Food and Drink Blotter: November 2016

Posted: November 4th, 2016 | Featured, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Blotter | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Wieners, sausages, burgers and beer rule the day at the new Dog Haus Biergarten, which made its San Diego debut in late October in the East Village. The fast-casual franchise, based in Pasadena, has multiple locations throughout the Western U.S. and features indoor-outdoor seating, multiple flat screens, and modern-industrial design elements.


The “sooo cali” hot dog with basil aioli (Courtesy Dog Haus Biergarten)

The hot dogs are served on grilled, Hawaiian rolls and come in several varieties, including turkey and veggie. Sausage choices include bratwurst, kielbasa, spicy Thai, and veggie-Italian. And in addition to craft beer, wines are sold by the can. 969 Ninth Ave., 619-501-6668,

The owners of The Waterfront Bar & Grill in Little Italy — Chad Cline and Jason Nichols — have opened Banzai Bar in Loma Portal. According to manager Chris Ninteman, “We’re the only establishment in town that can show live home games of the San Diego Gulls.”

The bar, which carries a full liquor license, features a 400-gallon saltwater fish tank, a kitchen that stays open until 1 a.m. daily, four flat screens and a giant projector used for showing sports games and music videos.

The menu reveals some creative dishes such as grilled ginger wings, artichoke tacos, a seared ahi club sandwich and other savory noshables, including Waterfront sliders.

Banzai offers happy hour from 3–6 p.m., Monday through Friday, when all draft beers are $4. It also features separate beer bargains exclusive to patio. 3048 Midway Drive, 619-501-5458,


Nashville hot quail over cornbread at Florent (Photo by Anna Gamboa/A7D)

Chef Brad Hightow of Florent Restaurant & Lounge in the Gaslamp District potentially leads the pack in fall-menu revisions. He has added nearly 20 new dishes to the repertoire. Among them are cherry-mascarpone french toast and crispy chicken biscuit sandwiches for brunch; fish tortas and Mediterranean vegetable wraps for lunch; and Nashville hot quail, New York steak, and tiger shrimp fettuccine for dinner. 672 Fifth Ave., 619-595-0123,


Chef Phillip Esteban has moved over to CH Projects (Photo by Kim Marcelo)

San Diego’s ever-growing restaurant group, CH Projects, has hired Chef Phillip Esteban to oversee research and development of the company’s 12 establishments, which include several Downtown-area hotspots such as Rare Form, Craft & Commerce, Noble Experiment, and Ironside Fish & Oyster. In addition, a new venture called Born & Raised is in the pipeline, due to open in Little Italy next year.

Esteban, who spent five years helping Tender Greens expand throughout Southern California, also worked in top kitchens in New York City and San Diego. More recently, he served as executive chef at The Cork & Craft in Rancho Bernardo. In his new gig, he will oversee menu development alongside CH’s chef-partner Jason McLeod.

Lauded for its terroir-driven wines, Pali Wine Co. in Lompoc, California, has opened a tasting room in Little Italy that features a roomy bar, barrel room and open-air balcony. The inventory includes a diverse lineup of chardonnay, pinot noir, Rhone and Bordeaux wines using grapes grown throughout the West Coast and Oregon. It is open from 3–9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and noon–10 p.m., Friday through Sunday. 2130 India St., 619-569-1300,

The East Village will see the arrival of Breakfast Republic in February by restaurateur Johan Engman, who has established the breakfast-lunch concept in North Park and Liberty Station, and has a third location opening soon in Encinitas. His East Village venture will move into the space previously occupied by Zanzibar Café. It will feature a sidewalk patio and signature menu items such as pancake flights, house-made crab cakes, and shrimp and grits with eggs. 707 G St.,


New late-night drink deals are now available at this waterfront eatery (Photo by Lyudmila Zotova)

Carnitas Snack Shack at the Embarcadero recently introduced “reverse happy hour” from 9 p.m.–close on Fridays and Saturdays. Deals include $5 drafts, $6 wines by the glass and $10 specialty cocktails. Regular happy hour runs from 3–6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 1004 N. Harbor Drive, 619-696-7675,

A four-course beer dinner at 6 p.m., Nov. 9, at Flour & Barley in The Headquarters at Seaport Village, will bring attention to a partnership formed between the Italian-inspired establishment and Coronado Brewing. Throughout the month of November, the restaurant will carry on tap three of Coronado’s top beers: Orange Avenue Wit, Mermaid Red and Stingray IPA. They will also be incorporated into the beer dinner in addition to a limited edition of North Island IPA. Tickets are $45 per person. 789 W. Harbor Drive, 619-344-2900,

It’s an annual celebration in France as well as at The Westgate Hotel, when young Beaujolais Nouveau is released a few weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. In honor of the event, the hotel’s executive chef, Fabrice Hardel, will present a four-course French meal at 6 p.m., Nov. 17, in The Westgate Room. The cost is $69 per person (plus tax and gratuity), which includes two glasses of Beaujolais. Reservations are required. 1055 Second Ave., 619-238-1818,

San Diego’s biggest Epicurean event, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, returns for the 13th year with a host of chef-driven dinners, culinary presentations, and wine and beer tastings held Nov. 14-20 at various venues throughout San Diego.

The festival’s main attraction is the Grand Tasting, which features samples from more than 700 wines, plus foods from nearly 70 of San Diego’s most notable chefs and gourmet vendors. It will be held from noon–3 p.m., Nov. 19, at Embarcadero Marina Park North (500 Kettner Blvd.) Tickets are $135 or $175 for early entry at 11 a.m. For a complete list of events and highlights, visit

Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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