Hot Stuff What’s hot. What’s not. Who’s in. Who’s out.
By Patricia Walsh
NEW AND OF NOTE: A 1930s-style seafood concept, The Oceanaire Seafood Room is slated to open downtown this month with second- generation San Diegan Mike Mitchell at the helm. “We want to be part of the renaissance in San Diego,” says Mitchell, whose résumé includes Star of the Sea, the Marine Room, Fio’s, the Grant Grill and the Hotel del Coronado, where he began his career as a server and bartender. “We want to perpetuate and elevate San Diego as a culinary destination,” he says. To do so, Mitchell is teaming with executive chef and operating partner Brian Malarkey, who showcased his talents at the Beard House’s Crab Extravaganza just prior to Oceanaire’s San Diego debut. Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon, Malarkey also worked with chef Michael Richard at the popular California-French Citrus in Los Angeles. Oceanaire, with a trendy location on J Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues near Petco Park, is the sixth U.S. location. The wood-accented retro restaurant has an ocean liner feel to set the mood for the fresh seafood flown in daily . . . The long-tired Qwiig’s restaurant, kept alive by its oceanfront location and view of the Pacific, is sailing into the sunset. Ed Moore, of Thee Bungalow and Third Corner in Ocean Beach and Nick’s at the Beach in Pacific Beach, reports he and partner Jon Small have purchased the lease on the O.B. eatery and will be opening another Nick’s in its place. Moore promises to breathe life back into the restaurant, which he will remodel with a “neighborhood-bar atmosphere, with lots of flat-screen TVs and a private dining room catering to the 25- to 45-year-old crowd.”
CHEF SHUFFLE: With chef Paul McCabe’s move to L’Auberge del Mar Resort & Spa, he now has three San Diego restaurants on his résumé: a brief stint at Top of the Cove, a slightly longer stay at Star of the Sea (where he brought acclaim and patrons back to the Anthony’s Seafood Group high-end concept) and now L’Auberge. McCabe replaces Idaho-bound Tom Atkins, who for six years made L’Auberge’s J. Taylor a wonderful place for lunch . . . With just three months on the job at the W Hotel’s Rice, chef Matthew Herter has unveiled his new menu, which he describes as “a broader interpretation of fusion in a concept designed to promote sharing.”
RESTAURANTS TO THE RESCUE: Local chefs and restaurant owners were out in full force in the name of philanthropy in September. The Emilio Nares Foundation, founded in San Diego by Diane and Richard Nares for families whose children have cancer, held its Harvest for Hope event with the help of Region’s Michael Stebner, Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille, Antonio Friscia of Alfiere at the Sheraton Harbor Island, Fabrice Poigin of Chive and Kensington Grill, Amiko Gubbins of Parallel 33, Ramon Lopez of The WineSellar & Brasserie, George Riffle of Laurel, Ingrid Croce of Croce’s and Eduardo Baeza of Candelas. The foundation, named for Emilio Nares, who lost his battle with lymphoblastic leukemia at 6, provides assistance to families in San Diego County . . . Karl Strauss Brewery cofounder and chief executive officer Chris Cramer and his wife, Kirsten, were honored at the annual Hospitality and Tourism Spirit of Life Dinner, benefiting City of Hope in Los Angeles. True to Cramer’s laidback, San Diego–native style, this year’s event shed the black-tie attire worn for past honorees David Cohn, Ingrid Croce and Reint Reinders. Instead, partygoers stepped out in Hawaiiantheme garb for the evening’s bonfire and dessert finale on the beach at the Hotel Del. . . . Chef ambassador Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room was overseas in the Republic of Georgia, where he cooked a dinner for Prime Minister Zurab Zvania to help raise money for a local orphanage. Guillas’ menu of choice featured Southern California cuisine cooked with local Georgian products.
Cooking from the Cottage
Laura Wolfe, owner of The Cottage in La Jolla, has coauthored a book with Gourmet Magazine columnists Jane and Michael Stern. Wolfe launched a national book tour last month to promote Southern California Cooking from the Cottage: Casual Cuisine from Old La Jolla’s Favorite Beachside Bungalow. Perhaps America’s foremost experts on regional food, the Sterns have published more than 30 books. A graduate of the Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration School at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Wolfe bought The Cottage, a turn-of-the century structure at 772 Fay Avenue, in 1992. Cooking from The Cottage is available from Rutledge Hill Press for $19.99.
Patricia Walsh can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.