Civico 1845: Collaboration Italian Style

By Wendy Lemlin

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   With its authentic food and outstanding vegan menu, Civico 1845 is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Diego, and it looks like it is going to become even better. Beginning this month, the Civico team is collaborating with chefs Antonio and Luca Abbruzzino, a Michelin rated father/son pair from Calabria, Italy, to highlight genuine southern Italian ingredients in the restaurant’s dishes. Continue reading

Mmmm, That’s Italian! Part 1: Bottega Americano

By Wendy Lemlin

   It seems I’ve been craving Italian cuisine lately. There’s something about spring that has me jonesing for the rich green taste of pesto, fresh tomato sauces with their acid/sweet balance, silky homemade pastas, and local seafood and produce kissed by olive oil and wine. The redolence of garlic, the interplay of herbs like oregano, rosemary, and basil, and oh, the cheeses!

So, with my palate salivating at just the thought of all that deliciousness, I have sacrificed my waistline to embark on a tour of some of my favorite Italian restaurants, and share my experiences.  This is the first in a series of articles; each one will showcase a different restaurant, or chef, or particular dish.

Buon appetito!

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Thomas Schoos designed interior

Bottega Americano

This is not your quaint, classic checkered-tablecloth Italian bistro.  Step through the doors of this buzzing East Village restaurant/market/ and café, and the Thomas Schoos designed interior is modern and chic, but at the same time organically comforting. There are seating options for every type of diner. Want an intimate, tucked-away table?

Chef Andrea creating a pizza masterpiece.

Chef Andrea creating a pizza masterpiece.

Got it!  Prefer to dine with a group in the middle of all the action?  Got that, too.  Love watching the activity in the open kitchen or talking to pizza chef Andrea Mancinelli as he prepares his creations for the unique, double sided brick oven? Well then, you have a choice of sitting at five different interactive food bars, and being thoroughly entertained as you dine. The crowd is comfortably chic, too, but there is nothing pretentious or off-putting about the atmosphere.  Diners are seen sporting anything from jeans to dressed-up-for-an-evening-out attire. In fact, the convivial ambience and energy of Bottega Americano is one of its best features. Continue reading

Barrel Smoker Dinner Series V: The Paella Edition

By Wendy Lemlin

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Paella.  Can I just say how much I love it?  To me, delving into the delectable rice dish is like a treasure hunt, or a Christmas tree full of presents to unwrap one by one. Dig into the pan and find gifts of seafood nestled among the savory rice—a bite of fish here, a tender shrimp or scallop there, clams and mussels peeking out from their shells, succulent tentacles of octopus or squid to be savored. Add the juicy morsels of chicken, maybe the spiciness of chunks of sausage, the aromatics of onions, garlic, bell peppers and a few threads of saffron, and you have what I consider the ideal one pan meal.

On Thursday, February 18, lucky diners can experience the perfection of paella at the Barrel Smoker Dinner Series V: The Paella Edition, to be held at Planet Rooth Design Haus, 3334 5th Avenue, in San Diego’s Bankers Hill neighborhood. Two-time World Food Champion Ricardo Heredia will join with Paella Master Carlos S. Cervantes of Paellas Villa de Cervantes in making all your paella feasting fantasies come true. Both chefs will be using the iQ Oak Barrel Smoker designed by Swedish master craftsman Gustaf Anders Rooth, to update the classic dish with a pleasant depth of smokiness. Whistles will be wet with Baja wines by Hacienda La Lomita Winery and Villa Montefiori/ Paoloni Wines and Baja craft beer by Cerveceria Agua Mala.

The evening includes the pre-opening of the art exhibition “Glossed Over” by artist Daphne Hill, who will be in attendance.

Program:
6-7:30pm “Glossed Over” Pre-Opening/Oyster & Raw Bar by Ricardo Heredia
7:30-9pm Smoked Paella Extravaganza by Carlos S. Cervantes

Feb 18th, 6-9pm
Price: $75 USD (includes food, wine, beer and entertainment)
Tickets: https://barrelsmokerdinner5.eventbrite.com/

Get them ASAP—almost sold out!

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival November 15-22

By Wendy Lemlin

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   Wonder how much San Diego loves food and drink? Just look at the success of the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, now in it’s 12th year, bigger and more comprehensive than ever. Running November 15-22, with a full roster of events, dinners, tastings, classes, and exhibits, it is one of the largest food and wine festivals in the country, shining a spotlight on both San Diego’s burgeoning gourmet dining scene and our cross-border connection with Baja’s exciting culinary landscape. From tacos and beer to wine paired-haute cuisine, there is something for anyone who loves indulging in crave-worthy food and spirits.  And really, who doesn’t?

More than a dozen celebrated national chefs, including Rick Bayless, Gayle Gand, and Suzette Gresham will join over 40 local luminaries in presenting delicacies and/or cuisine-related educational programs. Look for such regional favorites as The Marine Room’s Bernard Guillas, Javier Plascencia of  Bracero, Finca Altozano, and Mision 19, Jason SBWFF grand tasting smokerKnibb of NINE-TEN, Chad White of Comun and La Justina, Ironside Fish & Oyster’s Jason McLeod, Flor Franco of Finca La Carrodilla and Indulge Contemporary Catering, Mario Medina of Bernini’s Bistro, The Patio Group’s John Medall, Anthony Sinsay of Dukes’s La Jolla, James Montejano of La Valencia Hotel, and a host of others.

Continue reading

October Food Events

Eat Your Way Through October

by Wendy Lemlin

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What is it about October that always makes it such a busy month for food events? Is it because it’s usually one of the best weather months in San Diego, when temperatures start to cool down and skies are clear?  Is it because it fits so nicely between summer vacations and holiday frenzies? Or maybe it’s more about fiscal calendars and venue availabilities.  Whatever the reason, this will be every foodie’s dream month—just be prepared to splurge, both calorie-wise and money-wise, if you plan to go to everything! Here are a few events coming up. Continue reading

A Berry Good Undertaking

 

By Wendy Lemlin

Photos by Bradley Schweit  bradleyschweit.com

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Some have called Berry Good Night, now in its sixth year, the most sought-after foodie invitation in San Diego, with an A-list roster of top chefs, farmers, ranchers, artisans, food activists, winemakers and mixologists from both sides of the border contributing to the Berry IMG_7539invitation-only feast. Also in attendance at this year’s event on June 13 will be guests from a wide variety of food-related disciplines, including science and medicine, agriculture, government and public policy, hospitality, education and media. The evening’s format is designed to promote discussion, connection and collaboration, creating long-lasting relationships and partnerships. Continue reading

26th Annual Taste of Point Loma

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How familiar are you with the Point Loma restaurant scene?  Got any favorites?  Any places you’ve been meaning to try?  Well, on April 22, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that, when more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bakeries will offer samples of their finest and most popular menu items at the 26th annual Taste of Point Loma, hosted by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading