SMARTS Farm Open House

San Diego Food FindsSMARTS Farm is sharing the spirit of the season at its new home in downtown’s East Village neighborhood. As the community’s only non-profit urban garden, SMARTS Farm actively gives back year-round, connecting nearby residents, families and underserved youth to gardening practices and academic enrichment programs. 

On Saturday, December 17th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., SMARTS Farm is inviting neighborhood friends and local San Diego families to take part in their Holiday Open House. Learn, grow and give back as the non-profit opens its garden doors for a morning filled with holiday horticulture and winter wreath making alongside a line up of family-oriented festivities and education. The event is open to the public and is free to attend, with a $5 suggested donation for adult participation. All proceeds directly benefit SMARTS Farm’s future neighborhood garden projects and youth enrichment programs. 

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Dunedin North Park

DunedinDunedin North Park (DNP for short) is another New Zealand themed restaurant concept by owners Matt Baker and PJ Lamont (owners of Bare Back Grill, Raglan Public House and Queenstown Public House.

Dunedin was designed by Michael Soriano who also is behind the decor of Queenstown and Raglan. The restaurant’s design encompasses all that is organic and naturally beautiful in Dunedin, New Zealand and pays respect to the agriculture, architecture and the natural topography of the land. The DNP circle icon is attributed to the Koru symbol which represents new beginnings, positive, change, personal growth and hope for the future.

The cuisine at Dunedin draws from New Zealand favorites and focuses on the use of natural and organic ingredients in a relaxing comfortable outdoor dog friendly patio.

Dunedin is located at 3501 30th Street in North Park.

Dunedin North Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Holiday Specials Under $10

San Diego Food FindsThe holidays are here, which means the season of spending has also arrived. Make your wallet happy by spending less before the time of giving with these San Diego restaurants and bars that offer happy hour entrees and drinks, all under $10!

Indulge in “farm-to-fork” munchies made with organic ingredients and drinks to pair at Farmer’s Bottega, every day between 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday all night at the bar. The Organic Grape Tomato Bruschetta and the Heirloom Tomato Flatbread are perfect starters for the evening and should be enjoyed with a glass of the House Red Wine, a Fresh Puree Bellini in either Strawberry or Blackberry, or a Kombucha cocktail as a Mojito, Margarita, or Mule.

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We Love Zumbar Coffee

Zumbar Coffee
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Located in the busy tech center of Sorrento Valley, Zumbar Coffee is a diminutive shop with a huge reputation for serving some of the best coffee in the area. Taking a craftsman’s approach to roasting, they have perfected the process using a vintage, cast-iron coffee roaster situated right behind the ordering counter, giving every patron a chance to see/hear the action. A small selection of pastries and breads are also available, delivered from VG’s Donuts and Opera Patisserie every morning. Some regulars believe that the coffee actually advances science, and I have to agree, given the buzzing conversation during my last visit. They also sell fresh-roasted beans at the shop or online, so you’re never too far away from a great cup of joe. Zumbar Coffee and Tea, 10920 Roselle St., San Diego, CA 92121; (858) 622-0000; zumbarcoffee.com; Coffee/Tea. ©San Diego Food Finds by Maria Desiderata Montana.

Zumbar Coffee & Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cravory Cookie Day

San Diego Food Finds
The Grinch

THE CRAVORY CELEBRATES NATIONAL COOKIE DAY WITH $1 COOKIES & LAUNCH OF NEW HOLDIDAY FLAVORS

The Cravory is celebrating National Cookie Day (Sunday, December 4th) by launching their limited-edition, holiday cookie flavors and offering individual signature and holiday cookies for $1 each. This special is available for one day and in-store only at The Cravory’s Point Loma and Carlsbad Cookie Shops while supplies last.

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JRDN at Tower 23

JRDN
Tuna Sashimi with Avocado Mousse, Tempura and Charred Green Onion Ponzu

Enter JRDN at Tower23 Hotel and join the fun at the bar, or take a seat in the sleek and contemporary dining room that includes a massive 70-foot lighted “wave wall” mural. A spacious open-air patio is also the perfect place to enjoy ocean views and watch passersby traveling on the meandering boardwalk. A distinctively modern menu utilizes hand-selected, all-natural meats, the finest seafood from sustainable sources, and locally grown organic produce. It’s a perfect brunch destination. Dine alfresco by the ocean and devour Mama’s Baked French Toast with sugar and spice pumpkin, whipped mascarpone cheese, and maple syrup. A local favorite is the chilaquiles and eggs, with chorizo, salsa, queso fresco, avocado, and lime crema. If you dine in the evening, be sure to try one of the fresh catches of the day, or the uber-savory lobster potpie. Open for lunch and dinner daily, brunch on the weekends. JRDN at Tower23, 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, CA 92109; (858)   270-2323;   t23hotel.com;   California   Modern; $$$$.

JRDN
Apple Salad with Grapes, Frisee, Endive, Brie Cheese and Toasted Almonds with Honey Lemon + Cardamom Dressing

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Breakfast Republic Encinitas Style

San Diego Food Finds
Oreo Cookie Pancakes

Known for their innovative breakfast menu, bright & colorful décor, and humor-cracking signage, Breakfast Republic has hatched another location in Encinitas. The Encinitas location is the first North County location for the brand, and is also the largest at 3,500 square feet plus an additional 700 square foot patio space. New décor/design pieces for this location include an ‘egg-cellent’ lounge area with egg chairs and tables, and cheeky sayings written across booth tables, such as “Brunch: The socially acceptable excuse for day drinking.”

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Grant Grill Winter Cocktails

San Diego Food Finds
Fall In New England

In the spirit of the holiday season, Grant Grill’s Chef de Bar, Cory Alberto is pleased to present his new seasonal winter cocktail menu – The Giving Tree.

Created in tandem with lead mixologist Jeff Josenhans’ new cider project to launch in early 2017, Cory Alberto takes advantage of all that nature has to offer this time of year, with The Giving Tree cocktail menu, also based off his favorite children’s book by legendary, Shel Silverstein. Each cocktail is inspired by a gift from trees including flavors from oak and apple trees, or smoke driven flavors from wood, bark, or fruit. 

New additions to Grant Grill’s winter cocktail menu, The Giving Tree, showcase everything from cedar and blossom foam to flaming cinnamon sticks and more.

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Easy Miso Soup Recipe

San Diego Food Finds
Recipe and Photography By Maria Desiderata Montana

While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I make it a point to pick up a box or two of their Miso Ginger Broth. It’s the perfect base for my favorite Miso Soup With Tofu and Mushrooms. After all, nothing tastes better then a light and healthy soup for lunch or dinner!

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Holiday Movie Night

San Diego Food FindsGather the family and get in the holiday spirit at Hiatus Lounge. On Saturday, Dec. 17 from 4-7pm, families can enjoy a classic holiday movie on Hiatus’ outdoor screen. Cozy up to themed cocktails like hot toddies, and order small plates from the Cusp kitchen. Kids can nosh on s’mores and sip hot cocoa fireside. For those who bring in a toy to donate, Hiatus will offer complimentary popcorn to enjoy during the screening. The Holiday Movie Night is free and open to the public. Just bring a blanket and good spirits! Hiatus Lounge at Hotel La Jolla – 7955 La Jolla Shores Dr. – (858) 551-3620 Holiday Movie

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Bold New Cafe Virtuoso

San Diego Food Finds
Rikke Photography

Today, Cafe Virtuoso announced that it will debut its freshly-remodeled cafe, when it opens its doors again on Wednesday, November 23, with a new look, greatly-anticipated additions to the menu, as well as expanded and upgraded offerings.

The cafe remodel includes new concrete flooring, bold interior colors, a hand-painted menu by local artist and Cafe Virtuoso barista Mary Jhun, and a coffee counter three times the previous size equipped with taps for the cafe’s signature cold brew, cold brew on nitro, and kombucha, along with a unique built-in pour over “filter bar.” The filter bar allows baristas to serve customers full Chemex and Kalita pots of in-house freshly-roasted organic specialty coffee to enjoy in the cafe.

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Whisknladle La Jolla

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana
Grilled Bone Marrow with Watermelon Radish, Shallots, Watercress & Lemon Vinaigrette (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

In 2008, friends and partners Arturo Kassel and Chef Ryan Johnston established this little neighborhood eatery on the map in La Jolla. The concept was perfect for La Jolla: quaint, cute, modern, and comfortable—you name it! The food is simple, humble, and straightforward with some esoteric choices thrown in. This approach has won acclaim in a number of national and local publications, adding to their positive reputation throughout the culinary community. From flatbread to burgers to charred bone marrow or fried sweetbreads, this made-from-scratch food is fresh, local, and seasonal. One of my favorite starters is     the Cutting Board, an assortment of house-cured meats, artisan cheeses, mustards, spreads, and pickles. Another very popular dinner item is the fork-tender braised beef cheek with balsamic cipollini onions, potato puree, and pecorino. Additional locations now include shorter-order items and take-out at the PrepKitchen in La Jolla, Del Mar, and Little Italy. Whisknladle, 1044 Wall St., La Jolla, CA 92039; (858) 551-7575; whisknladle.com; American; $$.

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

Host A Holiday Party

San Diego Food FindsThe holidays are here whether we are ready or not! From book clubs to work events, this is the busiest time of year to host large holiday parties. Here are five local San Diego hotspots to help you take the stress out of your holiday party planning this year!

Located in the heart of the San Diego Gaslamp quarter, Union Kitchen + Tap boasts an array of flexible dining space, perfect for your holiday gathering. With four separate dining options to choose from, Union is your place for hosting anywhere between 60 to 360 guests for your holiday celebration. To learn more about their private events and to make a reservation, visit the website here.

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Special Short Rib Dinner

wood-ranchIf you’ve ever eaten short ribs, you know that they are one of life’s greatest culinary pleasures. This delectable cut of meat, smoked slowly and lovingly over pecan wood, is stealing the spotlight at many local eateries. Enter Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill in Hazard Center, an American eatery that has joined the short rib craze with a one-night special event!

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The Westgate Masquerade Night

San Diego Food FindsSan Diego’s very own Parisian palace, The Westgate Hotel, invites guests to ring in the New Year by stepping back into the 18th century for an alluring evening of timeless decadence with a Masquerade Night in Versailles. A five-course dinner, elegant masked ball, Moët & Chandon Champagne toasts, and luxurious guest rooms to sleep in late on New Year’s Day are all part of the experience.

Upon arrival, guests will make their way up the Westgate’s grand staircase to be whisked away from the modern age and transported to a haven of French aristocratic elegance. The Versailles Court will begin check-in at 7:00 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. guests will indulge in French crafted libations such as Champagne, French 75 and Side Cars. Following the reception, at 8:30 p.m., guests will sit down to a lavish five-course Parisian Royale Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel, accompanied by flutes of Moët & Chandon, France’s very own 18th century Champagne creation; live music from a quintet combining French standard, contemporary, jazz and more; dancing; and masked opulence. Masked revelers can dance the night away to welcome 2017 with a champagne toast.

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