Food and Drink Blotter: May 2018

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

The mother of all bake sales is taking place from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 6, at Herb and Eatery in Little Italy. The annual event, presented by local food writer Erin Jackson, will bring together more than a dozen top pastry chefs from San Diego restaurants selling their upscale creations for $5 apiece.

Proceeds from the sale benefit Friendly Feast, a non-profit organization that produces culinary events, and Monarch School, which helps homeless students break the cycle of poverty through education.

Look for this churro eclair from Puesto at an upcoming gourmet bake sale. (Courtesy of Katalyst Public Relations)

Participating bakers and pastry chefs include Jamie Decena of Cowboy Star; Jessica Scott of Puesto; Gan Suebsarakham of Pop Pie Co.; Joanne Sherif of Cardamon Cafe and Bakery; Jose Alonzo of Nine-Ten, and more.

General admission is $10. Children 12 years and younger are admitted free. 2210 Kettner Blvd., 619-794-2790,


A new restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter transports customers to the tropics. (Courtesy of Tropical Savor Bar & Grill)

Seeking a Latin-Caribbean dining experience? The new family-owned Tropical Savor Bar & Grill in the Gaslamp Quarter brings to the table a confluence of cuisine from Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations.

Some of the cocktails are served in hollowed-out pineapples and coconuts — preludes to dishes such as stewed goat, braised oxtail, beef ribs in coconut milk, and mashed plantains with fried cheese. There are also exotic desserts using red beans and fresh corn.

The sharply designed restaurant replaces Phulkari Indian Cuisine. The website and online menu are still under construction. 729 Fourth Ave., 619-646-9131,


A pair of new owners has taken over Brian’s 24, the popular Downtown eatery that operates 24/7 and features a full bar. The establishment was previously owned by Andrea Epstein and her immediate family members.

“We all felt it was time to move onto other phases of our lives,” she said.

The business was purchased by Mark Cicourel and Kevin Kitchen, both of whom own Del Mar Rendezvous. Kitchen said there are no current plans to change the restaurant’s concept or menu, which features breakfast, lunch and dinner fare around the clock.

Downtown’s popular 24-hour restaurant is under new ownership. (Courtesy of Brian’s 24)

“It’s not very often you see a healthy, privately owned restaurant go up on the market,” said Kitchen, noting that he and Cicourel encroached on the opportunity after looking to purchase another business.

“We’re still observing the things that we might be able to enhance over time,” he added. “We really want to put some shine on Brian’s bar offerings in the near future with more specialty cocktails and spirits choices.” 828 Sixth Ave., 619-702-8410,


San Diego’s first music and food festival incorporating exhibitors from the cannabis industry took place April 20 at Embarcadero Marina Park North. The event, titled Bayked, attracted 2,000 attendees. It featured acclaimed recording artists Wyclef Jean and Dirt Nasty as well as a dozen local restaurants and caterers selling their signature fare.

Pizzas cooked from a vintage fire truck at San Diego’s first cannabis-industry festival (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Among them were some Downtown favorites such as Havana 1920, El Chingon Bad Ass Mexican, Meze Greek Fusion and Takobar San Diego.

Joining the lineup was Dang Brother Pizza, a veteran-owned caterer based in Mission Gorge that’s famous for slinging pizzas from old fire trucks. For Bayked, the company rolled in a 1974 La France fire vehicle flaunting a wood-fire oven in place of its water tank.

“We were drawn to this event because marijuana has helped a lot of vets with their injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Jody Drew of Dang Brother.

Bayked marketing director Savanna Rakofsky said organizers plan on presenting the event annually, and possibly semi-annually with about the same modest number of food vendors so that “they can all be profitable at the event.” or


It’s all about discounted bubbly and skyline views in a weekly series celebrating Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne at Upper East Bar, the fourth-floor rooftop deck at Kimpton Solamar Hotel in the East Village.

Upper East Bar Terrace (Courtesy of Upper East Bar)

Every Wednesday through Labor Day, the aged pale-gold French champagne will sell by the glass for $5 starting at 5 p.m.; $6 starting at 6 p.m.; and so forth until capping off at $8 at 8 p.m. Complimentary canapes and a live DJ will also be featured every week. 616 J St., 619-531-8744,

— Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at

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