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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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

Queenstown Public Gingerbread House

queenstown-public-house-gingerbread

Queenstown Public House, a New Zealand-inspired and American fare restaurant located inside a quaint historic craftsman cottage in San Diego’s Little Italy has transformed into a charming, life-sized gingerbread house to celebrate the holiday season, raise awareness and gather donations for the Little Italy Association’s annual toy drive for the foster children of New Alternatives.

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Build A Burger At STACKED

STACKED San Diego

Customization is at the heart of the STACKED concept

You can create a burger, pizza, salad or Mac ‘n’ Cheese with all of your favorite ingredients! And imagine those ingredients are fresh and flavorful, the proteins grilled to order, the vegetables crisp and fresh, the cheeses rich and creamy, the sauces and dressings freshly made from scratch.

STACKED is a full-service restaurant with an innovative ordering approach that enables you to control when you order and pay, and customize your meal in a comfortable, uninhibited way. Guests get exactly what they want, and pay for exactly what they get. So, if you remove an ingredient from a Signature Item, you pay less. If you add an ingredient, you pay more. Simple and fair!

Courtesy information

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

The Mission

So what can you expect stepping into a bistro named The Mission, strategically located on Mission Boulevard in the Mission Beach neighborhood? Nothing less than artistic and healthy food served in a bright and busy atmosphere.

STRAWBERRY GRANOLA PANCAKES (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

The bistro uses fresh and seasonal ingredients to create simple meals with complex flavors. It is a rare occasion to be seated without waiting. Focusing on giving back to the community, The Mission is regularly involved in local charities, even using the walls to adorn local artist’s works. Their sandwiches and many of the breakfasts utilize fresh baked breads from the kitchen. My favorite is the rosemary loaf, crunchy on the outside and soft inside, the subtle flavor of rosemary and olive oil is superb. Or try the fresh cinnamon bread used for their famous French toast.

PAPAS CON CHORIZO (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

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My Favorite Desserts

As a food writer, I make it a point after every meal to never pass on dessert. Not because I’m a sugar hound, dying to gain massive amounts of weight and ruin my size 6 frame, but because I really believe dessert should be more then an afterthought. You may be wondering, how do I save room for dessert? Since gluttony is not my forte, I have no problem saving room for sweet delicacies I can feature on my blog.

Live a little and check out the photos I captured of the best gourmet desserts I’ve tasted recently that are really just too good to pass up!

BICE

Beeramisu at Bice Ristorante

Bice Ristorante’s Chef de Cuisine/Pastry Chef Francesca Penoncelli studied in Italy for five years at the culinary institute in Piedmont, spending every free moment in the kitchen. “Being a young lady in the culinary world isn’t easy, ” she says. “As a woman in Italy, in order to earn the respect and appreciation from the men, you must be better then them. For me, it means working hard alongside great, but tough chefs.” The menu at Bice features modern Italian cuisine, including unique recipes created through extensive research of the current trends. The foods served at Bice are a representation of Penoncelli‘s travels, her childhood, and her feelings.

TRUST

MILK CHOCOLATE CUSTARD WITH COFFEE SORBET at TRUST Restaurant

If you’re looking for a unique farm to table experience in a high energy atmosphere where people are eating and talking loudly over ingenious food and drink prepared by an unassuming young chef, then the newly opened TRUST Restaurant in Hillcrest is the place for you.

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Halloween Fun in San Diego

san diego food findsIt’s time to celebrate the most hauntingly fun month of the year!

From family-friendly pumpkin carving to spook-tacular after-hour parties, we’ve rounded up some of the finest fall happenings of America’s Finest City. Sport your favorite costume (or lederhosen) and join in these Halloween, Oktoberfest and Day of the Dead events.

Pacific and Mission Beach:

Head to the beach where The Duck Dive has a lineup of frighteningly-good October events. Starting on October 26th, Duck Dive kicks into the Halloween spirit with their BYOB Pumpkin Carving event. Carving tools will be provided as you sip on complimentary hot cider and munch roasted pumpkin seeds. The event begins at 9:00, with judging at 11:00 p.m., so don’t miss your opportunity to win!

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Eat Local at Ironside Fish and Oyster

Ironside Fish and Oyster

Photo By Maria Desiderata Montana

Named after the previous tenant of the 1920’s–era warehouse, Ironside Metal Supply, Ironside Fish and Oyster is the most recent restaurant innovation of executive chef and partner Jason McLeod. Little Italy, which is historically a fishing village, didn’t have a single oyster bar or seafood joint amongst its dozens of restaurants. McLeod noted the missing link and decided to make a change. He created a menu chock–full of local seafood, including lobster rolls, clam chowder and a raw bar with up to eight oyster varieties. “San Diego is a known seaport city born from a local fishing industry that was once famous as the tuna capital of America,” says McLeod. “My goal at Ironside has been to reintroduce an oyster culture and approachable raw bar concept to the city’s dining scene.” The building and interior boast meticulously crafted design details and the bar menu showcases over fifty unique craft and fortified cocktails, making Ironside the preeminent dining destination in San Diego.

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Hot Cakes Are Foodie Favorites

San Diego Food Finds

Oreo Cookie Pancakes At Breakfast Republic

Breakfast has been transformed and these pancakes have taken the lead. With these hot cakes, they won’t be the only ones flipping with excitement for breakfast.

Soothe your sweet tooth with Breakfast Republic’s Oreo Cookie Pancakes that are sure to distract you from those Sunday night blues. Are you looking to mix it up? Get creative with the Flight of 3 Pancakes! Choose 3 pancakes of your liking between the original Buttermilk, Oreo Cookie, Bacon, Churro, Apples 2 Ways, Cinnamon Roll, Pineapple Upside Down or Mint Chocolate Chip. Customization at its finest!

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Celebrate National Taco Day

Romesco

Tacos at Romesco

In honor National Taco Day on October 4th, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places in San Diego to go out and grab a taco.

If you’re in the mood for a more refined taco eating experience, head downtown to Bracero Cocina de Raiz. Their Lamb Neck Barbacoa, made with kombucha pasilla salsa and garnished with cilantro, pairs well with any of their handcrafted cocktails made in their exclusive vertical bar. Vegetarian? Try their Cauliflower Tortita with avocado and pickled red onion.

Find time to head over to Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro in Bonita, a local favorite. Their Tijuana Street Food lunch special includes their mouthwatering fish or shrimp tacos. Meticulously pieced together with a Chupacabras pale ale batter, pico de gallo and fresh Mexican cream, this masterful mix of Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine is sure to have you shouting “Ay dios mio!”

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Short Ribs That Steal The Show

barleymash-stout-braised-short-ribs

Stout Braised Short Ribs at Barleymash

Despite San Diego’s proximity to the ocean and the fantastic Mexican food just south of the border, short ribs are stealing the spotlight at many local eateries. The rise in popularity comes as no surprise; this tender dish is packed with flavor and slides off the bone. Head to these six San Diego restaurants cooking up some the best short rib dishes in town.

Carmel Valley’s newest addition, WESTROOT tavern, is firmly rooted in a culture that encompasses fresh food that is infused with Southern California style. Stop by for dinner and try the All Natural Short Rib. Juicy short ribs in a demi-glaze with roasted potatoes, garlic bok choy, snap peas and chives. This dish will warm you right up with its rich demi-glaze.

Known for alcohol-infushed dishes, barleymash in the beating heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, has a beer-infused short rib dish. The Stout-Braised Short Ribs are braised for hours and served over a bed of arugula-mashed potatoes and roasted farmhouse veggies topped with crispy tobacco onions with a horseradish-coffee demi glaze. Deliciously satisfying and filling, this dish will have you coming back for more.

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San Diego Restaurants Raise The Bar Scene

bars-san-diegoLet’s face it, with each year, comes a new standard. The stakes get higher, the competition soars, and once again the bar is set higher. Have you ever wondered which San Diego restaurants are pushing these limits, shattering standards, and mastering the art of the dining scene? Look no further than these six restaurants that are, once again, raising the bar.

This prime piece of North Park real estate, Encontro , has people raving about the chic and sleek interior and relaxed atmosphere. Adorned with wood and metal accents, LED lighting, big windows and trendy barstools, the design is enough to get you in the door. Once you’re there, enjoy your choice of 21 rotating craft beers or hard root beer, while satisfying your early or late-night food cravings with one of their signature sausage plates, portobello fries, or a fresh and hearty salad.

America is rooted in giving people freedom of choice, and why should craft beer be any different? Barrel Republic has mastered this concept of self-serve with their “Freedom to Pour” motto, freedom to compare, and freedom to be amongst other like-minded craft beer enthusiasts. This is not your typical bar. At Barrel Republic in Pacific Beach or Oceanside, you are your own bartender and can sample from over 40 different rotating taps that line the wall of this vintage barrel-themed bar.

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Market Cookbook Is Here

Market Final CoverMarket Cookbook

I’ve authored many books, but the highlight of my career as a food writer was co-authoring and photographing Chef Carl Schroeder’s new cookbook. Chef Schroeder and I spent a few years working together in the kitchen at Market Restaurant. It was truly an honor to work with this talented three-time James Beard nominated chef. I also worked with Market’s most talented Executive Pastry Chef James Foran, who provided the beautiful dessert recipes for the book. You are definitely going to love this cookbook!

About the Book

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

Purchase autographed copies at Market Restaurant. Book can also be purchased at local book stores throughout San Diego and at Amazon.com.

Market Restaurant + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hip Italian Food at Pan Bon

Pan Bon

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

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

Pan Bon

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

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

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Chef Takes Pride At Duke’s La Jolla

San Diego Food Finds

Duke’s Famous Mai Tai and Hawaiian Rolls

Duke’s La Jolla is a 13,000 square foot restaurant that features two distinct dining areas and outdoor dining. Duke’s honors Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian, six-time Olympic swimming and water polo medalist and the father of modern day surfing. Guests will get a glimpse into the remarkable life of the restaurant’s namesake as well as tap into the La Jolla beach lifestyle. Pictures of Duke and Nadine Kahanamoku highlighting Duke’s remarkable life are on display along with artwork depicting the La Jolla beach lifestyle including “Dreaming” an image by photographer John Maher taken at Black’s Beach.

Duke's

Coconut Shrimp Croquettes

Duke’s executive chef Anthony Sinsay attended the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, A Le Cordon Bleu accredited Institute. Along the way, he worked for a few notable chefs and restaurants, as well as some of the best kitchens in the country. “I like to think that the skills I’ve attained over my career are special,” he says. “Every experience has helped mold me into the chef I am today.”

Duke's

Korean Sticky Ribs

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New Cucina Sorella In Kensington

Cucina Sorellacucina SORELLA Brings a Pasta-Forward Approach to Urban Kitchen Group’s Longstanding Kensington Location

A leader in San Diego’s culinary transformation for over two decades, celebrated restaurateur Tracy Borkum unveils cucina SORELLA—the newest sister concept to the Urban Kitchen Group collection of restaurants (CUCINA urbana; CUCINA enoteca in Del Mar, Newport Beach and Irvine).  

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Chef Table Dinners At Kettner Exchange

Kettner ExchangeThe Chef’s Table dinners at Kettner Exchange in the heart of Little Italy, bring eight to ten guests into the kitchen with acclaimed Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski for a masterfully curated and always creatively themed five-course dinner. Each dish is paired with a signature cocktail from EATER San Diego’s “2015 Bartender of the Year” and Beverage Director Steven Tuttle, or select wine, creating the ultimate fine dining experience.

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Silo Craft Beer and Bites

SiloKick-off San Diego’s Craft Beer Month at the 6th Craft Beer + Bites event at SILO in Makers Quarters. Taking place on Friday, June 3rd from 5 – 9 p.m., the outdoor community space in the heart of downtown will be lined with unique pours from over 20 local breweries and a roster of gourmet food trucks, all to benefit local brewers through San Diego Brewers Guild. Drink in all that San Diego summer has to offer for a relaxed evening of tasty bites, crafty brews, fun outdoor games, local artisan vendors and live music!

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Three Sheets To The Wind Cocktail Menu

Grant Grill Cocktail MenuJust in time for summer, Grant Grill’s Chef de Bar, Cory Alberto has launched his newest seasonal cocktail menu curated with nautical intention. The menu spins off of traditional maritime tales, and includes distinctive coastal-inspired flavors and ingredients. Where better to enjoy cocktails like the new Star of India, infused with Old Harbor Navy Strength, then in the heart of San Diego, one of the largest port cities and Naval bases.

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Carnitas Snack Shack Expands To Waterfront Location

carnitas snack shackCarnitas’ Snack Shack Owners Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud Bring Their Pork-Centric Eatery to the Waterfront

Culinary power couple Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud along with their pet pig, Carnitas, are thrilled to announce the latest addition to their growing family of cult favorite, pork-centric eateries.  Carnitas’ Snack Shack’s new Embarcadero location boasts nearly 10,000-square-feet of prime waterfront real estate, capturing the essence of the quintessential Southern California lifestyle.

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Where to Find Gluten Free Desserts

Gluten Free Grapefruit Panna Cotta at Bracero

Gluten Free Grapefruit Panna Cotta at Bracero

Gluten helps food maintain its shape and for some, it can cause celiac disease, which prevents nutrients from properly being absorbed. If you’re gluten-intolerant or would like to try a gluten-free treat in honor of the month, visit these San Diego restaurants that provide delicious gluten-free desserts that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth! gluten free

Mixing bold Latin flavors with clever Asian touches, Barrio Star incorporates vibrant flavors in all of their dishes. Missing out on chocolate indulgences due to your gluten-free diet? The Flourless Chocolate Chipotle Cake is just the dessert for you! Served with ganache and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this treat comes without gluten… and disappointment! gluten free

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Craft Beer Week

Craft Beer Week True North TavernIt’s hard to argue that the best way to celebrate American Craft Beer Week is by visiting San Diego’s bars with a plethora of local craft brews for you to choose from. There’s something about the sun and the city’s laid-back atmosphere that enhance the enjoyment of a cold craft brew. It might be the freshness of local kegs being tapped shortly after shipping out. It could be San Diego’s establishments’ eagerness to show off those local creations that are winning awards across the country and the world.  Whatever it is – join your west coast beer neighbors to celebrate the lagers, ambers, IPAs and more that American brew masters are producing and perfecting. Kick off the drinking on May 16th; order a pint, a mug or a bottle and join in on the American Craft Brew festivities at any of these San Diego bars.

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Winemaker Dinner at Bracero

BraceroBracero’s Meet the Winemaker dinner is back! On Monday, May 23, Bracero Cocina de Raiz will offer diners a unique opportunity to meet Phil Gregory of Vena Cava Winery located in Valle de Guadalupe. Bringing the essence of Valle de Guadalupe to the city of San Diego, this wine tasting experience is one not to miss.

Known for their inventive wine making techniques, Vena Cava is a leader in the new generation of winemakers that have sprouted in Valle de Guadalupe. Vena Cava aims to create a harmony between high quality wines and the sustainability of the land. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., enjoy a night of wine and food on the upstairs patio of one of Little Italy’s most popular destinations. Bracero will be serving Vena Cava’s Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Big Blend, which will be accompanied by small plates from the Bracero kitchen. Toast the end of the evening with an exquisite glass of Vena Cava’s sparkling Rosé Barbera.

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New Summer Sippers at Soda and Swine

Soda and Swine Summer SippersSummer sippers take a berry good twist at Soda and Swine as they team up with Liberty Public Market to develop seasonal cocktails and treats using fresh ingredients currently for sale at the market.

Kicking off this fruitful friendship, this meatball eatery has launched their Study in Strawberry menu, which includes delectable bites such as the Strawberry Salad, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and a Strawberry Soft Serve with a basil-infused glaze and strawberry sauce. For those imbibers in the bunch, these cocktail gurus have rolled out a strawberry-liscious list of concoctions that include the Strawberry Poptart Shake, an adult-only boozy mix of bourbon, dutch gin, strawberry liqueur, almond cordial and house made strawberry ice cream, and the refreshing Strawberry Fields Forever, made with strawberry infused gin, fresh fruit and citrus to create a beautiful (and bountiful) delight for the palate. This Study in Strawberries is just the first of many seasonally focused menus, with a Study in Stone Fruits set to appear later on in the summer.

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