Main Dish for May 2011
Italian Cheeses at BICE Ristorante
Caprese Frittata at Claire's on Cedros
This LEED Platinum-certified, eco-friendly cottage in Solana Beach serves breakfast all day, from homemade pastries to savory egg dishes. One of the best in the latter category is their Caprese salad-inspired fritatta, which tops a fluffy baked omelet with tomatoes two-ways, freshly sliced and oven roasted, house made ricotta, melted provolone, arugula salad and basil pesto made with herbs from the eatery's own garden. 246 N Cedros
Toritos at Mariscos Godoy
Chula Vista's Mariscos Godoy has a lengthy menu of Mexican seafood standouts worth eating your way through—just make sure to start with the toritos, mild to medium-hot yellow Guero peppers stuffed with meaty-textured and delectably savory smoked marlin. The peppers are coated in breadcrumbs, fried until crisp and served with a creamy tartar-like sauce; one bite of these and you'll never order standard-issue jalapeno poppers again. Beer is the perfect pairing here—preferably a michelada, in which a light lager gets doctored up with a little tomato juice, lime and a rim of chile powder and salt. 651 Palomar St.
Steamed Crab Rice at Golden City
The Hong Kong-style comfort food at this Convoy-area spot can be a great bargain at lunch and after 9 p.m., when their late-night menu kicks in. One dish that merits the occasional splurge is their steamed crab over rice. When in season, a live Dungeness crab (Market price) gets freshly plucked from a tank and placed over a large lotus leaf-lined steamer of rice; as the grains of rice cook, they absorb the rich, sweet crab essence—it's like putting potatoes under a roasting chicken. An eggy lobster sauce adds even more seafood flavor and makes eating the dish a glorious—if messy—endeavor. 5375 Kearny Villa Rd.
Cheese Bar at BICE Ristorante
At BICE in the Gaslamp, you can order a platter of three to seven cheeses from the restaurant's cheese bar in lieu of (or in addition to) dessert—from pungent taleggio to nutty aged pecorino and creamy-centered burrata. The fresh ricotta plate, which comes with chestnut honey, pistachio and orange, makes a nice, sweet ending. If you just want a snack, belly-up to a seat within arm's reach of the tempting cheese counter, lined with over twenty artisanal and regional Italian cheeses, plus cured meats and cheese-accompaniments, where a resident “cheese expert” can guide you through a tasting. Time your visit to their daily 5 to 7 p.m. happy hour, when BICE's house wines are $5 a glass. 425 Island Ave.
Beach to Brewery
Local craft beer Karl Strauss, celebrating their 22nd Anniversary, is putting on their eighth annual Beach to Brewery event on Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 7 p.m. This beer festival, held at their main Pacific Beach brewery is a benefit for the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and will feature 22 of Karl Strauss' signature beers on tap plus five special casks created just for the event, including a lavender-infused hefeweizen. Four local bands will entertain the crowd and the brewery will offer exclusive tours of their brewing facility, which is usually closed to the public. Pre-sale tickets are $25 and available at www.karlstrauss.com or $30 at the door.
Eat. Drink. Read.
Inspired by some of their favorite books, local chefs will be cooking up literary-themed dishes at a fundraiser for the San Diego Council on Literacy to be held on Wednesday, May 18 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the NTC Promenade in Liberty Station. Participating restaurants include Quality Social, Tender Greens, The Marine Room and Urban Solace. Each dish will each paired with a beer, wine or cocktail; Chef Brian Malarkey of Searsucker is planning to bring his own twist on Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. Tickets for the tasting are $60 and available at www.eatdrinkread.com. See our Local Bounty Blog for more information.
Grass Fed Beef Week
Six local restaurants have come together to establish San Diego's first annual Grass Fed Beef Week, scheduled from June 3 through June 12. Throughout the week, founding restaurants—Alchemy, Burger Lounge, The Linkery, MIHO Gastrotruck, Sea Rocket Bistro and El Take it Easy—will be featuring menu specials designed to highlight the flavor and sustainability of grass fed beef. Grass Fed Beef Week will culminate with a free outdoor BBQ-style tasting event at Whole Foods Market Hillcrest on Sunday, June 12 from 1 to 5 p.m., with all participating restaurants and chefs.
CW: Can you give us an update on the current status of Knight Salumi?
RK: We grew too big, too quickly. I was making the salumi at a large facility in St. Louis, where it would cure and afterwards I would fly out to package it and ship it home. There was a glitch in the paperwork and the USDA seized the product and basically put us out of business. I've sold the company to one of my former partners, Albert Juarez, who's now operating as the Meat Men, LLC at some local farmers' markets and selling some products that he's been working on—right now it's a mild and a spicy salami. I'm still doing some consulting for him.
CW: And now you've moved on to starting your own brewery? Can you share a little about how that project started?
RK: Forming the brewery has been a two-year process. It's a natural progression—from fermenting meat with bacteria to fermenting liquid with yeast. I've been an avid home brewer for years and have done a lot of experimenting with different beers. I made a white truffle beer once that was kind of crash-and-burn.
CW: What are you brewing now?
RK: We have two lines: one is called Mucho Aloha and we're releasing the first beer, a Hawaiian-style pale ale, at Ritual Tavern in North Park on Saturday, May 28. It's actually a Belgian pale ale but we call it Hawaiian because it goes so great with Hawaiian BBQ-style food, like kahlua pig. Next, we'll release an imperial IPA and in July we'll put out an extra pale ale that'll be geared towards sushi bars. There should be a craft beer option to drink with sushi.
All our beers are created with food in mind. One beer from our Butcher's Brewing line will be called the Entire Butt to pay homage to the history of beer. In England in the 1800's, people would go into pubs and order an “entire butt” that was a porter made from a blend of a variety of ales. We also want to make a session beer, a nut brown ale, that will pair really well with food.
CW: Where are you brewing?
Right now I'm brewing up at Bayhawk Ales in Orange County but if everything goes well in the next year, we'll look into possibly building a brewpub. It's something that I think about—I imagine a place that has a deli counter with cured meats and a brewery side with a dining component that would focus on local food.