Food and Drink Blotter: September 2016

Posted: September 2nd, 2016 | Featured, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Blotter | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

An upscale lunch that gets you in and out in 45 minutes or less? The concept was recently introduced by Chef Fabrice Hardel of The Westgate Hotel for busy working professionals who prefer a gourmet two-course meal in a comfy setting over burgers and tacos from Downtown’s fast-food eateries.

Termed “the power lunch,” customers begin with asparagus vichyssoise soup accented by Hackleback caviar and crème fraiche. They proceed to a choice of two different main courses: seafood Cobb salad constructed with scallops, prawns and king crab with miso-mango dressing; or ricotta cheese ravioli in sage butter with baby spinach, dried apricots and pine nuts.

Westgate Hotel cheese ravioli high res Chemistry PR

Fast ravioli at The Westgate Hotel (Courtesy Chemistry PR)

Guest orders, says a rep at the hotel, are taken within five minutes of being seated, and the check arrives to the table within 45 minutes of arriving. Priced at $28, the lunch is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily in the hotel’s Westgate Room. 1055 Second Ave., 619-557-3650,

Laura Johnson of You & Yours J Public Relations

Laura Johnson joins the local distillery scene (Courtesy J Public Relations)

Ranking as one of the country’s few female distillers, Laura Johnson is planning an October opening of You & Yours Distilling Co. in the East Village. The 2,300-square-foot facility, located in the Form 15 Building, will feature a tasting room and lounge to spotlight Johnson’s flagship vodka and gin made in custom hybrid eau de vie stills. The spirits will be sold in straight-up pours, cocktails and bottles.

Johnson, a former employee at The Flight Path wine bar in Little Italy, earned a Level 2 award through Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s sommelier program and has immersed herself in distilling programs around the country. She also maintains a blog, 1495 15th St.,

The search continues in Downtown, Little Italy and Point Loma for a replacement location of Karina’s Mexican Seafood at 10th Avenue and B Street, which permanently shut down after water pipes on the floor above it burst and caused significant damage. The family-owned restaurant, which has locations in Bonita, Otay Ranch, National City, El Cajon and Encinitas, operated in the Downtown space for nearly two years.

Punch Bowl Social in Detroit

Like this Detroit location, Punch Bowl in East Village will feature bowling lanes, an arcade and other games. (Punch Bowl Social)

The Denver-based Punch Bowl Social is coming to East Village’s developing urban sector, Makers Quarter, in the summer-fall of 2017. A one-stop establishment for food, drink and games such as bowling, shuffle board and ping pong, the venture will move into the 20,000-square-foot Coliseum Federal Athletic Club, a historic structure dating back to 1924 that was home to high-profile boxing matches over several decades. Punch Bowl has six locations throughout the country. 1485 E St.

The Cohn Restaurant Group is celebrating California Wine Month through September with various classes, winemaker dinners and tastings at more than a dozen restaurants within its portfolio.

Those in the Downtown vicinity include a tasting of 20-plus California wines from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 10, at Coasterra. The event coincides with the Sea & Air Parade honoring Fleet Week. The cost is $40 per person. A four-course Sunday brunch paired to wines from Stehleon Vineyards and Orfila Vineyards will be held at noon at Indigo Grill in Little Italy. The cost is $59.95 per person.

And from noon to 2 p.m., Sept. 24 at Island Prime, the company’s sommelier Maurice DiMarino will conduct a sipping class titled “Oenology 101” that focuses on California’s major wine regions. The cost is $40 per person, which includes assorted hors d’oeuvres. For reservations and more information, visit

Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa has debuted a Baja-inspired happy hour, held from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition to coconut margaritas, seaside spritzers and other tropical libations priced at $8 each, patrons can indulge in authentic south-of-the-border dishes such as tacos filled with crispy avocado or chili-braised beef ($3.50 each) as well as several small plates like Mexican shrimp cocktail and grilled corn with chipotle crema, ranging from $6 to $10. 2000 Second St., 619-435-3000,

—Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at

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