By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Food and Drink Blotter
San Diego’s priciest taco has emerged at Puesto. Created by executive chef Katy Smith, the luxury taco involves filet mignon folded into a plop of melted cheese on the griddle.
It’s then shaped into a donut and crowned with Maine lobster, avocado slices, and chipotle and cilantro crema. Smith serves it atop a bed of stone-ground blue tortillas. The price: $60. By volume, the creation amounts to about six tacos melded together. 789 W. Harbor Drive, 619-233-8880 and 1026 Wall St., La Jolla, 858-454-1260; eatpuesto.com.
More than 40 restaurants will offer samples of their latest and greatest dishes for the 25th annual Taste of Downtown, from 5–9 p.m., Sept. 14. The event encompasses restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter, the East Village, the Core District and The Headquarters.
Participants include Rustic Root, Gourmet India, The Commons, 10 Barrel Brewing, Lotus Thai, Dobson’s Restaurant and more.
Each neighborhood will offer free shuttle stops listed on maps handed out at the participating restaurants.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of event. They can be purchased online at downtownsandiego.org or in front of Florent Restaurant, located at 672 Fifth Ave.
The recent arrival of Chef Abe Botello at Florent Restaurant and Lounge in the Gaslamp Quarter will bring fresh menu revisions in early October.
Botello previously headed the kitchen at West Coast Tavern in North Park. He replaces Chef Brad Hightow, who moved to Urge Gastropub & Common House in San Marcos.
“I’m taking the menu in a direction that’s more people-friendly,” Botello said. “And we’ll be doing modern presentations of dishes using crafty, artistic plateware.”
Look for the debuts of Buffalo-style cauliflower, barbecue “pork wings” made from shanks, a truffle burger, and several varieties of flatbreads. 672 Fifth Ave., 619-595-0123, florentsd.com.
Plans are underway by Blue Bridge Hospitality for an October opening of West Pac Noodle Bar in the commercial heart of Coronado.
The menu will feature small plates spotlighting a variety of noodles, dumplings and poke. The casual full-service restaurant draws its concept from the island’s nearby naval base, with the name reflecting Western Pacific deployment tours. 1166 Orange Ave., bluebridgehospitality.com.
The much-anticipated Born & Raised is due to open in Little Italy around the second week of September, with the grandeur of a modern mid-century steakhouse. Chef-partner Jason McLeod of CH Projects is leading the restaurant’s culinary team, which will serve up everything from top-quality cuts of Black Angus beef and tableside yakatori to dry-aged meats, vegan steaks, and creative desserts served from a roaming cart. Two other carts will be dedicated for tableside-crafted cocktails.
More than a year in the planning, the two-level establishment was designed by locally based Basile Studio, which has incorporated into the layout plenty of al-fresco seating options. 1909 India St., instagram.com/bornandraisedsd.
Chefs from more than a dozen local restaurants will unleash their cooking talents at the 14th annual Harvest for Hope fundraiser for the Emilio Nares Foundation, which helps families navigate their children’s journeys through cancer. The event will be held from 1–4 p.m., Oct. 1, at the San Diego Central Library (330 Park Blvd).
Contributing to the spread of diverse cuisine are chefs from Café Chloe, Morton’s Steakhouse, Carnitas Snack Shack, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Pamplemousse Grille, Sweet Cheeks Baking Co., and more. There will also be a bar hosted by Snake Oil Cocktail Company and beer donated by Ballast Point Brewing Co. Guests can also take part in silent and live auctions for bidding on food, wine and other gifts.
The cost is $135 per person or $100 per person with a group of 10 or more guests. Tickets can be purchased online at: harvestforhope2017.org.
Oregon’s Coava Coffee Roasters takes its first leap outside of Portland with a brew bar scheduled to open Sept. 9 inside The Westin San Diego. The company is known for its self-designed brewing equipment and small-batch roasts using beans from sustainable coffee farmers in Africa and Central America. The stylized mid-century brew bar will occupy 2,100 square feet in the hotel’s ground floor and also feature cold brews on nitro and sparkling teas on draft. 400 W. Broadway, 619-239-4500, westinsandiego.com and coavacoffee.com.
Local restaurateurs Jenny and James Pyo will soon open Haru Mama in the Little Italy space that formerly housed Sirena Cucina Latina. A first for the neighborhood, the concept focuses on house-made dumplings, steamed buns, sushi and a noodle bar. Beer and wine will also be available.
The owners operate several other Asian kitchens such as Blue Smoke Sushi Lounge in Fashion Valley Mall and Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi Bar in Carlsbad. 1901 Columbia St.