Food & Wine
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Schooled in the fine art of food-and-wine pairing at Napa’s esteemed French Laundry, wine director Jesse Rodriguez and his sommelier staff are putting San Diego on the culinary map with the wine and service at Addison Grand Del Mar (5200 Grand Del Mar Way, 858- 314-1900; addisondelmar.com). Rodriguez has gathered everything from newly discovered French and Italian wines to topnotch cult vintages. Those who don’t imbibe aren’t left out, as Rodriguez also creates innovative nonalcoholic drinks to complement each course.
New York–Style Pizza
Pick up a Bronx-style thincrust pie——and they’ll insist you call it a pie——at Bronx Pizza, an alwaysbustling Hillcrest hole-in-the-wall (111 Washington Street, 619-291-3341; bronxpizza.com). Simple pizza with big tomato flavor is served fast with a friendly side of New York attitude. Standouts include the whitestone spinach, pesto and the good old-fashioned Bronx deluxe, loaded with sausage and pepperoni.
Busy Executive’s Boardroom Lunch
Chef Maryjo Testa of Salad Style (807 F Street, downtown, 619- 255-6731; saladstyle.com) delivers hearty and healthy salads, soups and sandwiches direct to the boardroom. Her creations are a robust marriage of simple flavors, an art she perfected while working in southern Italy. Her online customer confessions (“I admit I’ve picked fights with my husband just so we can have makeup salad”) are as clever as her baby-spinach cobb with grilled chicken, smoked bacon and goat cheese is tasty.
A cheeseburger at Bistro West (4980 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, 760-930-9100) will set you back $12, but it’s worth it. The halfpound patty, a grilled-to-order mix of Kobe and top sirloin beef, is juicy and flavorful. There is never, ever the tiny bit of bone or grit one occasionally finds in lesser cuts. The focaccia bun is soft but strong enough to support the weight of the beef and extras such as bacon, avocado, caramelized onions, mushrooms and the signature sauce, a sun-dried tomato–truffle aioli.
Gourmet to Go
This charming delicatessen has all sorts of gourmet-to-go items, including homemade pastas and fresh salads. But the made-from-scratch soups at Pronto’s Gourmet Market (2812 Roosevelt Street, Carlsbad, 760-434-2644; prontosmarket.com) are outstanding. Where else will one find Toscana soup, thick with Italian sausage, potatoes and kale? Or the cream of turkey and rice, flavored with sage and spiked with little bits of cranberry?
There are a bazillion sushi offerings at Nobu San Diego (207 Fifth Avenue, downtown, 619-814-4124; ), but one of the biggest hits is chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature fusion dish, yellowtail with jalapeño. Even cynical sushi fanatics go weak in the knees for the paper-thin slices of sashimi in ponzu sauce, arranged fanlike around a little mound of fresh cilantro, then topped with a sliver of jalapeño.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (5627 La Jolla Boulevard, 858-551-1707; birdrockcoffeeroasters.com) goes to great lengths to give customers the perfect cup of joe. Owner Chuck Patton finds the finest fair trade-certified organic beans and roasts them in small batches in a Probat drum roaster. Try the Suma tra, which is so fresh and rich you may never buy grocery-ground beans again.
Neighborhood Market and Deli
Delicious deli sandwiches, a full coffee bar and an impressive wine and cheese selection put this lowkey South Park market/lunch spot on the map. The Grant’s Marketplace staff is ultra-friendly. Tie up your dog and enjoy your sandwich at an outdoor table in this charming neighborhood (2953 Beech Street, 619-231- 0524).
Texture, crust and flavor are the hallmarks of European artisan breadmaking. Bread & Cie (350 University Avenue, 619-683-9322; breadandciecatering.com) delivers all three, plus variety. Try the black olive, the rosemary-olive, the jalapeño-and-cheese or the rich walnut-and-scallion loaves.
There are just four citrusy flavors to choose from at Apple Green (1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, 858- 551-0654), a premium frozen-yogurt shop you’ll visit and revisit. There’s the signature apple green, of course, along with blackberry, peach mango and plain tart. Choose from seven fresh-fruit toppings that make for a not-too-sweet treat.