Cusp Chef Delivers Supercharged Menu

San Diego Food Finds

Crispy Pork Belly

Executive chef Ingrid Shelton has found her niche at Cusp Dining and Drinks, offering diners supercharged flavors in her seasonally changing menu where entree-sized portions are called to be shared.

San Diego Food Finds

Red Snapper Ceviche

Confident and intuitive while helming the kitchen at Cusp, Shelton is contented with the restaurant’s beautiful décor, that’s not overly designed. “This enables our guests to relax in an environment that is both upscale and comfortable,” she says. “The 11th floor view of the ocean is unforgettable, especially at sunset.”

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Valentine’s Day Destinations

San Diego Food FInds

Sweet Kiss at BICE

Love is in the air at San Diego restaurants and hotels. Find your inner foodie and step out of your comfort zone this February 14th. From sweet cocktails and multi-course menus, to decadent deserts, these restaurants have your Valentine’s Day covered!

Tower23 Hotel and JRDN Restaurant

Make your Valentine’s Day extra sweet this year at Tower23 Hotel and JRDN Restaurant. Do you Love to Indulge? Then we have the perfect package for you. Enjoy the ultimate lovers’ getaway with surprises such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, a bouquet of roses, Lovers’ Massage Oil, and a Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose Breakfast in Bed. Prices start at $459 per night. For those hoping to turn their Valentine’s Day up a notch, try the Sex on the Beach hotel package which includes dinner and cocktails for two, Breakfast in Bed each morning, an in-room couple’s massage, and valet parking. Rates start at $509 per night and require a minimum two-night stay. All V-Day specials run through February 28th. t23hotel.com

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San Diego Restaurant Week Bucket List

San Diego Food FindsSan Diego Restaurant Week is back to kick off your New Year with food, fun, and memories January 15th through January 22nd. This foodie-favorited event is celebrating its 13th year of bringing people together to dine out, reconnect, and indulge! With over 180 participating restaurants to choose from across every neighborhood in San Diego County, diners can be assured that appetites will be appeased and cravings will be satisfied with prix-fixe two course lunches and three course dinners.

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608 Restaurant Captivates Oceanside

San Diego Food Finds

Scallop Crudo

A cozy new jewel on Mission Avenue in Oceanside, 608 is a must-try for affordable, yet elegantly-prepared dishes. The simple interior is inviting, with rough wood and brick walls, a small bar area, and 4 TVs broadcasting the latest sporting events.

San Diego Food Finds

Scallops with Housemade Ramen Noodles, Alliums and Beef Broth

Diners can expect smaller portions and food boasting unique flavor combinations, including in-house dry-aged beef and a 7-course chefs tasting menu. “Other restaurants offer tasting menus, but 608 really displays our style,” says executive chef/partner William Eick. “We strive to create great food with what grows wild in North County, including proteins that are either indigenous or raised by local farms.”

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Comfort Food In San Diego

The Haven Pesto Rigatoni

This cold and rainy weather in San Diego is making it a little hard to stick to a healthy eating resolution. Ditch the resolution and warm up with stomach filling, joy bringing comfort food dishes.

In the Gaslamp Quarter barleymash has the cheesiest bowls of mac n’ cheese. The Bleu Shroom is whipped up with wild and domestic mushrooms, whiskey-caramelized onions, bleu cheese crumbles and balsamic-Jager drizzle. This dish is big enough to feed two people, so be sure to bring a friend along to help you ditch the New Year’s resolution.

The Haven is one of the many hidden gems in Kensington. Warm up with an order of Dave’s meatballs made with homemade Italian meatballs baked in fresh tomato sauce topped with shaved parmesan. Follow the meatballs with an order of Pesto Rigatoni. This delicious bowl of rigatoni is tossed in hazelnut pesto, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and topped with feta cheese.

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The Westgate Valentine Celebration

San Diego Food FindsSpeak the language of love this Valentine’s Day with a romantic rendezvous and fine dining at downtown San Diego’s Westgate Hotel. The hotel’s “La Vie en Rose” Valentine’s Day experiences pay homage to the hotel’s French inspired style and ambiance and the perfect setting to spark romance.

“We are capturing the essence and culture of a true Parisian escape,” said Richard Cox, general manager of the Westgate Hotel. “For one night, or a weekend, you’ll think you have escaped to Paris but with the sunshine, sights and attractions of San Diego right outside!”

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Sunday Brunching at Ponsaty’s

Master French Chef Patrick Ponsaty has crafted a menu to appease all appetites. Available every Sunday beginning January 15th, Ponsaty’s offers diners bottomless mimosas and dishes including Herb Crusted Prime Ribeye with a Horseradish Sauce, Sea Water Poached King Crab Legs with French Cocktail Sauce and lemon, and of course, a show-stopping Egg Benedict Florentine with Spinach and Mornay Sauce.

Wine and dine yourself for $49 per guest and $25 for kids – add on the bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for an extra $15. The entire menu is available here.

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Herringbone Happy Hour

Herringbone La Jolla is starting 2017 off the right way with its launch of happy hour 7 days a week! Also known as Oyster Hour at the “fish meets field” concept in the heart of La Jolla, guests can now enjoy $1 oysters with discounted bites and drinks daily in Herringbone’s bar and lounge – because, wine not?

WHAT:

Herringbone La Jolla launches its happy hour – Oyster Hour – 7 days a week from 4-6pm. Guests can now enjoy $1 oysters with discounted bites and drinks daily in Herringbone’s bar and lounge. Choose from a selection of bites, and wash it down with Herringbone’s specialty cocktails, infused house spirits, sangria, beer or wine.

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Chocolate Decadence & Pechanga Wine Festival

Valentine’s Day plans can be made easy this year by making a date for the Chocolate Decadence & Pechanga Wine Festival. Hundreds of wine varieties, sweet and savory chocolate confections, gourmet food samples, live music, a silent auction, and helping out a good cause are all on the agenda for Friday, February 10, and Saturday, February 11, at Pechanga Resort & Casino. Tickets for the 9th annual Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival are currently on sale. For tickets or more information, visit the Pechanga Box Office, call (877) 711-2946 or visit Pechanga.com. Proceeds from both events benefit Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.

Chocolate Decadence on Friday, February 11, features more than 30 wine varietals that have been shown to masterfully partner with chocolate and other sweet desserts. The event runs from 7:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. and is $55 per person. Tickets include a souvenir wine glass, unlimited two ounce samples of wine and spirits, chocolate and confection tasting, live music and silent auction. VIP tickets are $75 and include early entry at 5:30 p.m., an upgraded souvenir wine glass, fruit and cheese plates, passed hors d’oeurves, as well as all inclusions of general admission tickets.

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Michelin Star Event at Civico 1845

San Diego Food Finds

Antonio and Luca Abbruzzino (photo credit: Leonardo Scarriglia)

Civico 1845 the Little Italy eatery known for its authentic Italian dishes and vegan offerings, has formed a collaboration with two Michelin-rated Italian chefs, father and son Antonio and Luca Abbruzzino, to highlight dishes that feature ingredients from southern Italy.

To kick off the partnership, the chefs will travel to San Diego and work with Civico 1845 chefs Alfonso Pisacane and Pietro Gallo to create new dishes that highlight southern Italy’s finest tastes. Ingredients to be imported from Italy include the Calabrian chile pepper, red Tropea onions, San Marzano tomatoes, Campania’s buffalo mozzarella and more. As with the rest of the Civico 1845 menu, these dishes will also incorporate ingredients grown locally in San Diego.

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Cafe Chloe Offers Taste of France

San Diego Food Finds

MUSHROOM & BLEU D’AUVERGNE TART

A little French culture with a lot of French taste is what you’ll get at Cafe Chloe in the East Village, a charming neighborhood bistro where you can enjoy a nice cappuccino for breakfast, a quick lunch, and linger on with wine and beautiful food for dinner.

San Diego Food Finds

BACALAO STEW WITH GARLIC, PEPPERS & TOMATO BROTH WITH TOASTED CIABATTA

Savor a rustic approach to culturally rich, regional ingredients. The menu changes seasonally and daily featuring sustainable seafood and all-natural meats and chicken. The produce comes from local farms including Crows Pass, Sage Mountain, and Suzie’s Farms.

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Shake Shack Coming Soon

San Diego Food FindsAfter coasting to the West Coast earlier this year, Shake Shack is heading southward to San Diego in 2017. This modern day “roadside” burger stand serves up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more. The Shack plans to set up shop at Westfield UTC, a three-level outdoor shopping center in University City. The Westfield UTC Shack, located on Level 2, will offer all the Shake Shack classics, from delicious 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers and cage-free chicken to crinkle-cut fries and spun-fresh frozen custard. Plus, there will be frozen custard concretes featuring local San Diego food purveyors.

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Flatbreads That Don’t Disappoint

San Diego Food FindsThere is more to a flatbread than what meets the dough so don’t settle for a dull flatbread again. Visit these San Diego restaurants for special flatbreads that don’t disappoint.

For great food and quality craft beers, dine in at Common Theory Public House. Order from a variety of their unique flatbreads such as their most popular, the “Daygo” Style made with Mozzarella, Tomato, and Almond Basil Pesto. For the meat lovers who need a savory addition, add bacon or sausage to sweeten the dish. Don’t forget to pair with one of the ever changing 30+ craft beers on tap.

Two American classics come together at Barrel Republic in Oceanside and Carlsbad when you order the Double Cheese Bacon “Burger” flatbread. This “burger” is fully loaded with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and ketchup. This is one dish you won’t want to share!

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Crudo Pride In Carmel Valley

san-diego-food-finds-crudo

Sashimi Presentations Rock Our World

The new Crudo restaurant in Carmel Valley boasts Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with an Asian touch that features locally-sourced, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian menu items. Renowned chef and owner Pascal Lorange takes pride in offering diners unique, yet simple presentations that you won’t find anywhere else in San Diego.

San Diego Food Finds

Foie Gras Crudotini with Smoked Duck Breast, Fig Chutney, Scallions and Soy Balsamic

Belgian-born Lorange is a world renowned chef who has cooked in Michelin-star kitchens and been in the restaurant industry for more than 25 years.  As a child, he would accompany his family on weekly trips to the market to help his parents prepare his favorite dish, “pave de cabillaud” (cod steak). From the age of six, Lorange wanted to continue in the family tradition of four generations of chefs, including his grandfather, uncle, brother and nephew.

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Ponsaty’s Presents Culinary Art

San Diego Food Finds

Amuse Bouche: Carrot Squash Soup

Chef Patrick Ponsaty is working his magic and hypnotizing diners with show-stopping culinary art at his new restaurant aptly named Ponsaty’s in Rancho Santa Fe, California. We recently visited, took our seats in a lavish dining room that’s screams with style, and experienced a delightful 9-course menu that left us feeling as if we had just dined in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

San Diego Food Finds

Organic Veggies

Every morning Ponsaty personally visits his farmer friends and hand selects seasonal produce to be presented to diners each evening. This awe-inspiring chef makes dinner an EVENT not to be missed.

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Side Dishes Worth Ordering

Grilled Little Gems at Encontro

Explore, experiment, and titillate your taste buds with tasty side dishes that are often times overlooked. Another advantage is that these dishes can be swapped out for a gratifying meal!

Over 15 sides to choose from, how will you ever make up your mind? Wood Ranch in Mission Valley has a broad range of sides to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. How does a bowl of Loaded Mashed Potatoes sound? Or hot plate of Skillet Baked Beans? Pretty tasty, huh? Wood Ranch has delicious and decadent sides that will make you want to cheat on your entrée!

Encontro in North Park is stepping up the side game with their a la carte dishes. Tickle your tongue with Patatas Bravas, salt roasted red potatoes with pickled fresno aioli or charred Grilled Little Gems. Try the Mary’s Fried Chicken Sliders made with all-natural chicken breast, sriracha aioli, coleslaw all on a brioche bun. Be sure to save room for your entrée with these game changing sides!

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Plan Your New Year’s Celebration

San Diego Food Finds

Club Crown Champagne Tower

Some of San Diego’s most popular hot spots make it easy for you to plan an unforgettable New Year’s celebration!

New Year’s Cocktail Experience at Grant Grill | San Diego, CA

This New Year’s Eve, Grant Grill has created an intimate table-side cocktail package experience in its Lounge to ring in the New Year. Cocktail aficionados can delight in personal mixology with Chef de Bar, Cory Alberto, as he creates a variety of exceptional craft cocktails including flaming Blue Blazer cocktails for the table to cap the night. The first popularized flaming cocktail is sure to please, composed of cask-strength single-malt Scotch, Demerara sugar or sugar in the raw, and lemon peel, mixed together as Alberto creates a spectacular blue flame between two mixing glasses. The special cocktail activation for New Year’s is an ode to President Ulysses S. Grant who the hotel is named after (built by the former President’s son) and who was highly impressed by his first Blue Blazer cocktail. Additional cocktail package pairings include a welcome seasonal citrus bottled cocktail, a flight of unique and exceptional spirits including Sancerre Orange Wine, Genepi Americana Cocktail and the exclusive last batch of the property’s Gentleman Grant, paired with a cheese and charcuterie board as well as additional bites. Reservations are $700 for a party of four, $1,400 for a party of eight, excluding tax.

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Holiday Cocktails Are The Buzz

Coco-Nutcracker

We’ve rounded up some holiday-themed cocktails that can be found around San Diego, to keep you feeling warm, festive, and hydrated on the party circuit this season!

Coconut Beach Holiday Cocktails at The Patio on Lamont | Pacific Beach 

The Patio on Lamont is partnering with San Diego-based coconut water company, Coconut Beach, to make merrymaking easier this year with coconut water cocktails. Packed with essential electrolytes and potassium, coconut water is key to getting through the holiday season sans hangover. Created by lead bartender Richard Shina,  the Coconut Rum Pum Pum Pum and Coco-Nutcracker cocktails are both mixed with Coconut Beach 100 % Pure Coconut Water, and can be jollily sipped on The Patio on Lamont’s cozy, charming patio all season long.

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Searsucker In The Neighborhood

Tuna Poke & Shaved Taro Root Radish Jar with Sriracha and Cilantro

Welcoming and unpretentious, with yet a sophisticated dimension, celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s Searsucker Del Mar has found its niche in the trendy Carmel Valley neighborhood.

San Diego Food Finds

Tomato & Burrata Jar with Basil, Olive Oil and Balsamic

Born and raised in San Diego, new executive chef Cesar Oceguera helms the Del Mar outpost, raising eyebrows with well-received New American cuisine that boasts traditional, yet seasonal takes on classic dishes infused with the boisterous flavors for which the restaurant has long been known for.

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Christmas Dining About Town

San Diego Food Finds

Forever Young Cocktail at Jsix

San Diego is in a White Christmas state of mind, getting cozy for the holidays with elegant high teas steeped in tradition, festive feasts for the indulgent set and multi-course meals made for mingling. Below, is a round up Christmas dining offerings for all to experience this season. 

THE US GRANT | Downtown

A true destination in downtown San Diego, THE US GRANT is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit this season. The hotel’s newly restyled grand lobby will be elegantly decorated for guests and locals to celebrate traditions, new and old. From THE US GRANT’s annual holiday tea in the lobby to Christmas dinner at The Grant Grill—there’s something for everyone this season. In addition, the hotel will play host to the Lamb’s Players presentation of “An American Christmas” for the second year in a row. The timeless holiday show will take place Dec. 14 – 24, 2016 in THE US GRANT’s Presidential Ballroom and will be accompanied by a four-course dinner. 

Lamb’s Players “An American Christmas” 1916 Feast and Celebration 

December 14-24, 6:30 p.m. 

$158-$174/adult;$113-$129/child; Tickets: http://www.lambsplayers.org/

THE US GRANT Traditional Holiday Tea

December 10 and 17, Noon-1:30 p.m. 

$52/adult; $29/child (plus tax and gratuity) 

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 619-744-2039 

Grant Grill Christmas Dinner 

December 24 and 25, 5:30-9 p.m.

Five-course dinner: $95; $130 with wine pairings.

Reservations: www.grantgrill.com.

Jsix

Let Chef Anthony Sinsay do the cooking for you this year! Enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner at Jsix with some of Sinsay’s Filipino-inspired holiday favorites.

The three-course Christmas menu includes dishes such as Stir-fried Rice Noodles with local vegetables, soy and Kalamansi lime, and Red Kuri Squash Soup with hazelnut crème fraiche and tarragon pesto. The dinner will also feature specials such as Herb Butter Roasted Turkey and Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes. Satisfy your sweet tooth with desserts like Warm Cranberry Cake served with vanilla ice cream or Kabocha Pieserved with Nutmeg Chantilly and pomegranate reduction to top off the night. The cost is $65 per person and reservations are recommended. (616 J Street, San Diego, CA, (619) 531-8744, www.jsixrestaurant.com)

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Seasons 52 UTC

Spring Asparagus & Dungeness Crab Salad: Bibb Lettuce, hearts of Plam, pea shoots, roasted peppers and yuzu vinaigrette (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Located at Westfield UTC mall, Seasons 52 is a fresh grill and wine bar that provides guests with a healthy dining experience that embraces the living well concept. The menu is inspired by the seasons and the fresh appeal of the farmers’ market—52 weeks a year. The food is inspired from many different countries around the world. The chefs start with the freshest ingredients and use natural cooking techniques such as a wood-burning grill to enhance the flavors instead of high-calorie additives. This allows them to keep each menu item under 475 calories, while still maintaining great flavor. Enjoy grilled jumbo shrimp penne pasta with lemon-basil sauce, spring asparagus and Dungeness crab salad, or my favorite vegetarian tasting with quinoa citrus salad, soft taco, chili relent, vegetables, cedar-roasted tofu and mango chutney. Seasons 52 currently operates 30 restaurants in 15 states across the country. Seasons 52, Westfield UTC, 4505 La Jolla Village Dr c, San Diego, CA 92122, (858) 450-1252; www.seasons52.com.

©San Diego Food Finds By Maria Desiderata Montana

San Diego Food Finds

Vegetable Plate (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

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Spicy Bites Are Here

San Diego Food Finds

Woodstock’s Sirachcha Pizza

It’s time to spice things up this winter with some sizzlin’ bites sure to set your world on fire. If you’re in need of some extra heat be sure to check out these five fiery bites that will ignite your taste buds and warm your heart!

First stop, WESTROOT Tavern. If you love fish then ordering the Firecracker Ahi Tuna Sando is a must! Made with furikake, togarashi, seared ahi, ginger-soy slaw, sambal cream and avocado, you’ll be seeing sparks after just one bite!

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Morada Appoints New Chef

As seen on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” Season 14, with past appearances on the culinary program’s All-Stars Season eight and recognition as the runner-up and fan favorite from Season three, Casey Thompson has accepted the role as executive chef of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s Morada restaurant. Thompson will present seasonal menus elegantly showcasing fresh local ingredients in refined and elegant presentations. 

“I am honored to collaborate with the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe to invigorate the menu at Morada,” said Thompson. Drawing inspiration from my home base of Napa Valley and the local offerings of San Diego County, I look forward to welcoming both time-honored and new diners to the restaurant to enjoy dishes that celebrate Southern California” 

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have Chef Casey lead our culinary team,” said Jerome Strack, general manager of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. “It’s easy to see why she was voted fan favorite, and why she has done so well on Top Chef. Her culinary skills can’t be rivaled.”  

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Buona Forchetta

Located on a sleepy corner of the South Park neighborhood, Buona Forchetta serves one of the finest Napoleon-style pizzas in town. Day or night, the small patio is packed with hungry patrons, drawn by the many accolades streaming online and through word-of-mouth. This authentic pizzeria is co-owned by Matteo Cattaneo, born and raised in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, and New York native Alexa Kollmeier. A centerpiece of their kitchen is the large, handmade pizza oven, built on-site by Stefano Ferrara, one of the most famous pizza-oven manufacturers worldwide. Shiny gold tiles surround the wood-fired workhorse, with the name of their firstborn daughter, Sofia, highlighted in the center of the dome. Sofia also takes top billing on the menu, as the name of their more popular pizza option, with mozzarella, artichokes, mushroom and prosciutto cotto. All of the pizzas are spectacular, but don’t lose sight of the other menu items, including antipasti, insalati, main dishes and house-made dolci. The beer and wine menu highlights many craft and small-production labels from California and Italy, as well as classic white or red sangria. ©San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond by Maria Desiderata Montana

Buona Forchetta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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