise
  • Liberty Duck Breast and Confit Leg
    Warm Salad of Fuyu Persimmon, Tangerine and Autumn Greens
    Red Walnuts, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Duck Jus
  • Seared Sea Scallops
    Wilted Bloomsdale Spinach, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Shallots, Crispy Pork Belly
  • Crispy Skin Salmon
    Farro Verde with Braised Savoy Cabbage, Preserved Orange, Pine Nut


  • Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Pear Steamed Pudding with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Pecan Florentine
  • Chocolate Pot de Crème with Chocolate Meringue
  • Passion Fruit Cake, White Chocolate Mousse, Tropical Gelée, Sesame and Black Pepper Tuile

Menu is subject to change due to product availability

A Taste of Elusive Bourbon Whiskey

Bourbon Whiskey

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Pappy’s Coming to Dinner

The legendary Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery (Lexington, KY) is internationally famed for producing some of the most sought after bourbons in existence. While most bars that receive a special allocation choose to stash their supply, the cocktail industry heavyweights behind Craft & Commerce have chosen instead to celebrate theirs with friends. To honor the highly anticipated arrival of Pappy’s 2014 release, Little Italy’s most celebrated cocktail haven will host an intimate Pappy pairing experience, aptly titled “Pappy’s coming to Dinner.”

High in demand, hard to find and coveted by aficionados everywhere, Pappy Van Winkle is one of the hottest bourbons in America. Thanks to a tightly controlled state-by-state allocation (a small international share also makes its way to London) Pappy’s image has quickly risen from ‘old guy’ whisky, to bona fide celebrity stalker status. With two of the distillery’s six expressions that fall under the “Family Reserve banner” set to feature at Craft & Commerce’s exclusive event, this is one dinner with Pappy you won’t want to miss!

Elusive Bourbon Whiskey

A three-course collaboration menu will feature an individual pour of Pappy’s elusive 12-Year, 15-Year and 20-Year Vintages. Executive Chef Jason McLeod (Ironside Fish & Oyster, Soda & Swine) and Chef Julio Castillo (Craft & Commerce) have put together plates to pair perfectly alongside each whiskey. Adding an extra layer of depth to the pairings, a few of San Diego’s top rated breweries (Stone Brewing Co., The Lost Abbey, AleSmith, Modern Times) will pair one of their exclusive suds alongside each course as well.

Dedicated Bourbon lovers will have a chance to sample what some call the most elusive whiskey in the world

The evening kicks off with a welcome cocktail while guests mingle with fellow food & beverage enthusiasts before taking their seats. “Dr. Bill” Sysak (craft beer ambassador for Stone Brewing Co.) will be in attendance to offer attendees insight into the menu pairings at hand. Bill is respected worldwide for his limitless knowledge of beer and food pairings from every corner of the globe.

Thursday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m.


About Craft & Commerce: Selected as one of Food & Wine’s “Top 50 Bars in the Country” in 2011 and “Best Bar Food in the US” in 2012, featured in GQ, The Los Angeles Times, Imbibe, and the recipient of the 2011 “Grand Orchid” Design Award– the highest honor of the annual Orchid & Onion awards, sponsored by the San Diego Architectural Foundation– Craft & Commerce, has consistently garnered recognition as a pioneer in San Diego’s evolving urban movement.

Unequivocally equal parts restaurant and conversational destination, its unique aesthetic resembles that of a dimly-lit, industrial literary cabin swathed in the din of exuberant communication. Craft & Commerce offers a contemporary take on seasonal American cuisine, which is complemented by a diverse craft cocktail and beer program born from months of collaboration with New York City bartending giant Phil Ward (Death & Co., Mayahuel). The deliberately eclectic, thought-provoking décor conceptualized by notable San Diego brick-and-mortar guru Paul Basile all embody the owners’ core philosophy that a casual dining space should also inspire the resurgence of real human interaction, thoughtful dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

Craft & Commerce is located at 675 W. Beech St. in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. For more information, please call 619-269-2202 and visit

*Courtesy information H2PublicRelations

Local Habit Gumbo Recipe

Pacific Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo recipe from Local Habit

Local Habit

Pacific Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo (Courtesy of Local Habit)

  • 1-¼ pounds shrimp
  • ¾ pound oysters
  • 1-¼ pounds Andouille susage
  • ½ pound Tasso
  • 1-¼ pounds yellow Onion
  • 1 lb green bell peppers
  • 1/8 cup garlic
  • 1 celery stalk
  • ¼ bunch green onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coriander
  • 1-½ teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1-½ tablespoons smoked paprika
  • ¾ tablespoons cayenne
  • 6 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup serrano vinegar
  • 1 quart shrimp stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper


  • P&D Shrimp
  • Cut Andouille
  • Cut Tasso
  • Dice Onions
  • Dice Peppers
  • Mince Garlic
  • Chop Celery
  • Grind Allspice and Coriander
  • Make Creole Seasoning (paprika, cayenne, allspice, coriander)


Begin by adding the oil to a large thick bottom pot, heating it for 2 minutes on medium high heat. Proceed to add the flour to the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon until the oil and flour are well combined. Continue to stir the roux for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it becomes chocolate brown in color. Add the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic to the pot; season the mixture with Creole spices and stir well. Afterward, cover the pot with a lid and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are extremely tender and have released their liquids. Next, add in the sausage, tasso, ¼ of the shrimp, and the bay leaf. Mix well and cook covered for another 15 minutes. Finally, add the wine, vinegar, and shrimp broth to the pot, stirring well. Cover, and cook everything on low heat for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Remove the lid and cook the mixture for an additional 30 minutes. Let the Gumbo cool to room temperature and then refrigerate (for up to 5 days). The Gumbo is best if served the day after it is made.


Bring the Gumbo to a boil and add in 5 or 6 shrimp and 4 oysters. Once the seafood is cooked through, pour the Gumbo over rice and serve with sliced bread.

New Oregon Rye Whiskey

Rogue is a small revolution, which expresses itself through handcrafted Ales, Porters, Stouts, Lagers and Spirits. A Rogue Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager or Spirit is crafted to give it unique character, innovative in its makeup and brewing, a process that has not compromised quality.

Oregon Rye Whiskey

Rogue Ales and Spirits announces the release of Oregon Rye Whiskey which is brewed and distilled using Rogue Farms DreamTM Rye that is grown and malted by Rogue on its proprietary farms in Oregon.

oregon rye whiskeyRogue Brewmaster John Maier comments, “From start to finish, we had control over the entire process. It has been an amazing journey to learn what it takes to turn dirt and seeds into a bright, beautiful whiskey. It has been a real labor of love and we are excited to finally share it.”

The first harvest of DreamTM Rye produced just 374 cases of whiskey, which will be released to retailers nationwide in limited quantities on December 1, 2014.

Rogue Ales and Spirits is an agri-fermenter founded in Oregon in 1988, as one of America’s first microbreweries. Rogue has won more than 1,700 awards for taste, quality and packaging and is available in all 50 states and 48 countries.

Since 2008, Rogue has remained committed to saving the terroir of Oregon hops, barley, rye, wheat, honey, jalapenos and pumpkins one acre at a time by growing their own. (503) 241-3800 //

*Courtesy information

Kid Friendly Restaurants

You already know there are countless reasons to celebrate the little ones in your life. Kids add laughter and zest to our lives, and never cease to surprise us with their amusing insights and witty observations. Their chocolate-smeared smiles serve as a reminder that even on the gloomiest of days, there is something worth grinning about. Head on over to one of your favorite San Diego restaurants where small tummies are happily fed and welcomed every day.

Kid Friendly Restaurants

No need to ship the youngsters off to Grandma’s house this evening. At Lumberyard Tavern, you can enjoy a craft beer and a delicious meal while still keeping the kids happy and right by your side. They’ll love the Tavern Tenders or the Pepperoni & Sausage Flatbread, and they’ll keep juice where it should be with a spill-proof cup with a lid and straw. Whether or not you can get them to finish their side of steamed broccoli…well, that’s another story.

When you’re grabbing lunch, dinner or breakfast at Liberty Station’s Fig Tree Café, don’t worry that Junior insisted on wearing his Spiderman costume out of the house. The large, outdoor patio seating is anything but stuffy, and makes for a fun and casual family atmosphere. After your meal, take a stroll together to the nearby playground where you can relax while the kids frolic and run off some steam.

kid friendly restaurants

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Your babysitter bailed at the last minute, and suddenly you’ve got the kiddies back in your hands. Luckily, there’s no better place to turn date night into family night than Ortega’s Bistro. Located in Hillcrest on the corner of University and Third, Ortega’s says “niños welcome too!” The kids’ Chicken Quesadilla is made with love, melted jack cheese and chicken breast in a homemade flour tortilla. For breakfast, order them the French toast or Niño Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and potatoes.

At Brazen BBQ, meals are kid-tested and parent-approved. “Little cowhands” will love the Pulled Pork Slider, or the Mac & Cheese bowl. For a helping of what the big kids are eating in little-kid size, try the BBQ plate. Add a regular side like cowboy beans or mashed potatoes and a small drink, and your little helpers will be stuffed and happy.

For kids (and parents) with a boundless sweet tooth, Le Parfait Paris caters to every sugar-coated whim. Colorful little macaroons are fun to pick out, fun to eat and just the right size for tiny hands. French pastry chef Jean-Francois Fays creates authentic breads, pastries, sandwiches and quiches the whole family will delight in. Wash down your pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) with a creamy latte macchiato while the enfants sip on a hot chocolate viennois.

Kids have a lot of habits, and sometimes one of them is refusing to sit still. If yours protest sitting through an entire meal, they can safely wiggle around the outdoor patio tables at Pacific Beach Fish Shop. Kids are welcomed with their own menu that includes items like a half order of fish & chips or popcorn shrimp. For junior sailors with a strict no-fish policy, chicken fingers and corndogs are always a safe bet. Each meal is served joyfully with fries and a Capri Sun.

*Courtesy information Alternative Strategies

Cooking with Friends in Coronado

Executive Chef Tim Kolanko of Blue Bridge Hospitality (the Coronado based restaurant collective) launches a new dinner series at Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge dubbed Cooking with Friends”.

Cooking With Friends

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 Cooking with Friends Dinner Series Lineup

December 9th, 2014

Executive Chef Carmine Lopez, Great Maple + Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

$75.00 per person

Menu as follows

Seafood Croquette, smoke trout, trout roe, preserved lemon aioli
Fresh Ricotta Crostini, persimmon jam
Short Rib Terrine, duck liver mousse, crispy smashed red potato
Wine Paired: Meyer-Fonné, Cremant d’Alsace Brut, N.V., Alsace, France

Beets with hazelnut, chicory, truffle vinaigrette
Wine Paired: Sylvaner, Domaine Ostertag, Les Vieilles Vignes, 2013, Alsace, France

Seared Scallop, apple, onion, horseradish, celery
Wine Paired: Chardonnay, Olivier Savary, 2013, Chablis, France

Braised Beef Cheek Pot Au Feu, winter vegetables
Wine Paired: Grenache/Syrah, Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Azalais, 2012, Vacqueyras, France

Warm Poached Pear Tartlet
Wine Paired: Sémillon, Château Roûmieu-Lacoste, 2011, Sauternes, France

January 13, 2015

Executive Chef Amy DiBiase & Sous Chef Kyle Bergman, Tidal + Tasting Room Manager Dave Adams of Green Flash Brewing Co.

February 03, 2015

Chef-Owner Fred Piehl, The Smoking Goat

March 03, 2015

Executive Chef Paul Arias, The Fishery

April 07, 2015

Executive Chef Steven Riemer, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

May 05, 2015

Executive Chef/Partner Jason McLeod, Ironside Fish & Oyster

TIME: Each dinner will take place at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge | 1015 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118 | 619.437.6087 |

RESERVATIONS: Can be made by calling the restaurant at 619.437.6087 or making a reservation online at or

COST: The cost and course breakdown for each dinner will very. Seating is limited to 40 attendees.

About Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge

An authentic neighborhood destination with a warm and welcoming appeal, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge raises the bar on Coronado’s chef-driven dining scene by delivering a truly locavore experience. Executive Chef Tim Kolanko has crafted a passionately sustainable, ingredient-driven menu consisting of approachable, gastro-fare cuisine. Kolanko’s made-from-scratch culinary ethos presents diners with diverse flavors through a menu that changes to reflect the season’s freshest ingredients. The restaurant is named after Blue Bridge Hospitality’s well-traveled co-founder, Leroy Mossel, who alongside his Blue Bridge partner and cousin, David Spatafore—both long-time residents of Coronado— launched the restaurant group in 1998. Spatafore found his cousin’s eclectic background to be the perfect inspiration for this restaurant’s design and menu. Proudly partnering with neighboring farmers, brewers and producers, Leroy’s Kitchen + Bar also features an eclectic array of artwork from the surrounding artist’s community, presenting unique charm for locals and tourists alike. The beverage program showcases San Diego’s rich craft beer movement, highlighting the city’s best microbreweries with a diverse selection of on-tap options and craft beer flights. Leroy’s also offers a rotating menu of seasonal craft cocktails prepared with fresh herbs and spices. The restaurant boasts a private dining room that seats 10-12 and serves as the ideal space for small parties, business meetings or intimate dinners.

Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge is located at 1015 Orange Avenue. More information can be found at or by calling 619-437-6087.

*Courtesy information H2 Public Relations

Holiday Sweets in San Diego

Holiday Sweets

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With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, sweet smells of pumpkin and spice are in the air. Be the most popular party host this holiday season with Flower Hill Promenade’s charming array of seasonal dessert offerings. Get the first glance at these irresistible seasonal specials that are perfect for everyone in your family – even your dogs!

We’ve included information of the top seasonal desserts that can be found at the Flower Hill Promenade, all offering unique flavors this season.

 Holiday Sweets

Nothing Bundt Cakes
No Seasonal gathering is complete without one of Nothing Bundt Cake’s Holly Jolly Holiday Cakes. This famous San Diego bakery is keeping their holiday desserts classic and delicious using gingerbread as their feature flavor throughout the season.

Three Dog Bakery
All dog owners know that this joyous season isn’t just for people. Deck the halls with your dog at Three Dog Bakery -an all-natural bakery of dog-friendly treats. Warm your pets’ tummies with the PUP-permint mocha treats, made with real carob and mint flavor, or satisfy their sweet tooth with their famous dog-friendly christmas cake.

Venissimo Cheese
Combine the rich flavors of your favorite cheese with the sweet taste of traditional pastries for the perfect holiday hors d’oeuvre or dessert. Try the Speziato al Tartufo, a truffled Italian cheese rolled in cinnamon, nutmeg and clovers for just $15 a pound, or their famous Fourme au Sauternes, an aged French blue cheese soaked in sweet Sauternes wine for $28.50 per half pound.

Their signature desserts include the Brillat with Cranberries, a decadent triple creme brie from France topped with sweet cranberries, their handmade Panettone, and the Tannenbaum Kuchen – their very own pressed fruit cake made with dried pears, pine nuts, and rosemary.

For an additional flare to your holiday festivities, take home their Fondue for Two – a bread and cie sourdough bread bowl ready to made to take and bake, filled with the blend of delightful alpine cheeses, herbs de provence and white wine for just $15 each.

*Courtesy information jpublicrelations

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Family Friendly Waypoint Public

Waypoint Public

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Nestled in the heart of North Park. Waypoint Public highlights their commitment and enthusiasm for great food and beer pairings while trying to hit the trifecta of great food, great beer, and a determination to appeal to a neighborhood demographic, which includes a growing number of young families. “There’s a growing demand for dining environments that cater to both children and adults and being family-friendly was an essential element when conceptualizing Waypoint Public from the get go,” says John Pani, co-owner of Waypoint Public. “I’m the father of three young children, and like many other families around our Kensington neighborhood, I want to enjoy great food and drink without sacrificing quality time with my family.” For group dining, Waypoint Public can accommodate larger groups in the main dining room, or the private “Bear Den” in the back of the restaurant. (

©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Waypoint Public Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taco Tuesday Reinvented

Variety is the Spice of Life, Even on Tuesdays in San Diego!

Taco Tuesday

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Don’t get us wrong, Taco Tuesday will always be near and dear to our hearts. It’s a tradition integral to the San Diego culture and way of life, and will always worth celebrating with a salty-rimmed margarita. But Tuesdays aren’t just for tacos anymore. The old Mexican-American favorite takes a back seat to these awesome weekly happenings going down right in our backyard.

Taco Tuesday

Feeling the weekend blues and it’s only Tuesday? The folks at Tavern, know exactly what the doctor ordered. Gone Postal Tuesdays offer $4 Jäger shots as well as $4 American Harvest vodka. Mix that with table taps and half off all drinks from 3 to 7 p.m., and you’ve got a night that gives Taco Tuesday a run for its money.

At True North Tavern, “craft” is for the arts- and also for beer. Every Tuesday, get crafty the adult way with live performances and $3-4-5 drafts. True North’s weekly “Arts & Crafts” festivities bring local talent and craft beer specials to those who are tired of the same taco every Tuesday.

Can you say Tapas Tuesday? At Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro, it has an especially charming ring to it. Tapas are a variety of appetizers in Spanish cuisine, and on Tuesdays they’re half off all day inside Romesco’s Tapas Bar. Choose from a long list of cold or hot small plates like Antipasto Romesco, seared yellow fin tuna sashimi, calamari fritti and plenty more.

Taco Tuesday

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The second day of the working week wouldn’t be complete without Neighborhood Tuesdays at Duck Dive. From 5 p.m. until kitchen close, the casual beach lounge cooks up specialties made with fresh produce handpicked from the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market. Your entrée is completed with a featured cocktail, also made from locally-sourced ingredients. From 11 a.m. to 4, a burger and any draft is $10. Then, from 9 p.m. ‘til close, get any local draft for $2. What better occasion than this farm-to-table affair to bring you to our stretch of the coast this Tuesday?

Step into the wine cellar every Tuesday night at Uptown Tavern with $5 wines by the glass. From 9 p.m. until close, complete an order of Angus beef sliders or barley risotto with your choice of wine from the list of red, white and rosé. Sip a robust Bodega Via Monte cabernet, or choose a glass of crisp Stemmari pinot grigio to complement your meal.

While Pacific Beach Fish Shop boasts some award-winning and truly delicious fish tacos, it would be a sin to overlook other seafaring eats from their tasty menu. Choose a fish like seared rare albacore or diver scallops, smother it in chipotle glaze or lemon butter, and sandwich it to grilled perfection on a toasted torta roll. With a bottled beer selection worth bragging about, get ready for a Tuesday at high tide.

*Courtesy information Alternative Strategies

Isola Pizza Bar

Sophisticated and modern, Isola Pizza Bar offers warm and friendly service to every guest whom walks in the door. Located in a tiny storefront in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy, the menu is a surprise that will leave you craving more for your next visit. Read more in the ‘San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City’, now available for pre-order.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)







Bruschetta with Fresh Figs and Pistachios (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Bruschetta with Fresh Figs and Pistachios (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)



Fegatini de Polo Alla Toscana: Organic Chicken Liver, Capers, Crispy Pancetta and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Fegatini de Polo Alla Toscana: Organic Chicken Liver, Capers, Crispy Pancetta and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Caramel and Chocolate Budino (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Caramel and Chocolate Budino (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

(619) 255-4230 

Isola Pizza Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Make the Most of Black Friday

Local Boutiques and Restaurants Map the Best Course to Make the Most of Black Friday

Black Friday

Left to right: Risotto Arancini and Fish Tacos From Pacifica Del Mar (Courtesy photos)

Black Friday

Pacfica Del Mar
Raise the Black Friday bar and head to Pacifica for extended happy hour from 3 to 10 p.m. Specials like Goat Cheese Risotto Arancini with San Marzano tomato sauce and truffle cream and tacos like Blackened Fish and Pulled Pork will be served all night to soothe tired shoppers. In addition to the bites, guests can enjoy two dollars off on beer, wines by the glass and featured cocktails like Pacifica’s Pear-Ginger Collins, made with house pear sorbet, Crater Lake Ginger Vodka, fresh lemon juice and soda.

1555 Camino Del Mar
(858) 792-0467
Facebook: PacificaDelMar
Twitter: @PacificaDelMar

The Den
Equal parts edgy and chic, The Den boutique boasts an impressive array of clothing and accessories for men and women from exclusive lines like Good hYOUman and Kris Nations that would require a road trip to get anywhere else. Unique, local brands that call The Den home include Leucadia-based The People’s Movement, eco-conscious footwear and accessories made using plastic bags cleaned from the beaches off of Southern California and Bali.

2744 Carlsbad Blvd Suite 106
(760) 729-2080
Facebook: thedencarlsbad
Twitter: @thedenonline

Black Friday

Lobster Nigiri at RA Sushi (Courtesy photo)

RA Sushi
Escape the hustle and bustle of the crowds on Black Friday for some RA Sushi Retail Therapy. Starting at 11 a.m., choose from more than 25 appetizer and sushi selections like local favorites, the Viva Las Vegas roll and “RA”ckin’ Shrimp, plus a wide variety of beer, wine and signature cocktails like the Blushing Geisha, Dragon Bite and Sake Sangria. RA’s all-day happy hour is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28.

474 Broadway
(619) 321-0021
Facebook: RASushi
Twitter: @rasushi

Known for its extensive collection of all things rad, Seaworthy is the destination for shoppers in need of not only surf and skate gear, but some truly unique clothing as well. Built with love and pride for the greatness of the nation, Seaworthy has a vintage vibe complete with décor that pays tribute to the World War II generation, but their progressive line of clothing strikes a contemporary cord with features like water resistant fabric and t-shirts that fold into dog bowls for beach time with four-legged friends.

2988 State St
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 434-7873
Facebook: seaworthysurf
Twitter: seaworthysurfca

Viz Art Ink
Extreme doodle art studio and Carlsbad Village staple,Viz Art Ink is the perfect locale for those creative spirits on your holiday list. Viz Art Ink features hand-drawn, unique pieces that contain hidden pictures and words of inspiration that all work together to form one large piece, all done by hand in pen and ink. In addition to prints and commissioned work, Viz Art Ink also sells limited edition holiday cards, totes and t-shirts.

2906 State Street
(760) 434-2628
Facebook: Viz-Art-ink
Twitter: vizartink

*Courtesy information the nth element

Back to Roots San Diego

BacktoRootsBilled as an Artisan Foodie’s market, the Banker’s Hill mini-specialty market will showcase local and international artisanal purveyors, spotlighting the importance of craft in the food industry.

Back to Roots

Philip Ariza, who along with his brother Jan, heads El Campito Farms located in Descanso, specializes in heirloom varieties of produce which are hand-harvested daily, using deep-organic methods to create very rich soil without the use of organic fertilizers or pesticides, providing local distribution to noted San Diego restaurants and a biweekly farm stand.

Spaniard Alvaro Miranda, whose family has long been involved in making cheese and raising pigs, established Iberico Taste 3 years ago, specializing in importing products including Iberico ham, chorizo, and truffle oil mainly from Spain. Limited production, high quality artisanal producers make up a portfolio which includes unique items such as Jamón Ibérico (Iberico Ham) is a unique ham, cured for up to four years, which comes from an ancient breed of pig found only on the Iberian Peninsula, known as Cerdo Ibérico, or “Pata Negra” for its black hoof. Philip and Alvaro together identified a need among food connoisseurs to source handcrafted items locally and abroad, created a partnership, and Back To Roots Market was born. Back to Roots is designed to bring people back in touch with what they eat, according to Philip, “offering varieties and products that don’t necessarily last the longest on the shelf, but are flavorful and hormone and chemical-free”.

Back to Roots

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With Iberico Taste and El Campito Farms as permanent vendors, Back to Roots brought in renowned regional Chef Flor Franco’s healthy food to go, including organic roasted chicken and seasonal items, to feature in her “Esquina de Flor” (Flor’s corner). Other purveyors brought on board include Prager Brothers Artisan Breads, started by Louie Prager, a plant biologist with a degree from Cal Poly, and his brother Clint, a professional musician, with their production of handcrafted and naturally leavened whole grain and rye bread. Taste Enoteca’s Chef, Martin Gonzalez, will have fresh-made pasta and sauces available including carrot and ginger tagliatelle and sugo al pomodoro.

Back to Roots Market is located at 3318 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA, 92103 and will open November 19th, 2014

To round out the mix at Back to Roots Market, Descanso Valley Ranch, with their locally raised chickens and eggs from Farmers Carl and Tamara, was also selected along with Baja Food + Wines for its cellar curated by Fernando Gaxiola, offering boutique, family-owned and artisan wineries from Valle de Guadalupe in northern Baja California, from where 90% of the Mexican wines are produced. Also featured are ceramics by Karla Patterson, abstract and organic pieces which bring together elements of nature, color and texture, as well as custom furniture from Planet Rooth Design Haus.

Back to Roots Market

3318 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 882-0947




*Courtesy information Yolanda Selene Walther-Meade 

Vintana Escondido Tasting Tour

Harvest Festival wine event at Vintana Escondido highlights some of the lesser known wine-producing valleys around San Diego

Vintana Escondido

Courtesy images

Vintana Escondido

On Saturday, November 22, Vintana in Escondido will host a Winemaker Symposium and Harvest Festival Tasting Tour showcasing a host of local wineries from around Escondido, and the surrounding valleys. Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to come and enjoy a 40-seat symposium, followed by special tasting in the contemporary penthouse restaurant, where they can enjoy expansive views while sampling wine from eleven of the regions most promising vintners.

Thanks to San Diego’s high temperatures, numerous microclimates and soil types the area is suited for growing a number of varietals. Recently named one of San Francisco Chronicle’s “2014 Winemakers to Watch,” Vesper Vineyards is one such winery that has tapped into the area’s immense potential who will be pouring samples of their latest creations at this exciting event. From Fallbrook Winery to Ramona’s Milagro Farms, a host of other notable ‘up and coming’ local vintners will also be in attendance, including Escondido’s Stehleon Vineyards, Belle Marie Winery, Screaming Chief, Orfila Vineyards & Coyote Oaks Vineyards, Triple B Ranches from Valley Center, Vinavanti Cellars from Sorrento Valley and Rainbow’s Roadrunner Ridge Winery.

 Vintana Wine + Dine Presents:
Winemaker Symposium and Harvest Festival Tasting Tour

Saturday, November 22nd

2:00 – 3:00 pm | Winemaker Symposium
Tickets Cost $40/person (includes entry to the Tasting Tour)

Taking place inside the Lexus Technology Room, local winemakers will be holding a discussion centered around the unusually warm 2014 harvest, and its affects on the wine.

A selection of grape varietals will also be available for tasting. *Please note the symposium is limited to 40 attendees.

3:30 – 5:30 pm | Harvest Festival Tasting Tour
Tickets Cost $25/person (valid for tasting tour entry only)

Taste barrel samples and newly released wines from 11 of San Diego County’s premier wineries on the Vintana Moonlight Veranda. Wineries will show a sample of freshly fermented juice from the 2014 harvest, a barrel sample from 2013 and the fully developed wine from their most recent release. Tray passed hors d’oeuvres will be served and wines will be available for purchase at below retail prices.

Buy Tickets

About Vintana: Located in the penthouse of the new 330,000 square foot Lexus dealership, Vintana combines the best of fine dining and hospitality using 10,000 square feet of indoor restaurant space and 8,500 square feet of contemporary meeting and banquet space. The venue’s picturesque 20,000 square foot exterior terrace with fire pits boast 360-degree views of the rolling California hills and is available for private and special events in addition to a regular open-air concert series. As the name ‘vin’ in Vintana suggests, the restaurant has a dedicated emphasis on wine. The beverage lineup plays host to an abundant variety of local and international boutique wines, all of which were selected as a synergistic accompaniment to Chef Scott’s enticing menu. Vintana also has a Vodka Lounge offering over 100 selections from around the world and taps from San Diego’s award-winning craft beer scene. For more information on The Cohn Restaurant Group, please visit or call 619-236-1299.

For more information on The Centre at Lexus Escondido, please visit or call 888-367-3035.

*Courtesy information H2PublicRelations
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