By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Technology and confections combine at the new iDessert by Jean-Philippe in Little Italy, where visitors select from a number of cakes, crusts, sauces, fruits and more on iPads for customizing their sweet creations. The colorful shop was launched recently by renowned pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury, a native of southern France who hails from The Bellagio and ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. 1608 India St., Suite 104, 619-544-1033.
In celebration of the late Julia Child’s birthday on Aug. 15, the Grant Grill will present a rotating trio of tasting menus honoring the culinary legend, from Aug. 5 through 29. They feature dishes that Chef Mark Kropczynski cooked alongside Child in 2000 and 2002 at culinary events in San Francisco: local halibut with creamy polenta; grilled lamb tenderloin; and mango beignets, to name a few. The three-course meals are $82 per person. A portion of the proceeds from the dinners will benefit the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. 326 Broadway, 619-744-2077.
Before balking at the price of Rooftop600 at Andaz’s new breakfast-brunch option, named “Dom and Donuts,” consider the bubbly involved and the accolades it has received. For $400, you get a bottle of Dom Perignon Vintage 2003 Champagne along with a gourmet donut (yes, singular) for each person in your party. They’re made by pastry chef Julee Franklin in various flavors such as orange-pistachio, cherry wine, maple bacon and more.
The champagne, however, is the glitzier draw, having earned top ratings by Anthony Galloni, Wine Spectator, and Robert Parker, who describes it as “powerful Champagne with an extreme personality.” So coveted in Champagne circles, even empty bottles of the stuff are for sale on eBay. 600 F St., 619-849-1234.
The inaugural Fried Chicken Challenge presented by the Facebook group, Eating and Drinking in San Diego, has tapped into some Downtown-area talent for the event, which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Aug. 18, at Local Habit in Hillcrest. Among the chefs taking part are Rich Sweeney of Florent Restaurant & Lounge in the Gaslamp Quarter, Jason Gethin of Table No. 10 in East Village, and Jason McLeod of Ironside Fish & Oyster in Little Italy. Six competitors in total will square off as their chicken is evaluated on juiciness, crunchiness and overall taste. Tickets are $45 per person, which includes samples from each chef, along with a beer pairing to each, plus various side dishes. Due to limited seating, advanced reservations are recommended. 3827 Fifth Ave., 619-795-4770.
Purchase a fresh catch from Tuna Harbor Dockside Market (598 Harbor Lane) and then bring it to Sally’s Seafood on the Water for dinner. Chefs at the bay front restaurant, located at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, will prepare the fish to your liking under a new program called Ocean 2 Table, which also allows guests to choose from a variety of sauces and side dishes. The custom cooking is available on Saturdays only. The fish must weight 5 pounds or less and brought to Sally’s by 2 p.m. for same-day consumption. Preparation cost is $2 per ounce. Reservations are required. One Market Place, 619-358-6740.
Some of the vendors slated to take up initial residence at the upcoming Liberty Public Market in Point Loma include a couple of familiar names to the Downtown food scene. Already on board are The West Bean Coffee Roasters and Venissimo Cheese. The project, spearheaded by Coronado restaurateur David Spatafore of Bluebridge Hospitality, will spotlight 30-plus artisan vendors in a circa-1920 warehouse in Liberty Station. Others from the San Diego area include Wicked Maine Lobster seen at various farmers markets, Moo Time Creamery from Coronado, and Cane Patch Pies entering into its first brick-and-mortar location. The market is due to open in late October.
The home-style Bake Sale Bakery in the East Village has hired Jenn Reinhart as its new head baker. A graduate of the San Diego Culinary Institute and former pastry chef for Waypoint Public in North Park, she will create and test new recipes and lead the bakery’s monthly Bake! classes. On the August calendar is “All Things Yeasted,” from 6 to 9 p.m., Aug. 19. The cost is $75. 815 F St., 619-515-2224.
The Las Vegas-based event company, Motley Brews, is introducing to San Diego the Brew & Food Festival, from 2 to 6:30 p.m., August 29, at Downtown’s new Waterfront Park. The event will feature dozens of national brewers, as well as local favorites that include Stone Brewing Co., Modern Times Beer, Acoustic Ales and more. They’ll be joined by more than 20 “mad craft” chefs preparing beer-friendly cuisine. Among them are David Warner of Bottega Americano in the East Village and restaurateur Javier Plascencia, who recently opened Bracero in Little Italy. Music will be provided by a variety of bands and DJs.
Tickets are $40 for general admission beginning at 3 p.m., and $50 for early entry at 2 p.m. They include beer tastings, although food must be purchased from the various chef stations. For more information, visit brewandfoodfest.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at email@example.com.