New & Notable
New & Notable San Diego restaurants, "The Sip" and our Quiz on Brian Malarkey
photo by: john dole
When Hanis Cavin read Charlotte’s Web, we can only assume he salivated. The ex-Kensington Grill chef has finally opened Carnitas’ Snack Shack, a hole-in-the-wall full of warm swine. “There are fish houses and steakhouses,” he says. “This is our pork house.” His slab of spicy-sweet belly could be used to bludgeon disorderly vegans. He’s also got a BLT-on-brioche, a Black Forest ham-and-cheese, and even a semi-poutine with fries, pulled pork, and white-cheddar gravy made with bacon fat. His pièce de résistance? A Kaiser roll with pepperoncini-relish hosting breaded pork loin, pulled pork, and applewood-smoked bacon. More forms of pig than Les Girls’ lunch crowd. “This is not health food,” admits Cavin. No, sir. Go flax seed somewhere else. 2632 University Ave., carnitassnackshack.com.
La Jolla’s revival, Downtown’s super-sizing and... Bencotto
Umami Burger is coming. No, SD does not need another gourmet burger joint. But Umami is an especially good moo-stack. At Andaz, the Katsuya team has started work. And two massive projects are underway near PETCO. First is Block 16 Union & Spirits, Ty Hauter’s (Bub’s, The Tipsy Crow) 20,000-square-foot “House of Blues meets Cabo’s Squid Row,” with a 25-foot by 35-foot Jumbotron for DJs and bands. Next door at the former Dizzy’s jazz club? An old-school lunch counter (dogs, knockwurst, root beer on tap). The same block will get Gang Kitchen, a 5,000-square-foot pan-Asian warehouse from Jon Mangini (Basic, Urbn), chef-partner Jo Ann Plympton (Le Gavroche, Aja), and designer Graham Downes.
The economic Armageddon hit La Jolla restos the hardest. But 2012 is looking like a revival. Two brothers (and LJ High grads) are opening Puesto—poised to become the Five Guys/Burger Lounge of street taco joints with made-fresh, farm-to-table-ish Mex. “Papa Doug” Manchester is also retrofitting 1205 Prospect St. for a restaurant tenant. Squash the rumors of Amaya south—Manny’s people strongly deny it.
Two of SD’s most beloved bistros are guilty of coveting their neighbors. Bencotto is doing a second concept next door, and North Park’s The Smoking Goat has leased the adjacent fish market. Wall goes down, bar and seratonin levels go up.
THE SIP: On Tap This Month: Barrel-Aged Brews
Not familiar with barrel-aged beers? Spanning the spectrum of taste, they can be light-bodied and fruity with a hint of Hansel and Gretel woodsiness. They can also be, tart, funky, or sour enough to devour tooth enamel. The beers are aged in oak barrels, most of which previously held something other than beer—like whiskey, bourbon (most popular), Scotch, rye, red or white wine, brandy, sherry, or port. We’ve even seen a few tequila barrels. Different batches are often blended for a balanced final product, just like wine or spirits.
Try ’em out:
Best Damn Beer Shop’s “Night of the Barrels” will be held on February 25 at Downtown Johnny Brown’s, with over 30 bourbon-barrel-aged brews.
This spring, URGE Gastropub is releasing a syrah barrel-aged version of their Very Bad Things brew—a collaboration with Mother Earth Brew Co.
Many of The Lost Abbey’s beers are barreled. A few of their spring releases to note are Red Poppy (a Flanders style red ale) and Framboise de Amarosa, (a raspberry ale aged in wine barrels). This month they’ll release Track 2 of their year-long “Box Set” series. This one’s a Belgian strong ale aged in bourbon barrels with sour cherries. (For more on this series, turn to page 20.)
Oakquinox - On April 17, theStone Brewing bash will feature over100 barrel-aged gems.
By Melani Gordon, co-founder of taphunter.com
QUIZ: Man of the Cloth: What Will Brian Malarkey Open Next?
First came Seersucker in Downtown. Then Carmel Valley’s Burlap. Now chef Brian Malarkey has announced more fabric-themed restaurants in SD. Three of these are real:
By Troy Johnson