Clever Chef At Catania Hits All The Right Notes

Catania

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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Landini’s Sicilian Style Pizza

sicilian style pizza

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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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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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Experience the Flavors of Italy at CUCINA Enoteca

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

As a leader in San Diego’s culinary landscape for the last seventeen years, celebrated proprietor, restaurateur and interior designer Tracy Borkum’s CUCINA enoteca is a beautiful two-story, 7,000 sq ft restaurant and wine shop located in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Squash Blossoms (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

The exceptional culinary team is led by Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli, who combines the flavors of Italy with the organic freshness of California. Keeping in line with the signature CUCINA experience, the modern Italian kitchen-meets-rustic-farmhouse concept presents guests with the same highly curated “restaurant to retail” environment found in their existing locations. Offering diners nearly everything for sale, including the customized furniture, lighting and décor, CUCINA enoteca Del Mar also features a dedicated wine shop where guests can purchase hand-selected wines at retail price, either to enjoy with their meal or take to go.

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Italian Inspired Bottega Americano

Italian Inspired Bottega Americano

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Located inside the Thomas Jefferson School of Law directly across the street from the city’s new Central Library in San Diego’s East Village, Bottega Americano is an Italian–inspired restaurant and specialty food marketplace that invites guests to dine in a fun and exciting dining hall.

Together, there are four notable Bottega owners who bring to life a new genre of dining inspired by old–world European style, including Giuseppe Ciuffa, founder and CEO of Giuseppe Fine Restaurants & Fine Catering; avid foodie, investor and East Village resident Chad Ruyle; restaurateurGreg Van de Velde, who most recently managed the iconic Bertrand at Mister A’s restaurant; and noted chef David Warner, formerly of San Diego’s beachfront hotspot JRDN. “My partners and I had a strong vision for the project from the beginning,” says Ciuffa. “Chef Warner and I work together with our culinary team on all of the menu ideas. So instead of having just one chef with only one vision, we are inspired by many different tastes, trends and experiences.”

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PrepKitchen Little Italy

San Diego Food Finds

Grilled Bone Marrow

Prepkitchen, the sister restaurant of critically heralded San Diego staple Whisknladle, is going strong in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood, melding artisanal ingredients with handcrafted touches to create unpretentious, convenient dining with a nod to all things comforting and gourmet.

San Diego Food Finds

Butter Lettuce Salad

Located on the 2nd floor with a spectacular view of India and Date streets, Prepkitchen Little Italy boasts an airy and comfortable dining room and bar area that is welcoming and inviting. Nearly all design elements are salvaged or antiqued, lending to the restaurant’s hip-meets-home vibe. From communal dining tables to an inviting lounge area, Prepkitchen sets itself up to create an unparalleled social dining experience for patrons.

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Chef Leads With Heart At Savoie

Savoie

Seared Scallops (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Mikel Anthony started his culinary career by studying the classical techniques at the Art Institute of California in San Diego. After helping to facilitate the opening of four restaurants in America’s Finest City, he quickly learned several techniques and skills. “I’ve had many mentors, from culinary instructors at the Art Insitute to chefs such as Chad White, Daniel Barron and Andres Hinojosa, all of whom helped develop my skill set,” he says. “I’m still in contact with them and often ask for advice. It’s important to have wise counsel.”

Savoie

Pulpo (Braised Octopus) (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Currently the executive chef at Savoie restaurant in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, Anthony has created a menu that he believes is a solid interpretation of the owners vision, also taking the guests and demographics into consideration. He enhances his dishes with exciting flavors from France, Italy, and Spain, sourcing produce and meats from some of the best purveyors who work with local farmers across the United States. “I like to frequent Specialty Produce and check out all the goodies in the farmers market section.”

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Top 5 Health Conscious Restaurants

With health-conscious New Year’s resolutions in full swing, opt for our 5 best delicious and guilt-free dishes that won’t have you breaking your resolution or depriving your taste buds.

health conscious restuarants

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Italian food is notorious for its starchy and carb-filled meals, but Monello knows that authentic Italian should be light and fresh. Their Alla Griglia is the perfect example of this. Made with grilled octopus, arugula, fennel and tomatoes, this delicious dish will leave you feeling satisfied and guilt-free.

Monello
750 W. Fir Street
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 501-0030
www.lovemonello.com

health conscious restaurants

Courtesy photo

Mister A’s
2550 5th Ave. #406
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 239-1377
www.bertrandatmisteras.com

Mister A’s not only has a great selection of healthful food options, but offers an assortment of “skinny cocktails” as well! Sip without shame on a Smoked Kiwi Margarita made with La Nina Mezcal, kiwi puree, Triple Sec, fresh lime and agave syrup or the Dreams of Green, a delicious blend of Hendricks Gin, cucumber, basil and fresh lime.

Rooftop 600

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RoofTop600 knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that’s why they dedicated an entire section of their menu to dishes that are “Significantly Less Bad For You”. Have no fear for these nutritious dishes do not compromise taste in the name of health. Treat yourself to Malt Roasted Almond Muesli or Steel Cut Oatmeal served with brown sugar, raisins and your choice of fresh berries or apple compote for the perfect start to a positive day.

RoofTop600 at Andaz San Diego
600 F Street
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 849-1234
www.rooftop600.com

Bottega Americano

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Although brunch is notorious for being a decadent and indulgent meal that can sacrifice an entire week of healthy eating, Bottega Americano provides health-conscious diners with plenty of delicious dishes to choose from! Sip on a Garden Variety (capurro pisco, meyer lemon, celery juice, cynar, cumin) as you enjoy the Power Frittata, a hearty combination of egg whites, five herb pesto, crescenza cheese, oven roasted tomatoes, quinoa and arugula or the Slow Cooked Farro Oatmeal served with Temecula honeycomb, caramel apples, dates, cinnamon and seasonal fruit.

Bottega Americano
1195 Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-7800
www.bottegaamericano.com

TheWestgateHotel

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Created by renowned San Diego food writer, Jeanne Jones, The Westgate Room’s Curried Chicken Salad is the ideal dish for those looking to keep their New Year’s resolution intact while dining out. This grilled chicken breast salad comes with Granny Smith apples, celery, pine nuts, golden raisins, mango chutney and seasonal fruits.

The Westgate Hotel
1055 2nd Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
(619)238-1818
www.westgatehotel.comCourtesy information PR Chemistry

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

Maria’s Almond Tiramisu Recipe

almond tiramisu recipe

(recipe and photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Also known as a “Tuscan Trifle,” tiramisu, which translates to “pick me up,” is a luscious melt-in-your-mouth Italian layered cake.

The origins of tiramisu are a bit murky. Legend has it that a tiramisu-like dessert was created in Siena during the 17th century. But the known facts point to the dessert’s history as being fairly recent. The first documented tiramisu recipe appeared in 1983, in a book by Giovanni Capnist called “I Dolci del Veneto” (The Desserts of Veneto).

Since then, this dessert has become popular all over Italy and the United States. Different variations of the recipe exist, with ladyfingers, eggs, espresso and mascarpone cheese as the key components.

I don’t like the use of eggs in this recipe, since there is a slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness when consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs. So I have created a version without eggs that has a wonderful almond flavor, is light and airy, tastes authentic and is easy to prepare.

Buon Appetito!

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Civico 1845 In Little Italy

The Next Generation of Italian Cuisine In Little Italy San Diego

Civico 1845 Little Italy

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Straight-from-Italy brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo are serving up authentic Italian cuisine that is anything but “old school.” Situated in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy, Civico 1845 (pronounced CHEE-vee-ko), provides a modernized Italian dining experience – with an array of vegan dishes included.

Located at 1845 India Street, Civico 1845 is a contemporary Italian restaurant that features fresh flavors and revamped versions of Italian classics. The Gallos’ southern Italian roots serve as the inspiration for much of the restaurant, both in its cuisine and design.

Civico 1845

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

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Italian Meatball Soup Recipe

Italian Meatball Soup Recipe

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Soup with a bite: Italian meatball soup recipe is family-favorite comfort food

My Italian upbringing meant “meatballs in the house” — meatballs covered with marinara, fried meatballs, baked meatballs, meatball sandwiches, you name it. I thought making meatballs had been explored at every angle imaginable, until I discovered my mom’s meatball soup.


Italian meatball soup is comforting, delicious and easy to prepare


Back in the day, when I came home from school, a pot of simmering goodness was often waiting for me. Smelling the aroma of fresh garlic, I remember lifting up the large lid off the soup pot and seeing little meatballs floating about in a sea of greens and bright orange carrot slices. It was even more special than traditional meatballs covered with sauce, because it was a fun way to eat soup.

A tad earthy and all-around comforting, delicious, and a bit unexpected, this is one of the best soup recipes from my mother’s kitchen. It’s easy to prepare in just one pot, the ingredients are affordable, and it’s ideal for lunch or dinner now that fall is in the air.

Your family will love it so much that you’ll want to make it often.

Italian Meatball Soup With Organic Mixed Greens

Makes 8 servings

  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces organic mixed greens and spinach salad mix, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1½ cups bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pecorino-Romano cheese, for garnish

1. Pour chicken broth into a large sauce pot and set aside.

2. Rinse and drain the mixed greens, set aside.

3. In a large bowl combine ground beef, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and eggs. With your hands, incorporate all ingredients until thoroughly combined.

4. Roll meat mixture into meatballs, as big or as little as you like. Place meatballs on a large plate.

5. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat just a bit and carefully drop meatballs in, one at a time.

6. Add mixed greens, carrots and olive oil. Cover and let soup simmer until greens are wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

7. Ladle soup into bowls and serve. Garnish with grated Pecorino-Romano cheese.

*This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego

Italian Meatball Soup RecipeGet more of my Italian recipes in my newest book San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond

As ethnic neighborhoods in other cities assimilate to American life, the exuberant local flavor of San Diego’s Little Italy remains both culturally and culinarily distinct. Tucked between Interstate 5 and San Diego Bay southeast of San Diego International Airport, the blocks surrounding the landmark Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church contain many of the most notable eateries and gourmet cafés in “America’s Finest City.” Join Maria Desiderata Montana, a daughter of that Italian heritage and one of the city’s most notable food writers, on this savory tour through the zesty Italian food traditions, businesses and recipes both in Little Italy and across San Diego.

Three Day Fun at KAABOO Del Mar

KAABOO Del Mar 2015 from KAABOO Del Mar on Vimeo.

 THREE-DAY EXPERIENCE OF ENTERTAINMENT, VISUAL AND CULINARY ARTS PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MERCEDES BENZ

SET FOR SEPTEMBER 18-20, 2015 AT THE DEL MAR RACETRACK & FAIRGROUNDS

The inaugural KAABOO Del Mar experience is set to make an impact on the U.S. festival circuit with an initial line-up led by headliners No Doubt, The Killers and Zac Brown Band.  Set for September 18-20, 2015 at the world-famous Del Mar Racetrack & Fairgrounds in Del Mar (San Diego), CA, KAABOO Del Mar, presented in partnership with Mercedes Benz, will offer music lovers an unforgettable weekend with three days of performances on seven stages and six unparalleled experiences: Humor Me, Palate, Indulgences, ArtworK, Encore, and Posh Nosh, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.  Watch and share KAABOO’s lineup announcement at:  www.vimeo.com/kaaboodelmar/lineup.

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Classic French Cuisine at Bellamy’s

Classic French Cuisine at Bellamy's

Burrata and Prosciutto (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Located in Downtown Escondido, the award winning Bellamy’s restaurant is a hidden gem that offers classic French cuisine and a unique farm-to-table dining experience. Think California Modern Cuisine with French influences in a cozy yet upscale environment (new remodel coming soon).

Bellamy's

California Bouillabaisse (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Originally from France, award-winning Chef Patrick Ponsaty is a fifth-generation chef and one of only two French Master Chefs in San Diego. He trained with his father Andre Ponsaty at his father’s restaurant Cochon de Lait in Cazeres France. As a teenager, Ponsaty moved on to become an apprentice at Darroze Restaurant (1 michelin Star) and continued on to successfully pass the necessary exams.

Ponsaty says his mentor is chef Didier Oudill who trained chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and Martin Berrasateguy (all at 3 star restaurants). “Didier showed me how to create a amazing dishes with noble products like tomatoes, sardines and anchovies. It’s easy to create a good dish with truffles or caviar.”

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Kale and Strawberry Salad Recipe

Recipe and Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

This light and healthy Kale and Strawberry salad is the perfect side dish for those sultry summer days!

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Gourmet Fare At The Front Porch

THE FRONT PORCH ANNOUNCES NEWEST LOCATION OF ITS GOURMET SPECIALTY MARKET AND TASTING ROOM

The Front PorchSuccessful Retail Concept Set to Expand, Bring Gourmet Goods and Specialty Items from Around the World, and Around the Corner, to Coronado 

The Front Porch, one of San Diego’s favorite neighborhood retail shops, known for its curated collection of handcrafted, gourmet food and specialty goods from around the world and around the corner, today announced it has expanded with a second location of its successful retail shop and tasting room, in scenic Coronado. The Front Porch Coronado, set to open in early July 2015, will bring gourmet pantry items, kitchenware, luxe home décor, garden, and vintage finds specially selected from both local purveyors as well as from some of the world’s most exciting locales, to San Diego’s most renowned resort city.

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Organic Fresh Pasta In Little Italy

Organic Fresh Pasta In Little Italy

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Known for their fresh homemade pasta, Bencotto Italian Kitchen and its “little brother” restaurant next door, Monello, have made a big change this year. Both restaurants are saying arrivederci to normal pasta as they announce they will only be serving organic pasta. After extensive research and taste testing, owners Valentina and Guido selected a supplier in Parma, Italy which offers a large selection of organic flours, certified among the best in the world.

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Wine and Roses Charity Event

Wine And RosesDon’t Miss Our Favorite Event of The Year!

Wine and Roses Charity Wine Tasting at The Grand Del Mar Hotel on June 7th, 2015


The 32nd annual Wine and Roses Charity Wine Tasting will make a lavish return to the luxurious location of The Grand Del Mar Hotel this spring for this year’s can’t-miss charitable event. The fundraiser, put on by the Social Service Auxiliary of San Diego and the San Diego International Wine Competition, will be held from 3-6 pm on Sunday, June 7. All proceeds will benefit youth summer camp, Camp Oliver, located in Descanso, Calif. This ticketed event is open to the public, and prices begin at $100 for general admission, $150 and $250 for VIP admission, and $2,200 for a VIP Table.

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Mister A’s Commemorates 50 years

San Diego’s Most Iconic Restaurant to Host Series of Celebrations Throughout 2015

Mister A's

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Mister A’s

For 50 years Mister A’s, the iconic penthouse restaurant in Bankers Hill now owned by restaurateur Bertrand Hug, has been a landmark of fine dining for San Diegans and visitors alike. To celebrate a half century of success, Mister A’s has unveiled a new logo, featuring the classic styling and red hue of its famous sign and website, and will host a series of celebrations throughout the year.

“I am honored to own one of the most recognizable restaurants in San Diego and humbled by the incredible support diners have shown since I bought the restaurant in 1999,” said Bertrand Hug. “Our staff has worked hard to honor the standards set by original owner, John Alessio, who put the ‘A’ in Mister A’s so many years ago.  The restaurant has been the site of thousands of memorable moments during the past 50 years and we knew that a one night celebration just wouldn’t do.”

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Celebrate at the Taste of Little Italy

San Diego Italian Food

Buy the book here before you go tasting!

Mark your calendars for the “Taste of Little Italy” on Wednesday, June 17 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm in Little Italy. The notable culinary hub is inviting visitors to stroll down the streets with their Taste Passport and experience the neighborhood’s one-of-a-kind eateries. Restaurants will open their doors for food lovers to enjoy a taste of one of their most popular dishes.    

·         The annual “Taste of Little Italy” provides each ticketholder with a Taste Passport mapping out a list of participating restaurants and their specific menu offerings.

·         Participants walk an easy route to each restaurant and receive each eatery’s tasting in exchange for a stamp on their passport! OlivePR

·         There are three different passport routes for foodies to choose from – a south route, a north route and a combined route, each route features over a dozen different restaurants.

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Jazz Supper Club Returns

Jazz Supper Club Returns to Cusp Dining & Drinks This Spring

Jazz Supper Club Live, Monthly Performances to Feature Gilbert Castellanos

Known for its craft cocktails, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and stunning views of the Pacific, Cusp Dining and Drinks is adding to its list with a whole new season of Jazz Supper Club. On April 30 and May 28th, the Jazz Supper Club will once again take over the 11th floor ocean view eatery, where the popular and extremely talented Gilbert Castellanos will be performing. The trumpet virtuoso has established himself as one of the nation’s most inventive improvisers in stirring live performances, so it was an easy choice to bring Castellanos on to perform at Cusp’s Spring Supper Clubs. nth element

Held on the last Thursday of each month, guests of Jazz Supper Club can enjoy a worldly dinner and a live concert for $55/pp, which includes three courses. Reservations can be made starting at 5 p.m. Make sure to not miss a single tune as the music starts at 6:30pm and plays until 9:30pm. Come get a front row seat to one of the most delicious and breathtaking sunset concerts you’ll see in a long time.  858-551-3620 – cusprestaurant.com

Cucina Urbana

In the heart of Banker’s Hill, Cucina Urbana is a California inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop that’s constantly packed with people chatting, having fun, and enjoying great food and drink with their friends and family.

Successfully providing a value-driven dining experience for all guests, the restaurant’s interior evokes a modern kitchen combined with the history and comfort of an old rustic country farmhouse while embracing the elements of community dining and family-style presentations. “It is our intention to provide incredible food and wine at affordable prices in a very interesting atmosphere,” says Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli. “Our commitment to fine-dining service principles has also been a key part of our success.”

California Inspired Italian Kitchen

(John Dole Photography)

Read more about Cucina Urbana and get Chef Magnanelli’s recipe for Ricotta Gnudi in the ‘San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City’.

San-Diego-Food-Finds-Chefs-Table-BookMaria Desiderata Montana is the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego (Globe Pequot Press), San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City (2014 San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Lifestyle Book Cooking & Home, Lyons Press), San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond (History Press), Market Restaurant + Bar Cookbook (Lyons Press) and The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Cookbook. She is extensively published in several newspapers and magazines, where she writes a variety of food and entertainment stories as well as her own monthly recipe series. Maria guest appears on local radio and TV to share her knowledge of food and cooking, and regularly assists celebrity and high profile chefs with cookbook projects.

Cucina Urbana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Patio Dining at Hacienda de Vega

Patio Dining at Hacienda de Vega

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Located at the south end of the City of Escondido, in San Diego’s North County Inland, Hacienda de Vega is nestled in an original adobe home dating back to the 1930s. The 1.6-acre Hacienda features an incredible outdoor dining patio surrounded by a lavish landscape with tropical flowers and complete with its own ponds and waterfalls. At the heart of this Hacienda is the Mexican kitchen, a place where friends and family are brought together to share foods and spices that are turned into great feasts. The cuisine offers a taste of some of the real regional cuisines of México from both past and present. The food is deeply rooted in family tradition and the menu features the native cuisine of the Aztecs complete with recipes brought over by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1492. Some recipes have changed with time while others have remained unchanged for over 500 years. From the pleasures of antojitos with their different salsas and cheeses, to the enjoyment of elaborate guisos, with their adobos, moles and recados this authentic Mexican has two main objectives: to nourish the body and to satisfy the soul. Truly a lavish patio experience with deep roots in southern California tradition.

Hacienda Margaritas (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Hacienda Margaritas (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Hacienda Margarita (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Hacienda Margarita (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Caesar Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Caesar Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Hacienda Burrito (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Hacienda Burrito (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

©San Diego Food Finds, By Maria Desiderata Montana

Hacienda de Vega Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Feast at Cucina Enoteca Del Mar

Feast at Cucina Enoteca Del Mar

(Courtesy photo)

Surrounded with lush greenery, citrus trees, hot-dipped metal chairs, and geometric-shaped lighting fixtures, CUCINA enoteca Del Mar’s second-story open-air garden patio is the place to see and be seen this summer. A feast for the palate and the eyes, guests can enjoy a unique outdoor dining experience while sampling the freshest dishes including stuffed fried squash blossoms and lemon roasted beet and avocado salad. To top it all off, happy hour is offered seven days a week from 3-6pm, and the patio is pet friendly, so furry friends can join the fun as well. The social hotspot also recently took home honors for Gayot’s 2014 Hot 25 Restaurants in the US, Open Table’s 2014 Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants, and Eater’s “Stone Cold Stunner” for its jaw-dropping design. (2730 Via de La Valle | www.cucinaenoteca.com | 858.704.4500)

Candied Lemon and Ginger Slices

Candied Lemon And Ginger Slices

photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

I have an organic lemon tree in my backyard that yields more lemons than I know what to do with. This recipe adds a hint of ginger for a subtle, yet spicy kick. There is enough sugar in this recipe to keep the lemons tasting tart, but not too sweet. If you like it sweeter, feel free to add more sugar. I also like to dry the lemons out a bit in the oven for a slightly chewy texture.

Candied Lemon and Ginger Slices

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger root
  • 3-4 lemons, cut into thin slices
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place water, sugar and ginger in a medium skillet; bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until all sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to medium-low and add lemon slices in 1 layer.

Steep the lemon slices for about 15 minutes, or until the rind is translucent. Carefully remove lemons with tongs and arrange slices in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake lemon slices until dried, approximately 30 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe by Maria Desiderata Montana

Don’t Miss Third Annual VinDiego

Third Annual VinDiego Wine & Food Festival to take over Liberty Station April 10-11, 2015

Vin Diego

San Diego’s premier wine-only event returns with award-winning wineries and the city’s finest restaurants

America’s finest city will once again become the epicenter of the California wine world as the Third Annual VinDiego Wine & Food Festival takes over NTC Liberty Station in Point Loma Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11, 2015. Wine and food enthusiasts can savor more than 300 unique tastes of unlimited award-winning wine from top wineries and delectable food and appetizers from more than 20 of San Diego’s finest restaurants while enjoying live music and an upbeat atmosphere.

“VinDiego is now in it’s third year and we have selected only the best wineries and restaurants to team up this April,” said David Fraschetti, executive producer of VinDiego Wine & Food Festival. “We created this event to bring together those who want to enjoy award-winning wine, delicious food, live music and tons of fun in a high-class environment.”

Vin Diego

The VinDiego Grand Tasting will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at NTC Promenade in Liberty Station located at 2640 Historic Decatur Road. More than 75 wineries will provide more than 300 unique tastes of unlimited wine alongside San Diego’s finest restaurants. The festival will feature elite wineries from California and Oregon as well as exclusive Paso Robles CAB Collective Member wineries. This elite group of 18 top-tier wineries from the Paso Robles area is known for making high-quality Cabernet and Bordeaux blend wines.

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