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New & Notable - June 2011



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Caffè Vergnano 1882
Italy’s oldest coffee manufacturing company recently opened its first coffeehouse in the U.S. in Hillcrest. Manager Hector Rabellino moved to San Diego from Italy to oversee the opening and plans to stay in California as the company debuts six more locations in the state in the next year. sandiego1882.com

Fibonacci’s Bistro
Chef Andrew Spurgin and Waters Catering have opened Fibonacci’s at the Campus Point complex in the UTC area. In partnership with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, which built the Platinum LEED-certified building, Waters also collaborated with Urban Plantations to create a sprawling organic garden on site, where Chef Spurgin sources the majority of the produce and herbs for the seasonal menus he creates weekly. waterscatering.com

Mission Brewery
Mission Brewery has opened a new brewing operation and tasting room downtown in the old Wonder bread factory building. Just a block east of PETCO Park, the tasting room will open early for craft beer fans when the Padres are in town. missionbrewery.com 

Sambazon Açaí Café
Expect more than just Açaí bowls at this new Cardiff café. There are also smoothies, hearty oatmeal, a special kids menu, and a rotating display of local artwork and designs created in collaboration with eVocal, a community of local artists that specialize in eco-friendly design, art, apparel, and revitalization projects. Most of the furniture and fixtures are made from reclaimed or salvaged materials. sambazon.com

La Valencia
Michelin-starred Chef Jason McLeod of the acclaimed Ria in Chicago moved to San Diego last month and started work on a consulting contract at the La Valencia Hotel. No word on exactly what changes he’ll be making to which of the hotel’s many eateries, but food snobs everywhere can, at the very least, rejoice at his presence at the Pink Lady. lavalencia.com

Brooklyn Bagel and Bialy
East Villagers welcomed a new bagel shop near PETCO Park in April. The proprietor’s family is from Brooklyn, New York, so authenticity is expected with these rounds, as well as a full lunch menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads. A handful of patio tables make for prime people watching on Tenth Avenue. ordermybagel.com

Sea Rocket Bistro
North Park’s sustainable seafood restaurant announced a new executive chef and partner, Chad White. Formerly of Roseville, White most recently ran his own catering company, EGO Culinary Trends, where he created and jarred his own artisan food product, Medjool date-bacon jam, and collaborated on food events with other local chefs. White is joining forces with Sea Rocket’s current owners, Dennis Stein and Elena Rivellino; the restaurant’s current chef, Christy Samoy, will also be staying on. White intends to continue to focus on local and sustainable seafood and proteins but will update the menu to some extent, including some of the restaurant’s mainstays—sardines, oysters and sea urchin—with seasonal flavors and contemporary cooking techniques. searocketbistro.com

Yu Me Ya
The Japanese sake house’s second location is now open in a tiny storefront in Hillcrest. Ordering several small plates and snacks is the way to go at this izakaya, which also boasts an extensive list of sakes and Japanese beer. 619-683-3230 (no website yet)

Café Sevilla
The salsa scene is back this summer, as Café Sevilla plans to reopen in its new, larger location on Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp. The owners spent nearly $3 million on the new space, including a subterranean dance floor and club, exhibition kitchen and tapas bar, and tri-level dining room. cafesevilla.com


Native Foods on its Way

L.A., Orange County, and Palm Springs have it, and soon San Diego will, too—twice over. Healthy vegan restaurant Native Foods will open two locations in San Diego this year: One in North County and one uptown or downtown. CEO Daniel Dolan, the brains behind the small chain that serves the type of meatless food even carnivores embrace, has long searched for the perfect locations in America’s Finest. He’s on the verge of finalizing, but doesn’t want to jinx it by disclosing. Soon, my friends, soon. // Brooke Larios


Good Habits

Hillcrest’s Pizza Fusion has closed, but by early July, a new restaurant should be popping up in its place. The co-founders of Eco Caters, an all-organic catering company with locations in San Diego and L.A., have taken over the space and renamed it Local Habit. The team is currently testing recipes, but they plan to utilize the built-in pizza oven to create 11-inch Napoletana-style pizzas, available with white, wheat, and gluten-free crusts. Toppings will be sourced from organic farms in California, including Suzie’s Farm. Pizza flavors—seven in all, with two rotating specials—will include quattro formaggio, braised pork, and bacon & egg. The menu will be rounded out by salads, bar snack, and sides; and sandwiches made with homemade bread, including a B.L.T. with house-cured bacon and “The Habit Sandwich,” a pickled beef sandwich with house made aïoli, sautéed kale, and pickled onions. Local Habit’s drinks will come exclusively from California, which means a lot of craft beer—Stone, AleSmith and Russian River—and boutique wines, plus handmade sodas. // Candice Woo

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