CHOCOLATISSIMO: In 2004, San Diegan William Gustwiller earned a master’s in fine arts—and went to work inventing novel chocolate truffles. Today, his Eclipse Chocolat label offers wildly original (and luscious) mouthfuls, including one flavored with peppered goat cheese and figs. Find them at the Global Village Marketplace on India Street, or enjoy them at a sweetheart’s tasting at California Cuisine on Valentine’s Day.
IT’S A NEW ONE ON ME: The title “C.E.C.” is embroidered on the chef ’s jacket worn by Dobson’s Kurt Metzger. The 37-year-old graduate of the Culinary Academy of America in Hyde Park, New York, was awarded the title “certified executive chef” in honor of conspicuous achievement, and Paul Dobson hired him anyway . . . John Alonge, co-owner of the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center in the Harbor Club (visitors to the Convention Center have discovered the afternoon tastings), stocks every wine produced in San Diego, and claims “there is no other place on the planet” where you can find them all assembled. On Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m., live jazz brightens popular wine-and-cheese parties at the center.
I STILL DON’T GET WHY it’s named Jack’s, but whatever, the multi-room behemoth at Wall and Girard in downtown La Jolla will host the first local event on the James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour. Numerous San Diegans have traveled to New York for the prestige of cooking at Beard House, and the March 6 dinner ($150 per person for five courses and wines) in the Dining Room at Jack’s will replicate the Big Apple experience when Tony DiSalvo shares his kitchen with Gavin Kaysen, Bernard Guillas, Paul McHabe and Riko Bartolome . . . “Since I turned 40, I’m feeling awesome!” exclaims lean, lanky Fabrice Poigin, über-chef for the kitchens of restaurateur Tracy Borkum (Chive, Kensington Grill, Laurel). “That’s why I live in San Diego—I have a good lifestyle,” adds the top-ranked kick-boxer.
NEW GUY IN TOWN Brian Sinnott, chef for Molly’s at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, may lure locals to this long-running eatery with offerings like fried, ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms sauced with fresh corn, and an heirloom tomato salad with Spanish Marcona almonds.
SPAMALOT: The L&L Hawaiian Barbecue chain, which recently opened its fifth location in Hillcrest and soon will threaten Escondido and Chula Vista with Spam-enriched saimin soup, is proof of the surprising local popularity of hefty Hawaiian plate lunches, such as a barbecued beef, short rib and chicken combo garnished with macaroni salad and two scoops of rice . . . The name happily chosen for the remade Fifth & Hawthorn opening near the North Park Theatre: Hawthorn’s, a Restaurant.