All the Angles
THE INSIDE CORNER: If some of us read press releases as carefully as their authors wished, we would have known months ago that Randy Miller was the guy to schmooze for inside dope on Platinum Equity, the Beverly Hills investment firm that bought The San Diego Union-Tribune. Not to say Miller would have spilled the beans, but as former private chef for the equally private firm, who knows what info he heard dished while he dished the fancy fare he learned at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. But we won’t find out, since he’s bailed from 333 Pacific already (why do good chefs have restless feet?) and has been replaced by Matthew Briggs. There’s no telling if Briggs is privy to tasty gossip, but he has a classy résumé that includes several top joints in Scottsdale (Tarbell’s, Barcelona Club) and a stint under the gifted James Boyce at Montage in Laguna Beach ... Never having met an exotic ingredient he couldn’t conquer, Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room will feature September Restaurant Week dishes such as “honey crystal plum-scented Maine diver scallops” dressed with Buddha’s Hand sake essence. The title of the Fiji macadamia-spiced Baja prawns neatly expresses the bold Breton’s unique “global cuisine rooted in the French classics” ... Here’s pie in your face: The centennial edition of the annual Julian Fall Apple Harvest commences September 15 and runs to mid-November. What better budget vacation than a lazy drive to the mountains to eat pie, drink cider and bring home rosy cheeks and a bushel of apples?
TRIANGLES AND TRAPEZOIDS may go together like peas and carrots, but when it’s time for dinner, there’s nothing like C. Barclay Dodge’s sensationally savory bacon and eggs. Possessed of a name that could be blazoned on The Social Register, Dodge has glamorized the cooking at Rancho Valencia under the auspices of Auberge Resorts, which now manages the romantic retreat and its sister property, La Valencia. Earthy chanterelles mingle with chunks of house-smoked bacon as a rugged bed for a gently poached egg dressed with plenty of garlic, and it’s as good an appetizer as can be found in San Diego. The Artful Dodger uses slices of jellied tomato terrine to intensify the luxury of heirloom tomatoes with Dungeness crab——and then there are rabbit ravioli, glazed duck breast with blackberry-cassis sauce, off-the-tree-tasting peach sorbet...
ROUND AND ROUND AND ROUND they go, and where they stop, you’ll find skaters with sticky fingers. Free-wheelers will fuel themselves with fragrant rolls before making the rounds of Homie’s Cinnamon Roller Rink Restaurant & Outdoor Pet Café on 10th Avenue near J Street, which, depending how you approach the place, is around the bend from the sleek new Hotel Indigo, or around the bend from Petco Park. Or maybe it’s just around the bend. Action and comfort food will animate this one-of-a-kind fun house, opening later in 2009 to purvey fare like “Homie’s Hash Brown Specialty Sandwich” ... The very French Philippe Verpiand, chef/patron of Cavaillon in Santaluz, is a partner in the new Luc’s Bistro in Poway, where the Southern cooking draws on Alabama rather than Verpiand’s hometown in the south of France ... Should a Happy Hour for attorneys feature squid pro quo?
SQUARE DEALS: On the eastern edge of Encinitas, Firenze Trattoria has passed 15 pleasant years serving the cuisine of Italo Peveri, a Milanese who cooks à la Fiorentino. His specialty: crisply coated, bully-sized scampi finished with a tart sauce. Nice, as are the rigatoni with vodka and mushrooms and the perfect veal saltimbocca ... Some résumés read like dream itineraries, although the circumnavigations may have been all work and no play. Oasis Bar & Grill, Sorrento Mesa’s new, high-line eatery in the Woodfin Hotel San Diego, features seasonal Provençal menus by Swiss-born, world-traveling Patrizio Sacchetto.
The Music Man
DID ERIC BAUER weigh his options on musical scales when he took the top toque at Anthology? The plush jazz club quickens the beat of a quiet stretch of India Street, and the Chicago native, who attended his hometown’s Kendall College of Culinary Arts, maintains the tempo by serving impressive dishes such as pan-gilded George’s Bank sea scallops with Meyer lemon beurre blanc and buttery braised beef short ribs with intensely aromatic natural juices. Since Bauer surfs and dives, he gladly returned to a region he met some years ago when cooking at Carlsbad’s Four Seasons Resort Aviara under the tutelage of Pascal Vignau, the virtuoso French chef who now owns Savory in Encinitas. If graduates of the Culinary Institute of America often hurry to disclose their credentials, top chefs swear by on-the-job experience, and Bauer’s learning curve at an international roster of Four Seasons hotels grants him the equivalent of a Ph.D. in ars gastronomica. At Anthology, where a couple of hundred guests expect to be fed simultaneously, you’re either quick or dead, and Bauer says it’s a challenge “when we get that one rush from 7:15 to 8:15.” He triumphs with a culinary panache infrequently met at musical venues. A drum roll, please.