DO THEY OFFER REMEDIAL courses in chopstick handling at Teriyaki 101? This cutely named place in Encinitas is on Highway 101, of course . . . A moment without television seems impossible at trendoid joints in the Gaslamp Quarter, where the plasma-screen craze brings TV to the restrooms at Rakesh Popat’s handsome new Masala on lower Fifth Avenue. It won’t be surprising when want ads for “DVD deejay” appear in the classifieds . . . Got dates? They have plenty in the desert, and a site-specific microcuisine based on the succulent fruit seems to be evolving. At the 2006 Date Chef Competition, top honors went to executive sous chef Kue Her of La Casa del Zorro in Borrego Springs, whose tripartite “Dates in Asia” presentation included Cantonese coconut tempura dates dusted with Hawaiian red sea salt.
BLACK BEANS BAKED BOSTON-STYLE conceivably could be on the menu at Brazil-by-the-Hill, a new “Brazilian and American Fusion Restaurant” set to open at Third and University . . . Moules et frites (mussels in wine broth served with heaps of thin French fries) is the dish of the moment, and it appears on the appetizer list at David Witt’s winning new Hawthorn’s in the Stephen & Mary Birch North Park Theatre. If you’re feeling too skinny, dive into the delish “Mac N Cheese” entrée with Vermont Cabot Cheddar, black truffles and rock shrimp . . . Uovo in nido di patate (a poached egg in a crisp potato basket) stars on the new, Thursday-Saturday lunch menu at La Pizzeria Arrivederci in Hillcrest, which also lists frittatas, panini and those yummiest-in-town pizzas . . . Jason Schaeffer is chef-in-charge at 1500 Ocean, the contemporary restaurant that replaces the Prince of Wales Grille at Hotel del Coronado.
LOEWS AND BEHOLD: Azzura Point at Loews Coronado Bay Resort has sent the careers of a succession of fine chefs on high-flying trajectories. Jeff Tunks operates several highly regarded restaurants in Washington, D.C., and James Boyce oversees a Michelin Star–quality dining room at the luxe Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. Michael Stebner and Allison Colwell thoughtfully stayed home to give us Region in Hillcrest, where the fresh-as-the-morning-dew menu also offers house-made salumi (Italian cured meats) such as perfect, salty-sweet prosciutto aged for 12 months. In August, Azzura Point grad William Bradley will don the chef ’s toque at Addison, the fine-dining restaurant in the 50,000-square-foot clubhouse at Doug Manchester’s under-construction The Grand Del Mar resort off Highway 56. (The restaurant’s name honors Addison Mizner, whose western Mediterranean-inspired architecture swept the Florida Gold Coast in the 1920s and will be revived at The Grand.) Back at Azzura Point, the fine culinary traditions continue under chef Martin Batis, whose estocaficada (salt cod) sauce for grilled swordfish transcends the merely clever to create a savory marvel on the plate.
DO THE MATH: “Seven Before 7” sums up the nightly 5-7 p.m. Happy Hour special at Laurel, whose bar patrons pay $7 to pair any of seven drink specials with any of seven small plates (a current fave is the “Lamby Joe” sandwich) . . . The Oceanaire Seafood Room and Jsix both offer three-course, pre-Padres dinner specials for $30 (at Oceanaire, the special runs nightly before 7 p.m. through the season) . . . Chefs from 23 countries are practicing to compete against Gavin Kaysen, chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn’s El Bizcocho, who will represent the United States next January in the Bocuse d’Or, the premier international cooking competition . . . Coyly named outdoor noshes (“Piazza’s Primo Pizza,” “Winfield’s Winning Nachos” and so on) beckon at the pre-game “Rooftop Tailgate” feeds at hot spot Stingaree.