Jesse Rodriguez shares his five favorite places to drink wine, when he’s not serving it as the advanced sommelier of The Grand Del Mar and Addison restaurant
Jaynes Gastropub, North Park: I love this place. Owners Jayne Battle and Jon Erikson really push the envelope with what to expect, with great, carefully selected wines you would find in cosmopolitan cities like New York and Chicago. Plus, it’s a great spot to sit outside in the summer and take in the urban scene.
Market Restaurant, Del Mar: A terrific North County spot. Sommelier Brian Donegan does a really great job with wine offerings here, creating new, forward-thinking wine-by-the-glass selections. He aptly describes his inventive choices as the “intersection where food and wine meet.”
Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria, Encinitas: This place is awesome. I go here at least once a week. It’s my favorite in San Diego, and the owners are true industry pros. The white, red and sparkling wine selections are outstanding and the beer amazing.
Whisknladle, La Jolla: Thanks to visionary owner Arturo Kassel, Whisknladle is unique in San Diego and makes everything in-house. I love the well-thought-out wine-by-the-glass offerings — very user-friendly. Also owned by Kassel, the Prepkitchens in Del Mar and La Jolla are just as great, though on a smaller scale.
Red Velvet Wine Bar, Little Italy: A fun, intimate spot for great wine and conversation. The wines are outstanding and reasonably priced. The food is also fabulous and pairs wonderfully with the wines. Owner Wendy Segal has done a stellar job.