Get Napizza in Little Italy

NPZ LOGO_2014Perched on the corner of Date and India Streets, Napizza is not only one of the newest establishments in Little Italy, but 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 al taglio is the centuries-old art of utilizing special flour, yeast and water and allowing for a slow rise, creating a product with no equal. The large, square-cut pieces are familiar to anyone who’s sampled street food from Italy’s larger cities. Produce is sourced daily from local and organic farmers, whether you enjoy it on a pizza or sample it from the organic salad bar. Read more about Napizza in my new book: San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond.

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

Mexican Fare at Puesto

Puesto La Jolla
(Courtesy photo)

Located in downtown La Jolla, this upscale fast-casual eatery features a walk-up counter where you can dine in or get your food to go. The menu offers a variety of authentic Mexican food ingredients including all-natural meats, sustainable seafood, local and seasonally organic vegetables, homemade all-natural stone-ground corn tortillas, and 6 homemade signature salsas made from scratch daily. Customize your guisados (grilled foods), which can be mixed and matched and are served as tacos that are layered with crispy hot cheese. Diners can choose from a variety of toppings such as fish, shrimp, chicken, carne asada, and gourmet Mexican vegetarian items like zucchini flower, corn truffle, and soy chorizo potatoes. For a healthy dessert or refreshing side, Puesto serves a Mexican street cup of sliced jicama, cucumber, carrots, mango, and dried mango sticks with lime, chili, and sea salt. Puesto Mexican Street Food, 1026 Wall St., La Jolla, CA 92037; (858) 455-1260;; Mexican; $$.

©Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego by Maria Desiderata Montana

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

Family Friendly Waypoint Public

Waypoint Public
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Nestled in the heart of North Park. Waypoint Public highlights their commitment and enthusiasm for great food and beer pairings while trying to hit the trifecta of great food, great beer, and a determination to appeal to a neighborhood demographic, which includes a growing number of young families. “There’s a growing demand for dining environments that cater to both children and adults and being family-friendly was an essential element when conceptualizing Waypoint Public from the get go,” says John Pani, co-owner of Waypoint Public. “I’m the father of three young children, and like many other families around our Kensington neighborhood, I want to enjoy great food and drink without sacrificing quality time with my family.” For group dining, Waypoint Public can accommodate larger groups in the main dining room, or the private “Bear Den” in the back of the restaurant. (

©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana

Waypoint Public Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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)
Bruschetta with Fresh Figs and Pistachios (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Bruschetta with Fresh Figs and Pistachios (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)

(619) 255-4230 

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

A Slice of New York at Village Pizzeria

village pizzeria
(Courtesy photo)

Established in 2002, locally owned and family operated Village Pizzeria offers an authentic slice of New York City in the heart of beautiful Coronado, California.  “We don’t want to sell New York style, we want to sell authentic New York pizza in Coronado,“ says Owner David Spatafore. “It may seem a tad obsessive to truck in water in 1-gallon jugs all the way from New York, but the end result is worth every penny.”

Continue reading A Slice of New York at Village Pizzeria

Mayan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Mayan Hot Chocolate Recipe
(Courtesy photo)

Mayan Hot Chocolate recipe is perfect for the holidays

Small quantities of dark chocolate offer health benefits in this luscious hot chocolate drink from Rancho La Puerta.

Chocolate (xocolatl) was originally developed by the Mayan people of southern Mexico, long before the Spanish conquest. This creamy sorbet is based on an authentic Mexican drink recipe and has a secret ingredient. Enjoy!

Rancho La Puerta’s Mayan Hot Chocolate

Makes 4 small cups

  • 1 cup cooked and mash butternut squash
  • 3½ cups whole milk
  • 3 ounces Ibarra brand Mexican chocolate
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. In a blender, puree the squash with 1¾ cups of the milk until perfectly smooth.

2. In a large saucepan, mix the remaining 1¾ cups of milk, chocolate, and spices. With a whisk, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted, then add the pureed squash. Do not boil. Strain through a coarse sieve to remove any trace of the squash fiber.

3. Reheat gently in a heavy saucepan. Serve in little demitasse cups, with your favorite cookie for dipping.

*Information courtesy of Rancho La Puerta

Indigo Grill Corn Pudding Recipe

Located in the heart of Little Italy, Indigo Grill’s new menu draws heavily on Latin influences and places an emphasis on shareable items such as anticucho boards, small plates and bold crostinos.

Indigo Grill Corn Pudding
Executive Chef Deborah Scott of Indigo Grill (Courtesy photo)

About Chef Deborah Scott

Deborah Scott can create a delicious meal with just about any ingredient. When she was a student at Baltimore International Culinary College, she not only had the highest grade point average, she also was awarded the gold medal in the school’s Cooking Competition. With only a brown shopping bag of various unrelated food items, Deborah concocted a recipe so delectable she received two awards from judges at the American Culinary Federation.

As a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Deborah perfected her talent of pairing eclectic flavors during her graduate course program from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. With plenty of knowledge and skill, Deborah quickly gained hands-on experience at the award-winning Clark Cookhouse and Whitehouse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island. She then moved on to be Executive Sous Chef for two years at Monterey Plaza Hotel’s Delfino’s On The Bay.

Continue reading Indigo Grill Corn Pudding Recipe

Stake Chophouse and Bar

Coronado Steakhouse
Courtesy Images

The new chef-driven steakhouse concept by Blue Bridge Hospitality has officially opened its doors to the public with the launch of take Chophouse & Bar in Coronado.

David Spatafore, Principal of Blue Bridge Hospitality, has officially opened doors to his newest and swankiest 4,600 square-foot dining endeavor yet with the launch Stake Chophouse & Bar. The indoor-outdoor rooftop destination exists as the island’s first tried-and-true steakhouse, with sleek hues of indigo, cream leather, a quartzite bar, six linear outdoor firepits and an 18-foot backlight onyx wall that doubles as décor in the dining room.

Continue reading Stake Chophouse and Bar

New Parq Restaurant in San Diego


Parq Restaurant
Courtesy photo

After two years off the market, the legendary 6th and Broadway location in the historic Gaslamp District in San Diego will again have its premier dining and club destination. The brand new Parq restaurant in San Diego has opened its doors to eager fans after having undergone a multi-million dollar gut renovation.

From world-renowned interior design firm Davis Ink. (of Cake Scottsdale, & Pink Cadillac fame), Parq exquisitely captures this husband/wife duo’s famous ability to transform creative vision into physical reality. Davis states, “We approached the revamping of On Broadway with the mindset that we wanted to change the entire guest experience from the time they enter the space to when the night is over.” Showing why they’ve earned a spot on Conde Nast Traveler’s hot list, Davis notes that, “Overall, the most exciting part of designing this project was creating two very different spaces with different experiences, that can both work independently but that work together as a whole.”

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Jamaican Jerk Recipe From Nine-Ten

Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly By Jason Knibb of Nine Ten (Courtesy photo)

From curing their own salmon, to the charcuterie, sauces, stocks, and pastas, to making their our own salami, cheeses, ice creams, and sorbets, NINE-TEN is a casually elegant and food-driven restaurant that seems to remain timeless. This is a restaurant where people come for great food and wine, whether wearing a coat and tie or jeans and a button-down shirt. The staff is exceptionally well trained and educated on the food and preparation methods, as well as wine selections and pairings.

Spending a great amount of time working on the line, doing the actual cooking and plating, Executive Chef Jason Knibb is a hands-on chef, with almost every dish that leaves the kitchen having something on it that he actually touched. “There is no pomp and circumstance for me, I just want to cook,” he says. “I don’t have a culinary degree, and am pretty much a self-taught chef who has spent years practicing and learning from all the great chefs I’ve had the privilege to work under.” -Maria Desiderata Montana

Read more about Nine-Ten in my award-winning book: San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City and Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego.

Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly with Black-Eyed Peas & Garnet Yam Puree


For the jerk marinade:

3 medium-size yellow onions, chopped
1-1/2 cups finely chopped scallions
6 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons allspice
1-1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons black pepper
3 whole scotch bonnet peppers or habaneros
9 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the jerk pork belly:

1 (5-pound) slab uncured pork belly
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 gallon chicken stock
2 quarts veal stock
For the garnet yam puree:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups peeled and diced yams
6 cups water

For the black-eyed peas:

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
1 cup diced and fried plantains
6 baby carrots, braised and halved
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the jerk marinade: Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree. The mixture should be slightly chunky and smooth. Makes 1-1/2 quarts marinade.

To make the jerk pork belly: In a large, covered bowl, marinate pork over night with 4 cups jerk marinade. Remove the pork from marinade, scrape off excess marinade, and reserve. Cut pork belly in half and season with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan, sear pork on both sides until golden brown. Place the pork into a large roasting pan that is at least 3 inches deep. Add onions, carrots, and celery to the same sauté pan and caramelize. Add remaining jerk marinade and stocks, bring to a boil, and pour over pork.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place a piece of parchment paper onto the pork and then cover with foil. Place pork in the oven and cook for 3 to 4 hours, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove the pork from the braising liquid and strain the liquid into a large saucepan. Skim the fat from the liquid, place the pan on medium-high heat, and reduce liquid by half. Remove the pork belly from the liquid and reserve liquid for later. Place the pork belly into the refrigerator and let cool until firm. Once firm, cut the belly into sixteen 11/2 x 11/2-inch cubes. Set aside until ready to deep-fry.

When ready, deep-fry three cubes of pork belly in a deep-fryer until golden brown and crispy. Glaze the belly with some of the braising liquid.

To make garnet yam puree: In a medium sauté pan over high heat, add the oil and yams. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes and add the salt and water. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until yams are soft and the liquid is just about dry (add more water if yams are not cooked). Strain yams and place into an ice bath to cool. Once the yams are cool, add to a blender and puree until silky smooth. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

To make the black-eyed peas: In a large pan sauté the black-eyed peas, plantains, and carrots in the remaining braising liquid. Simmer liquid until it is reduced to a glaze. Season to taste with thyme, salt, and pepper. Warm the yam puree and, using square serving plates, dollop yam puree off-center of the bottom of the middle of each plate, creating a decorative “swoosh” by swiftly dragging the spoon across the plate to give the dollop puree a little “tail.” Place one pork belly cube at the left top of the swoosh, another in the center of the plate, and another at the bottom of the plate. Spoon the black-eyed pea mixture on top of each piece of pork.

Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly with Black-Eyed Peas & Garnet Yam Puree Recipe appears in the San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City

Puesto at The Headquarters

Courtesy photo

The second Puesto at The Headquarters offers an expanded menu highlighted by their coveted tacos made with crispy melted cheese and the finest ingredients to hit fresh, house-made tortillas. The menu features antojitos (Mexican tapas), and innovative cocktail frescas in a full-service, beautifully designed restaurant, along with its signature taco line in an awesome atmosphere.

The 4,500 square foot restaurant is designed by Thomas Schoos, the creative genius behind the décor of Morimoto in Mexico City and Waikiki, Tao Las Vegas and Searsucker in San Diego and Austin, and includes two custom art walls by famed artist Chor Boogie in addition to the inviting dining room, mezzanine and patio seating.

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Regional Mexican Food In Del Mar

Diane Powers opens Casa Sol y Mar, the newest dining destination to join her family of eateries serving fine Mexican food throughout the County. (Read more about Casa Guadalajara and get the recipes for Mexican Shrimp Cocktail AND Enchiladas de Vegetables Con Queso in my new book: ‘San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary recipes From America’s Finest City’.)

Mexican food
Photo by Martin Mann Photography

Casa Sol y Mar is located in the bustling Del Mar Highlands Town Center at 12865 El Camino Real, and is elaborately decorated to reflect the true spirit of Mexico. It is scheduled to open in May.

“Our philosophy is to offer great value and a delightful Mexican dining experience,” said Powers. “This includes memorable flavors, abundant selections, high quality and fresh ingredients, and a spirited, authentic environment that captures the essence of Mexican traditions.”

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Chinese Fusion Cuisine in Del Mar

Chinese Fusion Cuisine
Courtesy photo

After opening in the spring of 2004, Del Mar Rendezvous, serving Chinese Fusion Cuisine, announced the near completion of its major, quarter million dollar renovation, all while only closing for about two weeks. In its eight years of serving the Del Mar community, this is the first time the space has undergone any major upgrades, design changes or additions to its space.

“Our decision to remodel is attributable to both some outdated décor as well as a great amount of helpful comments and recommendations from our guests,” said Dan Schreiber, owner of Del Mar Rendezvous.

The dining room now boasts new dining booths, tables, a wine and art display, as well as designer and antique light fixtures to enhance the restaurant’s romantic, upscale ambience.

 “More than just an aesthetic remodel, this has been a complete reworking of the restaurant for us. Our vision was thought-out over several years and directed towards improving guests’ experience and overall restaurant flow,” said Schreiber. “The changes have made an enormous difference in our ability to handle the increased business we have experienced over the past few years at the restaurant. It has also enabled the wait staff to provide even better service to our guests despite this increase in business, which is extremely important to us.”

Chinese fusion cuisineWith the new amenities, Del Mar Rendezvous’ now has a white wine specific temperature-controlled wine refrigerator, a more extensive wine selection, four types of beer on draft, a high-end wine cellar, and organic, free-trade and sustainably produced teas and coffees, in French Presses.

“The recent remodel has not only changed the functionality of the restaurant from the way it was before, but it has inspired our team to make positive changes to continue enhancing our guests’ experience moving forward,” said Schreiber.

Perhaps one of the most ambiance-altering aspects of the remodel comes from the ancient Chinese artwork that now adorns the restaurant’s interior. Traditional pieces and sculptures from China set the tone for Rendezvous’ serene dining and foyer area.

“Since the art pieces have been added, guests will often inquire about the history and meaning of them and are intrigued to hear that some date back 200 years,” said Schreiber. “One of my favorite symbols in the restaurant is the jade carving of horses galloping into the heavens. It’s a lucky Chinese symbol, representing the power, grace and speed of horses. I see it as a good omen for the prosperity and success I want my restaurant to have.”

In addition to new tables, chairs and lighting, Del Mar Rendezvous’ outdoor patio was nearly tripled in size with brand new heaters, lighting and planters positioned throughout the length of the patio. The new pet-friendly patio also allows guests to enjoy alcoholic beverages while dining outdoors.

About Del Mar Rendezvous

Since 2004, Del Mar Rendezvous has been enticing San Diegans with its wide array of Chinese fare complimented by a modern mix of Asian flavors. Rendezvous boasts over 20 local, import and craft beers in addition to an award-winning list of over 80 wines, offered at half-price by the bottle on Wednesdays and Sundays. With over 100 different dishes on its menu, Rendezvous also caters to both gluten-free and vegetarian guests with over 40 dedicated options to choose from. The newly remodeled interior and extended patio, with glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, offer a calming and inviting atmosphere, perfect for date nights, business lunches or family dinners.

Del Mar Rendezvous is located at 1555 Camino Del Mar, Suite 102, in the Del Mar Plaza, and is open for lunch Monday – Saturday (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and serves dinner nightly, beginning at 4 p.m.

For more information about Del Mar Rendezvous, visit or call (858) 755-2669.

*Courtesy photos and information

STAKE, New Steakhouse in Coronado

Blue Bridge Hospitality Elevates Coronado Island’s Chef Driven Dining Experience by Announcing Stake Chophouse + Bar, a tried-and-true steakhouse, to open November 6th

Rendering of Stake Chophouse and Bar — Courtesy of Di Donato Associates

Blue Bridge Hospitality is based in and born out of a love for the city of Coronado. With five existing concepts under their belt, the restaurant group has continuously raised the bar on the island’s culinary scene by creating thoughtful, local dining experiences. First surfacing in 1998 with a number of family-friendly concepts, Blue Bridge then announced their first chef-driven dining project in 2011 with the launch of Leroy’s Kitchen + Bar, led by Executive Chef JC Colón (Tempo in NYC, CUCINA urbana).  Now, the group is pleased to announce Stake Chophouse + Bar, their newest steakhouse endeavor, which will elevate the collective to a new level as they venture into a more contemporary dining arena.

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SolCal Vegan Market Café and Juicery

Vegan Market
Courtesy photo

Now open at 910 J Street is SolCal—San Diego’s first Vegan Market Café and Juicery with a built-in Naturopathic doctors office. Created by former NFL great, Jacob Bell and Food Network’s celebrity chef, Anne Thorton, SOL CAL is serving fresh cold-pressed organic juice, single source organic coffee, teas and elixirs, a full menu of grab-n-go salads, sandwiches, soups, tacos, wraps and Veganly Delicious ice cream and desserts.

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Best Restaurants and Local Eats/PO Box 675362, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

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