Monello Captures Italian Spirit

San Diego Food Finds

Pasta Carbonara (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Monello’s design and decor mirrors a typical Milanese eatery complete with the downtown vibe of the San Diego bay and the familiar Italian neighborhood.

San-Diego-Food-Finds-Lupini-Beans

Lupini Beans (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Sophisticated, modern and rustic-chic, Chef Fabrizio Cavallini says it is one of the few Italian restaurants that dares to serve traditional home-cooking in a modern urban setting, similar to a restaurant you would find in Milano, Italy. “We undressed Italian dining of its obsolete and stereotypical look and taste,” he says. “We had a new menu in mind, our tradition is so rich. But we had no room for it at our Bencotto restaurant. So when the space next door became available, our heads were exploding with ideas after Valentina and Guido’s trip to Italy. When they go there, they eat twenty-four-seven and come back with a ton of new ideas.”

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Little Italy Holiday Cheer

San Diego Food FindsThe Little Italy Association and H.G. Fenton Company present the 18th Annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village, Saturday, December 3rd.

This holiday season, sidewalks in Little Italy will be filled with holiday cheer for the 18th Annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Families, friends and visitors will be able to experience two Tree Lightings for the first time this year, a Christmas Village with seasonal vendors, festive décor, live music and entertainment, holiday treats, Santa Claus and more.

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Italian Festival Rocks Little Italy

San Diego Food Finds

The largest Italian festival on the West Coast will welcome over 120,000 visitors from around the country to celebrate authentic Italian and Sicilian culture with entertainment, food and Gesso Italiano.

The Little Italy Association of San Diego is proud to host the 22nd annual FESTA!, the largest Italian cultural festival in the Western U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The streets of San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood will be filled with over 120,000 visitors from all over the world to pay tribute to the Italian heritage and culture that created this iconic neighborhood. The event will feature Italian food, al fresco dining, authentic Italian music on three difference stages, a Sicilian flag procession, street stickball and bocce ball tournaments, Gesso Italiano (Italian Chalk) and more.

“FESTA! is not only a celebration of Little Italy San Diego’s historic past, but also a time to recognize the hard work the Little Italy Association has put into making San Diego’s Little Italy a coveted neighborhood—transforming it into one of the top neighborhoods in the country,” said Marco Li Mandri, Chief Executive Administrator of the Little Italy Association. “FESTA! is also a time to celebrate our future and each other—all the Little Italy residents, community members and business and property owners that take pride in our neighborhood. We want to showcase our community’s success and Italian love with everyone and FESTA! is the perfect event to do just that.”

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Wine And Tacos Are The Perfect Match

Costa TierraMost San Diegans can attest to the fact that tacos are typically pictured alongside a salt-rimmed cocktail or an ice cold cerveza, but this August the Cohn Restaurant Group is shaking things up with the debut of a new perfectly paired sip. Enter COSTA TIERRA, the first Baja wine produced in partnership with a U.S.-owned restaurant group. Cohn Restaurant Group’s Beverage Director (and notable wine stud), Maurice DiMarino intended the red blend to be drank as an easy, approachable sipper that pairs perfectly with carne asada tacos—and what’s more, he created the blend with one of the oldest and most revered wineries in all of Baja, the beloved Bodegas de Santo Tomás. 

Starting August 29th, the Cohn Restaurant Group will be offering COSTA TIERRA by the bottle at five of their local CRG establishments including Coasterra and Island Prime on Harbor Island, Indigo Grill in Little Italy, BO-beau kitchen + garden in La Mesa, and Vintana in Escondido. Select locations will also offer by the glass pours, and the bottle will be available for retail sale at Island Prime, Coasterra and Vintana. 

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STEAM Festival On State Street

STEAM FESTIVALDon’t miss the 2nd Annual VanGo! S.T.E.A.M. Festival on State Street in Front of Washington Elementary S.T.E.A.M. Magnet School in Little Italy on Saturday, June 11th from 12 – 6 p.m.

The creativity of local students comes to life with the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Festival, a FREE community event that features silly soap box car races; live musical and visual arts performances; interactive S.T.E.A.M. activities, a fine art exhibit; local vendors; food; and a beer and wine garden. Washington Elementary integrates their community partnerships with their curriculum by having local businesses sponsor the cars and together with sponsors, students and teachers; they design, engineer and build rolling sculptures!

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Napizza Gains Attention In Little Italy

NapizzaPerched on the corner of Date and India Streets, Napizza is not only one of the newest establishments in Little Italy, 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 la taglio, a centuries-old art of utilizing special four, yeast and water, and allowing for a slow rise to create a product with no equal. The large, square-cut pieces are familiar to anyone who’s sampled street food from Italy’s larger cities.

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New Vegan Menu At Civico 1845

Civico 1845 Little Italy San Diego

Crostata di Nocciole e Amarene

Civico 1845, the Little Italy eatery that features traditional Italian flavors with a modern spin, is bringing renowned Italian/vegan chef Luca Zannoni to San Diego to help design its new Spring-time vegan menu. With a resume that includes creating menus for restaurants and hotels across the globe – including the Grand Hotel Rimini, Harry’s Bar in London and Il Bacco Ristorante in New York – Zannoni has cultivated an international reputation as an expert in organic, vegetarian and vegan cooking.

Civico 1845 San Diego

Polpettine di Miglio

“Our vegan menu has been a major differentiator for us and a huge part of the restaurant’s success,” said Pietro Gallo, who serves as Civico 1845’s vegan chef. “I have known Zannoni for years and am excited to work with him to create dishes our customers will love. Our partnership will help Civico 1845 become the standard for vegan Italian cuisine in San Diego.”

Dishes on the spring vegan menu will include new items and updated versions of the restaurant’s classic offerings, such as the lasagna and ravioli. New additions include Polpettine di Miglio in Tre Salse (vegan meatballs in three sauces), Risotto al Radicchio (risotto with radicchio lettuce, cabbage and caraway seeds) and Crostata di Nocciole e Amarene (a cherry and hazelnut tart).

On Wednesday, Feb. 24th, the restaurant will unveil the menu and donate 10 percent of the day’s vegan proceeds to The Humane League, a national organization with a San Diego chapter that reduces animal suffering by inspiring change at all levels for farmed animals. Reservations for this one-day event are encouraged, as seats are likely to fill quickly. Visit www.civico1845.com for more information.

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Latin Cuisine at Indigo Grill


Chef Deborah Scott & Executive Chef Jason Maitland Present a Brand New Dining Experience in the Heart of Little Italy

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

Opening more than a decade ago under the direction of Chef Deborah Scott, Indigo Grill has earned a reputation as one of the city’s most recognized and celebrated dining landmarks. Now, Scott and the Cohn Restaurant Group are pleased to present an entirely fresh interpretation of the acclaimed restaurant, complete with a vibrant new look and diverse menu showcasing clever twists on modern Latin cuisine.

The top-to-bottom remodel of Indigo Grill is the vision of renowned San Diego designer Philippe Beltran (BO-beau kitchen + bar, SEA 180 Coastal Tavern, 100 Wines Kitchen + Bar), who is known for his worldly aesthetic. Beltran has created a lively setting with unexpected industrial elements and hints of indigo blue threaded throughout. The redesign also features an expanded al fresco terrace complete with two fire features situated in the heart of the flourishing Little Italy district. While remaining true to the restaurant’s roots, Executive Chef Jason Maitland (Arterra Restaurant, Flavor Del Mar, Red Light District) and Chef Deborah Scott (partner/chef, Cohn Restaurant Group) present progressive culinary creations with a global twist, as well as a Peruvian-style cebiche bar and Latin-inspired desserts such as rice pudding brûlée with tart cherries. The restaurant is also focused on being a late-night dining and social destination, with evening happy hours and creative cocktails incorporating house-infused liquor.

“After years of serving the neighborhood as one of the area’s most distinguished venues, we’re ready to freshen up the menu with an exciting twist on traditional Latin flavors. We’ve brought the gifted Executive Chef Maitland on board, and he has a natural talent for constructing inventive dishes,” said Chef Deborah Scott, Partner and Executive Chef of Indigo Grill. “We’ve always received tremendous support from the community, and Indigo Grill will continue to be a place to gather and make new memories with family and friends.”

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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)

BURRATA MOZZARELLA WITH PARMA PROSCIUTTO: CREAMY BURRATA, VINE-RIPENED TOMATOES AND FRESH GENOVA BASIL PESTO (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)

BURRATA MOZZARELLA WITH PARMA PROSCIUTTO: CREAMY BURRATA, VINE-RIPENED TOMATOES AND FRESH GENOVA BASIL PESTO (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)

GAMBERETTI ALLA DIAVOLA: WOOD-FIRED SHRIMP, WHITE WINE, GARLIC, CAPERS, KALAMATA, CHILE AND TOMATO SERVED ON A BED OF POLENTA. (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)

GAMBERETTI ALLA DIAVOLA: WOOD-FIRED SHRIMP, WHITE WINE, GARLIC, CAPERS, KALAMATA, CHILE AND TOMATO SERVED ON A BED OF POLENTA. (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)

ARUGULA E PARMA: ARUGULA, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO, SHAVED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS AND LEMON DRESSING (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)

ARUGULA E PARMA: ARUGULA, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO, SHAVED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS AND LEMON DRESSING (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)

MARGHERITA PIZZA WITH MOZZARELLA, TOMATO AND BASIL (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)

MARGHERITA PIZZA WITH MOZZARELLA, TOMATO AND BASIL (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)

ISOLA PIZZA BAR
1526 INDIA STREET
SAN DIEGO, CA 92101
(619) 255-4230
www.isolapizzabar.com 

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

Craft and Commerce Pioneer

craft and commerce

Courtesy photo

Named one of the “Top 50 Bars in America” by Food & Wine, 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—with hundreds of hardbound classic novels (sourced from a local nonprofit that provides millions of books to the community) stacked on ceiling-high bookshelves, oversized glass doors with Ford Model T steering wheels for handles, and handwritten passages from John Steinbeck and David Foster Wallace scrawled on weathered wooden-slat walls and lime green booths.

Meticulous attention to detail underscores every facet of the project—from custom meat grinds and an in-house smoker to slow-melting, perfect ice cubes fashioned by San Diego’s first Kold-Draft machine. Punctuated by fresh-squeezed juices, ornate syrups created on-site for maximum flavor and the notable lack of vodka behind the bar (an odorless, tasteless spirit contradicts efforts to eliminate unnecessary ingredients), Craft & Commerce’s cocktail program is influenced by the country’s leading visionaries in New York, Chicago and San Francisco—while paired with 24 drafts that aim to celebrate San Diego’s recognition as a world leader in the craft beer movement.

Craft and Commerce, located at 675 W. Beech St. in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood, is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. For more information, please call 619-269-2202 and visit www.craft-commerce.com.

ABOUT CONSORTIUM HOLDINGS: California’s southern-most city, San Diego, has for decades been known as a casual, sleepy coastal getaway with a culinary scene to match—fish tacos and Mexican lager epitomized an attitude not unlike that of an adolescent sibling to that of its mature, celebrity chef-embellished neighbor-to-the-north. Enter Consortium Holdings, the visionary restaurateurs-come-social engineering duo that is pioneering the city’s now burgeoning cultural progression with its five ambitious concepts in as many years. Co-founders Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton have cultivated an intrinsic core philosophy—that a space should inspire, its design aesthetic and culinary /cocktail paradigm allowing for the seemingly lost art of conversation to thrive in an environment that fosters charisma, thoughtful dialogue, and the resurgence of real human interaction. In stark contrast to the overwhelming neon lights and volatile drone that emanates from plasma screens-as-art in less calculated restaurant and bar settings, Consortium Holdings’ projects eschew trendy, stagnant décor and menus in favor of an eclectic, contemporary quality borne out of the collaborative efforts of like-minded individuals with a hunger (and thirst) for innovation

ABOUT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL: Tales of the Cocktail® is the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the most respected minds on mixology for five days of cocktails, cuisine and culture. Held annually in New Orleans, this international event has something for cocktail professionals and enthusiasts alike with a spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions and tasting rooms where brands showcase their latest products. Tales of the Cocktail returns July 25th – 29th in 2012 for a historic milestone—its 10th Anniversary of rocking the cocktail world. For more information, visit www.talesofthecocktail.com.

*Courtesy information

Extraordinary Desserts San Diego

In 1988, Karen Krasne opened the first Extraordinary Desserts at 2929 5th Avenue near San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Since then, Extraordinary Desserts has become one of San Diego’s most prominent and unique dining establishments and has expanded to include a second location in San Diego’s Little Italy area at 1430 Union Street as well as a line of gourmet products and a robust online store.

From the dazzling artistry and sublime taste of its award-winning sweets to the attentive customer service, Extraordinary Desserts has built a strong reputation for its decadent, gourmet dessert creations, elegant eats, and extraordinary experience. As a result, Extraordinary Desserts is consistently a top pick by critics and readers of both local and national publications and has been featured on national television programming including the Food Network and notable publications including Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Sunset, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and Pastry Arts.

Owner and executive chef Karen Krasne studied at Paris’ best pastry schools. She uses organic ingredients when possible, and adorns each luxurious dessert with locally-grown fresh flowers, her signature edible gold leaf, stunning seasonal trimmings, and sinfully sweet sauces making her creations a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. More information about Extraordinary Desserts can be found at extraordinarydesserts.com.

*Courtesy information

Extraordinary Desserts on Urbanspoon

Shareable Plates at Davanti Enoteca

Davanti Enoteca Carmel Valley (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Davanti Enoteca Carmel Valley (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Davanti Enoteca

Davanti Enoteca is a wine bar that offers shareable plates of rustic Italian fare, boasting a seasonal menu inspired by the small farms and fisheries that dot the Italian countryside.

Davanti Enoteca Carmel Valley (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Davanti Enoteca Carmel Valley (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Diners are offered a contemporary take on rustic Italian cuisine with the ambiance of a cottage in Italy. The menu is meant to be explored and shared, offering guests the opportunity to try a variety of distinct items.

Pizza, pasta and piatti (larger plates) round out the selections. The pasta is house made daily and the simple Cacio e Pepe with pecorino and black pepper epitomizes the delicious simplicity of Italian cuisine. The Ricci di Mare e Granchio, linguine with sea urchin and crab, is a taste of the Mediterranean coast of Italy. Pizza della Terra with foraged mushrooms, braised leeks, taleggio and truffle oil or Pizza della Fattoria with farmed egg, pork belly, potato, scallions, asiago and bechamel round out more traditional selections. Piatti such as Polpo con Rafano, seared octopus, warm fingerling potato salad, marcona almonds, finnochiona and fresh horseradish aioli, is a fresh take on seafood and the Maiale alla Pastra, pork blade steak with heirloom bean ragu, arugula, spiced honey, sea salt and local olive oil is a unique alternative to steak.

Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Davanti Enoteca (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Davanti Enoteca (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

example

Escarole, gala apple, pecorino romano, celery, hazelnuts (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Pizza Con Salsiccia E Rapini: Italian Mild Sausage, Rapini, Garlic, Chili Oil, Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Pizza Con Salsiccia E Rapini: Italian Mild Sausage, Rapini, Garlic, Chili Oil, Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

sandiegofoodfinds.comRead more about Davanti Enoteca in Montana’s new book: San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and beyond.

Davanti Enoteca on Urbanspoon

Extraordinary Desserts Cake Kit

extraordianry desserts

(Courtesy photo)

Extraordinary Desserts Introduces Easy-to-Use Gourmet Cake Kit

Known for thinking outside the box when she creates extraordinary cakes and desserts, pastry chef, restaurateur and author Karen Krasne has assembled a gourmet cake kit that bundles all the items essential to home-baking her sensational Dark Chocolate Truffle Banana Cake inside a stylishly packaged box. Easy to use and perfect for budding bakers as well as more experienced home cooks, the Gourmet Cake Kit makes it a snap to bake an elegant cake that will win raves.

This professional-quality kit is loaded with top-of-the-line ingredients and equipment, including a simple-to-follow recipe, Valrhona chocolate, professional-grade pastry bag and ovenable pan, a stylish doily, imported ribbon with a floral pin, and other fine items. All the home baker needs to supply are small amounts of butter, eggs, bananas, cream and – to add the classic Karen Krasne panache to the cake’s décor – a fresh rose.

The kit was invented in response to endless requests that Extraordinary Desserts ship cakes to all points of the country. Now it can be done, and for the most affordable price of $28.95, this simple yet elegant cake for eight to 10 guests can be prepared with ease and served to applause. The kit can be ordered at Extraordinary Desserts’ online web store and will be shipped immediately or purchased at either Extraordinary Desserts locations.

About Extraordinary Desserts
In 1988, Karen Krasne opened the first Extraordinary Desserts at 2929 5th Avenue near San Diego’s Balboa Park. Since then, Extraordinary Desserts has become one of San Diego’s most prominent and unique dining establishments and has expanded to include a second location in San Diego’s Little Italy area at 1430 Union Street as well as a line of gourmet products and a robust online store. From the dazzling artistry and sublime taste of its award-winning sweets to the attentive customer service, Extraordinary Desserts has built a strong reputation for its decadent, gourmet dessert creations, elegant eats, and extraordinary experience. As a result, Extraordinary Desserts is consistently a top pick by critics and readers of both local and national publications and has been featured on national television programming including the Food Network and notable publications including Bon Appetit, The Wall Street Journal, Gourmet, Sunset, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and Pastry Arts. Owner and executive chef Karen Krasne studied at Paris’ best pastry schools. She uses organic ingredients when possible, and adorns each luxurious dessert with locally-grown fresh flowers, her signature edible gold leaf, stunning seasonal trimmings, and sinfully sweet sauces making her creations a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. More information about Extraordinary Desserts can be found at extraordinarydesserts.com.

Extraordinary Desserts, Little Italy
1430 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 294-7001

Extraordinary Desserts, Balboa Park
2929 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 294-2132

*Courtesy information

Extraordinary Desserts on Urbanspoon