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Fresh picks in San Diego this month


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Back of the House

Back of the House

Celebrity chefs are part of the zeitgeist now, but what do we really know about them and how they run their restaurants? Food writer and clinical psychologist Scott Haas spent nearly two years hanging out at Boston hot spot Craigie on Main with chef/owner Tony Maws to go deep into the mind of a chef and the heart of a restaurant. His book, Back of the House ($16/Berkley), is a delicious read for restaurant lovers curious about the characters in the kitchen and how diners’ experiences are made.

In Season

Cherries

Cherries

April is the beginning of cherry season. In San Diego, you’ll usually find Bing and Rainier varieties. Look for unblemished plump fruit, with a bright and shiny skin and firm flesh. (Tip: Cherries with their stems keep longer than those without.) While snacking on cherries is clearly a delight, you can turn them into a sauce for sweet or savory dishes—from an ice cream topping to a glaze for Cornish game hens. There’s pie, of course, preserves, and gelato, and you can also chop them into cakes
and cookies.

 

Terra CondimentsToppings

Terra Condiments

Even if you don’t want to make it yourself, soup doesn’t have to come from a can—just ask caterer Shanti Claydon. She has some 70 varieties, based on local, organic products. The soups—like North African vegetable, Italian cannellini bean, and watermelon gazpacho—are all vegan and usually gluten-free. They’re sold in quart-size jars for $10, but you’ll get a dollar back when you return the jar. Find her at the Little Italy Mercato and Leucadia farmers market. shantiskitchen.com

 

Pure cupcakesBites

Pure Cupcakes

I know. I know. Cupcakes. Still? But these are terrific, with a moist cake and irresistible toppings. My fave is the Rol-e-ol-ee-o, a dark chocolate cake and caramel center with caramel buttercream, hand-dipped in dark chocolate. Owners and best friends Nikki Black and Mary Sarain opened the Pacific Beach shop in January with two dozen varieties including the Mayan ‘Cheri,’ Lemon Curd, Buñuelos, and Borracho (made with Patrón Silver tequila) that rotate every few days. 1772 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach

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