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TALK ABOUT TURKEYS: The “Turkey-A-Go-Go” promotion at the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s El Bizcocho threatens to send Thanksgiving dinner guests home with “care packages to be enjoyed on the plane or road.” Comestibles include a rolled turkey sandwich and butternut squash salad. Airplane food, anyone? . . . In other El Biz news, young chef Gavin Kaysen, who in 2003 represented the United States at the major Paris culinary event called La Trophee International de Cuisine et Patisserie, is coaching the 2006 American contestant.

ROLL UP YOUR PANTS for the November 14-16 high tide breakfasts at the Marine Room. Guests browse the lavish buffet to the accompaniment of crashing surf . . . In December, the Marine Room’s footloose Bernard Guillas will headline a “Celebrity Chef Cruise” aboard the Radisson Seven Seas from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. You’re invited. Bring money.

IF IT QUACKS LIKE A DUCK, it isn’t jidori chicken, locally introduced by Riko Bartolome of Asia-Vous in Escondido. The Japanese term means “earth chicken,” and the well-bred, ultrafree-range fowl appear on powerhouse menus around California.

DOES EATING SUSHI MAKE ARNOLD a girlie man? The California Rice Commission included a “Governor’s Roll” among the creations judged at the Sushi Masters competition held recently in L.A.’s Little Tokyo, where Jerry Warner of Café Japengo and Rosendo Rendon of Zensei Sushi represented San Diego . . . Cool times at Fifty-Seven Degrees, the wine locker and lounge at 1330 G Street. This neat joint offers a huge, very choice list by the glass and bottle, and on Sundays presents the NFL on DirecTV from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

BURSTING AT THE SEAMS: Ortega’s opened in February, and now this fine Mexican bistro in Hillcrest is expanding from 60 to almost 200 seats. Proprietors Juan Carlos Ortega and John Haugland target February 28, 2006, for completion.

HUSH MY PUPPIES! The pulled pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries served at La Costa’s Joey’s Smokin’ B.B.Q. (6955 El Camino Real) sure taste good . . . The Flaming Skewer, a Mediterranean restaurant, will open shortly on Fifth Avenue near University. Love the name . . . The 911 switchboard lit up one Sunday when the brunch bunch used cell phones to report the “buck naked man” strolling among porch tables at The Mission SOMA in East Village.

YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN: “The good days outnumber the bad days,” says Brett Miller. Well, it probably is nice to own the ultra-hot Tower 23 hotel and its JRDN restaurant, which now serves weekend brunch . . . On November 10, chef Deborah Schneider of the underappreciated J-Six at Hotel Solamar conducts a daytime class on Baja cuisine . . . “From one bar to the other,” purrs attorney Rochelle Bioteau, who for 10 years has litigated by day and served drinks by night at Laurel, which now offers a bar menu.

THE KATRINA-BLOWN DIASPORA has scattered good cooks across the country. One of them briefly cooked at Vincent’s in Escondido and prepared jambalaya for the mid-September “Escondido Cares” benefit hosted by several Grand Avenue restaurants, which raised $25,000 for hurricane relief . . . I’d like to bend an elbow at Johnny White’s, the French Quarter sports bar that poured through, and after, Katrina . . . The storm destroyed the New Orleans headquarters of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and as a result, a West Coast office likely will open in San Diego . . . An Antoine’s menu from 1964 lists pheasant under glass (the costliest dish) for $5.25. And oysters Rockefeller, reputedly invented by this granddaddy of Big Easy restaurants, cost all of $1.25. Hope they reopen to full houses.

Side Dish

Get Stung

STINGAREE the three-story club-cum-restaurant taking shape behind the façade of a Sixth and Island warehouse, will exchange your $2,000 for an invite to the grand opening (possibly midwinter) and a Sting Card. The card’s 10 percent food and wine discount during the first two years of “membership” will lower the tab from the interplanetary to the merely stratospheric, especially in the private, mezzanine-level booths providing “a voyeuristic view of the nightclub below.” Sounds like one hot spot, despite the cool waterfall that will cascade three stories into the bar. Translucent staircases will wind to the Rooftop Oasis and its assuredly decadent Penthouse Suite. Will revelers at the outdoor fire pit send smoke signals to pals partying at J-Bar? Antonio Friscia of Alfiere at the Sheraton Harbor Island has signed on as chef . . . Near Stingaree, the new Trophy’s draws crowds, and groundbreakings for Hard Rock and Marriott Renaissance hotels promise ever more eateries and bars. Pass the peanuts . ..

© 2006 San Diego Magazine
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