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Food & Drink Blotter — April 2014

Posted: April 1st, 2014 | Featured, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Blotter | 1 Comment

Frank Sabatini Jr. | Downtown News

Cucina Urbana's grilled cheese of a higher order (Courtesy H2 Public Relations)

Cucina Urbana’s grilled cheese of a higher order (Courtesy H2 Public Relations)

An authentic Santa Maria Argentine Grill will fuel the kitchen at Don Chido, a new Gaslamp restaurant specializing in home-style Mexican cuisine that’s expected to open by early May. Backing the venture is RMD Group, the operators of Fluxx and Sidebar nightclubs, along with Ken Lovi of the Knotty Barrel Gastropub and chef-partner Antonio Friscia. The team has begun fully renovating the 4,000-square-foot space that previously housed Fred’s Mexican Café. The bill of fare will include fire-grilled steaks, smoked shrimp and achiote-marinated pork tacos made with fresh corn tortillas, all served amid star chandeliers and an art wall made entirely of Mexican blankets. Inventive cocktails and wines from Mexico and Spain will also be available. 527 Fifth Ave.; facebook.com/donchidosd.

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From whoever decides what foods we pay tribute to throughout the calendar year, April is National Grilled Cheese Month. And a few area restaurants are showing off their recipes for the occasion. At Neighborhood in the East Village, look for grilled cheese sliders using toasted walnut baguettes and artisan cheese from Venissimo. Also on their menu is a salad topped with mini grilled cheese sandwiches. Cucina Urbana in nearby Bankers Hill ups the curds with buffalo mozzarella and Asiago on Parmesan butter-crusted lemon bread. Over the bridge in Coronado, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge celebrates with truffled grilled cheese layered with spinach and mushrooms and paired with squash soup. Neighborhood, 777 G St., 619-446-0002; Cucina Urbana, 505

"Craft Beer + Bites" returns to Makers Quarter un East Village  (Courtesy J Public Relations)

“Craft Beer + Bites” returns to Makers Quarter un East Village (Courtesy J Public Relations)

Laurel St., 619-239-2222; Leroy’s, 1015 Orange Ave., 619-437-6087.

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Back by popular demand, the open-air event space known as Makers Quarter will host its second edition of Craft Beer + Bites from 4 to 8 p.m., April 5, at SILO. The venue, contained within Makers Quarter, will feature 10 local breweries each doling out four-ounce beer samples, along with chefs from 10 local restaurants pairing food to the suds. Vendors include Green Flash Brewing, Lost Abbey, Societe Brewing, URBN Street and Alchemy Cultural Fare. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, which includes 10 beer and food pairings. 753 15th St., makersquarter.com.

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San Diego veteran chef Jason McLeod has assembled his kitchen team for the much-anticipated arrival of Fish & Oyster in Little Italy, due to open in early April. For his chef du cuisine, he’s brought on Jose Ruiz, formerly of Searsucker, Herringbone, and The Oceanaire Seafood Room. His pick for pastry chef is the acclaimed Donna Antaloczy, who has accrued years of baking time at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley as well as Nine-Ten and Rancho Valencia in San Diego. Ironside will feature a raw bar, bakery and restaurant under on large roof. 1654 India St.

Saltbox's Jeremiah Bryant will be throwing a whole-pig roast this month (Courtesy The Nth Element)

Saltbox’s Jeremiah Bryant will be throwing a whole-pig roast this month (Courtesy The Nth Element)

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Follow your nose to the fourth-floor pool deck at Hotel Palomar as Saltbox’s chef du cuisine, Jeremiah Bryant, roasts a whole pig on April 13. The barbecue kicks off at 1 p.m. and features “kegs and cans” by Saint Archer Brewery as well as live entertainment. Yams, potato salad, braised greens and corn bread will augment the meal. Tickets are $20. 1047 Fifth Ave., 619-515-3003.

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Dozens of vendors have come on board for Downtown’s new certified farmers’ market, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday at The Headquarters at Seaport District. Among them are California Olive, Carlsbad Strawberry, Venissimo Cheese and Puesto. For those shopping with plastic, the market features a credit card system allowing customers to purchase tokens that are accepted by all of the vendors. 789 W. Harbor Drive, 619-235-4014.

—Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at fsabatini@san.rr.com.

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