Food and Drink Blotter: April 2018

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Food and Drink Blotter

Joe Fisketti is the new bar manager at Juniper and Ivy. (Courtesy of Bay Bird Inc.)

With the appointment of Joe Fisketti as Juniper and Ivy’s new bar manager comes a fresh cocktail list authored by the seasoned drink specialist and certified sommelier.

Fisketti began his bar career in Boston before making his way to San Diego two years ago, when he began working at Juniper and Ivy under the tutelage of departing bar master Eric Johnson.

With a fondness for Italian liqueurs, mezcals and tequilas, his recent roll outs include “Lime in the Cocchi-nut,” which combines Cocchi Americano with tequila, citrus and rhubarb bitters.

There’s also “Salt of the Earth” mingling mezcal and tequila with beet juice, lemon and honey. And for his “Lost in Translation” concoction, browned butter gives rise to an elixir of Toki Japanese Whiskey, dry Curacao and coffee liqueur. 2228 Kettner Blvd., 619-269-9036,


The quaint, new Olala Crepes in the Gaslamp Quarter has taken root with plans of adding a patio for additional seating in the near future, according to manager Sarah Kieffer. The cafe, which seats about 15 people, is owned by southern France transplants Samuel Icyk and his wife, Lucile Paolin. They originally launched the business in Point Loma’s Liberty Public Market just over a year ago and still maintain that location. Their menu Downtown, however, offers a couple more crepe options in addition to brioche glace, which is toasted brioche stuffed with ice cream, which they source from Moo Time Creamery in Coronado.

This ‘a la folie’ crepe with strawberries, bananas and Nutella is available at a new Downtown crepery. (Courtesy of Olala Crepes)

The crepe recipes hail from Icyk’s grandmother and they’re made with buckwheat flour imported from France. 453 Fifth Ave., 619-230-5700,


Hot and savory Argentine empanadas rule the day at the new Empanada Kitchen in the East Village. Owners Matias Rigali and Dan Housenga originally introduced their hand-filled, freshly baked pastries in 2016 at local farmers markets. Drawing upon a base recipe from his family, Rigali uses a variety of fillings in making the empanadas. They range from braised lamb and sauteed chicken to ham and cheese and traditional beef. There are also meatless options such as ratatouille, mushrooms with goat cheese, and sweet corn with basil and bechamel sauce.

A bistro specializing in empanadas has opened in the East
Village. (Courtesy of Empanada Kitchen)

The line is also sold at the La Jolla Open Aire Market (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays), Meraki Cafe in University Heights, and Bump Organic Coffee Roasters in Encinitas.

Empanada Kitchen is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Organic coffee by Bump and “salads of the day” are also available. 819 C St., 619-228-9419,


Dinner and happy hour are now available on a coveted rooftop in the Gaslamp Quarter. (Courtesy of Arlene Ibarra)

Lionfish Coastal Cuisine, located on the ground floor of the Pendry San Diego hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, will begin serving dinner on the property’s rooftop as an al fresco option from 5 p.m. daily, starting April 23.

At that point, everything from executive chef JoJo Ruiz’s menu can be ordered on the roof, except the sushi rolls. His dishes include lobster hush puppies, roasted swordfish, glazed pork chops, steaks and more

In addition, Lionfish’s happy hour has moved exclusively to the roof.

It’s held from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and features $1 oysters, $5 draft beers, $7 wines by the glass, and $8 cocktails and plates. 435 Fifth Ave., 619-738-7200,


Renovations are underway at Maretalia Ristorante in Coronado, which was previously Vigilucci’s Ristorante until Blue Bridge Hospitality acquired the property last year. The restaurant will remain open during the upgrades, which will include a blue, illuminated awning at the front entrance and a reconfigured dining room that will afford guests better ocean views.

Fettuccine carbonara at Maretalia Ristorante in Coronado (Courtesy of Blue Bridge Hospitality)

In addition, newly appointed executive chef Ronnie Schwandt continues enhancing the menu with shareable antipasti plates, house-made pastas and fresh seafood entrees. Schwandt began working for Maretalia earlier this year, and now also serves as executive chef for nearby Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge, which Blue Bridge operates as well. 1300 Orange Ave., 619-522-0946,

— Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at

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