Food and Drink Blotter: June 2016

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

If you haven’t visited any of Little Italy’s hottest new restaurants, the upcoming Taste of Little Italy allows you to sample their fare within a single evening, from 5 – 9 p.m., June 15. More than 35 restaurants are taking part, including the neighborhood’s most recent arrivals: Bracero Cocina de Raiz, Herb & Eatery, The Crack Shack, Café Gratitude and more. They’ll be joined by established favorites such as Café Zucchero, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Indigo Grill and others.

Little Italy sign and street1

Sample the foods from San Diego’s fastest growing restaurant community during this year’s Taste of Little Italy (Courtesy Little Italy Association of San Diego)

The event offers consumers two different tasting routes (north and south) with about 20 bars and restaurants contained in each, and all within walking distance of each other. The cost is $36 per route if purchased in advance, and $43 at the ticket booths. For more information, call the Little Italy Association of San Diego at 619-233-3898 or visit

Krisp pizza

The “Rico Suave” pizza with bacon, artichokes and ricotta from Krisp Beverages + Natural Foods (Courtesy Krisp)

Krisp Beverages + Natural Foods in the East Village recently launched a pizzeria within the store for making pies that can be delivered, carried out or consumed on the store’s newly built dining patio. Specialty pizzas cost $15; slices sell for $2.50. The dough is made with high-quality Italian flour and undergoes a 48-hour rise. 1036 Seventh Ave., 619-232-6367,

A secret location within the historic US Grant Hotel marks the setting for a speakeasy Tiki party to be held from 6 – 9 p.m., June 18.

US Grant Tiki cocktailThe island-theme event will feature Polynesian hors d’oeuvres by executive chef Mark Kropczynski; Tiki cocktails by chef de bar Cory Alberto; and a rum bar sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased on 326 Broadway, 619-232-3121.

Coffee roasted in small batches is the specialty at Achilles Coffee Roasters in Cortez Hill, which opened recently with a variety of brews named after various areas of San Diego. The shop sources its beans from Mexico, South America, Africa and Indonesia, and also uses green coffee beans from Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica. Noshes include pastries and quiche. 703 Ash St., 415-215-5605,

Fans of Jsix have bid a fond farewell to executive chef Christian Graves, who moved to Denver with his family in early June “for a change of pace” after working at the restaurant for 10 years. The search for a replacement is underway, although Graves crafted a summer menu before departing and it will stay in place for the next few months. The lineup includes donut-peach salad with burrata; thyme-roasted chicken with leek puree; and ravioli filled with ricotta and sweet peas. Graves plans on looking for a new gig after settling into his new home. 616 J St., 619-531-8744,

Salvucci's gnocchi

Hand-made gnocchi at the new Salvucci’s Ristorante (Facebook)

Salvucci’s Ristorante recently opened in the East Village to a menu of Italian-American dishes that include chicken piccata, spaghetti with clams, house-made meatballs, lasagna and other classic recipes originating from two different Italian families with Boston roots. The restaurant, located in the space that formerly housed Comun Taqueria, was launched by the RMD Group, which also operates Rustic Root and Don Chido in the Gaslamp Quarter. 935 J St., 619-255-1112,

More than 40 restaurants are taking part in the 22nd annual Taste of Gaslamp, which runs from 1 – 4 p.m., June 26. The self-guided walking tour will also feature receptions and open houses at various art galleries and museums located throughout the historic neighborhood. Establishments that will dole out food and drink samples include Café 21, Nobu Restaurant, The Field, 1919, Café Sevilla, Quad Ale House, Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, and more.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. In addition, VIP passes are available for $75, which include access to exclusive receptions and special wine and beer tastings.

Guest check-in will be located at Pocket Park, 410 Island Ave. For more information, call the Gaslamp Quarter Association at 619-233-5227 or visit

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

Leave a Comment