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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Rooster Ramen Coming Soon

Ramen lovers can look forward to Rooster coming late spring to early summer 2017. Diners can expect a Japanese Farmhouse ambiance with plenty of outdoor seating as well as a lengthy ramen bar with a semi-open kitchen. Nine types of traditional Ramen dishes will be offered reflecting unique Japanese regions. In addition, there will be special takes on ramen, small plates and yakitori grilled over real binchotan charcoal. A daily revolving specials board will offer seasonally fresh items including Osetra Caviar, Monk Fish Liver, and Pork Cheeks. All plates, bowls, and cups will be hand-made ceramic from Pawena Studio, based out of Los Angeles. Ramen, vegan, and vegetarian options will range from $9 to $14, with an option to create your own bowl. Expect a full 30 plus sake list, drinks made from shochu, and a nice variety of beer. A digital ordering system will be in place to emulate the ramen vending ticket machines in Japan, which will speed up the ordering process and provide further customer convenience.

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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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Kale Salad Favorites

Start those New Year diet resolutions off on the right fork with kale. These fun and unique San Diego restaurants have incorporated kale into delicious salads to help with your nutritional needs for the new year. After all, a new year means a new you so put the kale to the test for your resolutions to be healthier by stopping by one of these restaurants, if not all!

Common Theory Public House offers a menu of California cuisine that focuses on enhancing natural ingredients using contemporary cooking sensibilities of different ethnic backgrounds. For your kale fix, the Citrus Kale Salad is a must try. This leafy dish is make with fresh kale, house ricotta cheese, citrus wedges, pepita seeds and topped with a zesty orange vinaigrette. Pair it with one of their ever changing 30+ beers on tap such as an American IPA or a Pilsner for your “cheat” day.

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Cafe Chloe Offers Taste of France

San Diego Food Finds


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


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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Clever Chef At Catania Hits All The Right Notes


Whole Roasted Branzino with Manila Clams, Spring Onion Pesto, Grilled Asparagus and Chili Bread Crumbs

The smell of wood-fired pizzas hits you as you walk in the door at Whisknladle Hospitality’s Catania, nestled on the top floor of the La Plaza center in La Jolla, California.

San Diego Food Finds Catania Restaurant

Ahi Tartare with Melon, Calabrian Chili, Yogurt, Shallot, Lemon, Sesame, Pistachio and Tarragon

Inspired by Whisknladle Hospitality Owner Arturo Kassel and Culinary Director/Partner Ryan Johnston after their two-week, 1,400-mile road trip through Italy, this innovative 3,750-square-foot restaurant, with an expansive patio and outdoor bar space, puts diners right near the ocean and within walking distance of shopping.

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Decadent San Diego Desserts

San Diego Food Finds

Grapefruit Panna Cotta at Bracero

Life is short, so why not sweeten it? It’s the sweet things that make it worth living, like treating yourself to a dessert you deserve. So, let that sweet tooth loose, relax and enjoy San Diego’s best desserts.

By focusing on an “open kitchen” approach, Bracero Cocina de Raiz seems more like a family gathering than a night out. They’re almost as passionate about the food as they are the people; they craft each and every dish with the utmost care and attention. And when it comes to desserts, their Grapefruit Panna Cotta is their passion project. Featuring a panna cotta served alongside passion fruit sorbet, topped off with sweet coconut foam and peanut praline, it’s sure to titillate your taste buds.

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X Marks The Spot At Barrel Republic

San Diego Food Finds Maria Desiderata Montana

Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly, Smoked Salmon and Lamb Meatballs

Barrel Republic in Oceanside California, boasts a modern yet rustic barn atmosphere complete with wood barrels filled with 60 tap handles for beer aficionados to freely pour and enjoy. “The food menu is uniquely created for the Barrel; scratch, fresh and original craft food for craft beer,” says Executive Chef Michael Brown of Barrel Republic’s Oceanside location. “We use seasonal organic and local produce when it’s available, and all of our ingredients are sustainable.”

San Diego Food Finds

Charcuterie Board with Angel’s Salumi

Brown attended Baltimore Culinary Arts Institute and has been in the kitchen for over thirty years since. He especially enjoyed his time working and learning from chef Michel Richard at Citronelle. “I am still learning the skills of the craft,” he says. “My knife skills are really strong, but my best skill is over-all kitchen leadership.”

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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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Waterbar Coming To Pacific Beach

The thrilling enticement of lively entertainment, sunny beaches, thriving bars and classic cuisine make Pacific Beach (PB) San Diego a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. In early 2017, the opening of the highly anticipated new restaurant Waterbar raises the PB bar and restaurant scene even higher with unparalleled oceanfront ambience and an unrivaled menu complete with exquisite cocktails.

Waterbar will be located in the heart of Pacific Beach along the bustling ocean boardwalk, where Grand Avenue meets the beach just south of the iconic Crystal Pier. The restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows will provide an unobstructed view of sea and sky, while expansive space offers ample opportunity for locals and visitors to gather, eat, sip and socialize.

San Diego Food Finds

“We can hardly wait to share this space with all of San Diego,” says co-owner Todd Brown, who currently owns Bub’s at the Beach, Bub’s at the Ballpark and Blind Burro. Brown is joined by Eric Leitstein of OMG Hospitality Group (think Union Kitchen + Tap, Backyard Kitchen + Tap and P.B Alehouse) and Joe Vaught of The Verant group (Barleymash, Tavern, Sandbar, WESTROOT, True North Tavern, Uptown Tavern). This well-seasoned team of restauranteurs could not pass up on the prime location, and seized the opportunity to create something dynamic and unique with the new Waterbar—an elegant, energetic beachfront dining experience that captures the very heart and soul of sunny San Diego.

Inspired by East coast, West coast and Baja cuisines, “social seafood” will be on the menu, including fresh shellfish and locally caught favorites, which will be transformed into the chef’s unique renditions of coastal classics. Chowder, cioppino, tapas, meat and veggies are also on the menu with many other innovative dishes sure to stimulate and satisfy every palate.

Waterbar’s 6700 sq. ft. venue features a spacious lounge and two expansive bars. Flavor-forward craft cocktails present both irresistible favorites and innovative libations. San Diego-centric, locally crafted beers and a diverse wine list can be enjoyed across comfortable bar seating, community-table dining, and intimate ocean-side tables. Whether guests come for brunch, lunch, a sunset-inspired happy hour, dinner or late night bite, they’re sure to be magnetized by the sensational allure of panoramic views amid vibrant surroundings.

Look for Waterbar, coming early 2017, and discover what is sure to be San Diego’s favorite new spot to make a toast—on the coast!

Crudo Pride In Carmel Valley


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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Pappalecco Expands Locations

San Diego Food Finds

Pappalecco, a local Tuscan coffee, pastry and dining destination, will have five locations throughout the San Diego area by the end of 2016. Pappalecco is known for its unique Tuscan-style cuisine, authentic Italian experience and friendly guest service. The stores, or “homes” as the brother-owner duo like to call it, are located in Little Italy, Hillcrest, Kensington and Cardiff by the Sea, with Del Mar Highlands opening in mid-December. The extensive menu includes breakfast, organic coffee, paninis, pizza, salads, gelato, homemade pastries, wine and beer, and more.

“We are delighted to have our Tuscan homes all over San Diego County, providing neighborhoods with fresh, simple Tuscan-imported ingredients and quality food in a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere,” said Lorenzo Bucci, Pappalecco chef and co-owner. “Pappalecco is a neighborhood symbol and I think every neighborhood should have one!”

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Mendocino Farms La Jolla

Mendocino Farms, Southern California’s beloved sandwich destination with a mission of helping guests “Eat Happy,” is pleased to announce the opening of its 15th restaurant location in The Shops at La Jolla Village in the La Jolla area of San Diego. Mendocino Farms features a dynamic chef-driven menu that changes with the seasons and offers guests a gourmet fast casual dining option at affordable prices. Devoted to partnering with local farms and food artisans to create inspired dishes, the culinary team specializes in approachably adventurous sandwiches and salads using fine dining-quality techniques and ingredients. The new Mendocino Farms restaurant is located adjacent to Whole Foods Market, and will be one of the premier dining destinations for the newly redeveloped shopping center and immediate surrounding neighborhoods. 

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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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Moto Deli Leucadia

San Diego Food FindsPerched along historic Highway 101 in the heart of Encinitas, the traditional European delicatessen reemerges, reborn with an American spin. Moto Deli, helmed by newly minted Executive Chef Andrew Halvorsen (Stone Brewing, A.R. Valentien), captures the freewheeling Leucadian spirit while offering a nod to the time-honored techniques of whole animal butchery and artisanal charcuterie from its intimate 1,200 square-foot space located at 810 N Coast Hwy 101 in Encinitas.

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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;

©San Diego Food Finds By Maria Desiderata Montana

San Diego Food Finds

Vegetable Plate (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

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Voltaire Beach House

San Diego Food FindsNo beach town is complete without a salty air destination locals can call home! Inspired by the seaside beach homes of Nantucket, Voltaire Beach House is about to open its doors to the Ocean Beach community with an official grand opening in early January 2017.

Located at 4934 Voltaire Street, this neighborhood restaurant and bar is sure to connect with all who share a love of the coast with its 3,000 square-foot interior, including a wrap-around bar located both inside and outside. Patrons can also enjoy Pacific breezes on their 900 square-foot patio, perfect for dining alfresco with the warmth of a fireplace in the evenings. The antique copper design elements, rustic paint design and spiral staircase inspire feelings of a true beach haven.

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Swell Coffee Co. Mission Beach

San Diego Food Finds

Courtesy Photo

Located a block from the ocean and bay in the Mission Beach community of San Diego, CA, Swell Cafe features small batch artisan in-house roasted coffees, fresh and healthy breakfast and lunch, including smoothies, acai, and a special cold brew coffee. The crew is a friendly group of well trained baristas and passionate chefs. The outdoor patio features a living green wall, custom photo tables and the ocean breeze. Welcome to what San Diego is all about!

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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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Landini’s Sicilian Style Pizza

sicilian style pizza

courtesy photo

Although authentic pizza is available throughout the Little Italy neighborhood, it is rare to find a location that sells by the slice. Opened in 2009, Landini’s has built a strong following for its genuine Sicilian-style pies and other traditional baked meals. Its success can be measured by the lines of patrons patiently waiting along India Street to grab a taste of the hand-tossed thin crust. At least a dozen styles are available in the window for a quick bite, and a little patience will award you with any special-order pie. Choose from the more traditional pepperoni, sausage and meatball or the more adventurous combinations like BBQ chicken, spinach, artichokes and jalapenos. Daily specials include various topping combinations that appeal to any palate. Calzones, stromboli and paninis are prepared with freshly prepared dough or bread. Or opt for a dish of pasta and salad. Local craft beers and wine are also offered.

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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

The Argyle Steakhouse

Fresh Baked Popovers (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Fresh Baked Popovers (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Located on the Award Winning Aviara Golf Course, home of the Kia Classic LPGA Tournament, The Argyle Steakhouse has been a favorite amongst San Diegans and visitors alike for nearly 25 years.

The Award Winning Steakhouse proudly serves local, organic, sustainable ingredients masterfully prepared to accompany the finest cuts of California Natural Prime Beef, American and Japanese Wagyu.

The Argyle also offers lunch, featuring light California specialties; including pasta, fresh seafood, and a variety of salads and sandwiches. An à la carte Saturday and Sunday brunch is a favorite among locals, serving our take on breakfast. Located at the Aviara Golf Club,7447 Batiquitos Drive Carlsbad, CA.

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