DON’T SNUB BROCCOLI when Su Mei Yu is near. At one of the monthly Thai street-food festivals (next up, August 7) given on the terrace of Saffron, the internationally regarded restaurateur and cookbook author spotted a mound of the green stuff on an otherwise clean plate. The culprit, an 8-year-old boy, was leaving with his parents when Su Mei began flapping her arms and legs like a puppet without strings, singing to the startled kid, "Broccoli cools your body, broccoli makes your brain grow, broccoli is healthy in every way, eat your broccoli." After the impromptu entertainment, Su Mei said, "Eating is all about balance" from her position at the barbecue, where she grilled ears of corn and spread them lightly with savory coconut cream . . . Two blocks south on India Street, The Regal Beagle brings to life the fictional bar featured on the 1980s sitcom Three’s Company. The comfy, self-described "ale house and sausage grill" serves a menu of artisan sausages, hot wings and fried green beans — because, states the menu, "salad is hard to fry."
Anthony Calamari has helmed the exotically beautiful Suite & Tender at downtown’s Sè San Diego Hotel for several months, time enough to rework the seafood and meat menu to include novelties like seaweed mignonette, a spicy, cilantro-green dip served with top-quality Atlantic and Pacific oysters. Unabashedly self-indulgent, the menu emphasizes deluxe raw-bar snacks (a chilled Maine lobster tail costs $18), and it shines with a "deconstructed" salad of the juiciest tomatoes with creamy burrata cheese and roasted Vidalia onions, a glorious petite poussin (whole baby chicken) with potato "risotto" and morels, not to mention such surf ’n’ turf reveries as butter-poached lobster with a succulent braised short rib . . . Roseville’s Chad White keeps up the good work started by Amy DiBiase, who recently took the top toque at Cosmopolitan. In this military town, the former Navy man may be the only chef to have earned a Purple Heart. One innovation: sweet-savory, sensational Medjool date-and-bacon jam spread on buttery brioche . . . Fun to return to Rosarito Beach recently after too long an absence, and delightful to dine on like-in-France fare at Bistro le Cousteau, on Boulevard Benito Juárez near the Rosarito Beach Hotel (011-52-661-612-2655).
NEW IN OLD TOWN: chef-proprietor Mark Pelliccia’s cute and cozy 25Forty Bistro (2540 Congress Street, 619-294-2540). The 35-year-old studied and cooked in Italy for 15 years, evidenced by gnocchi that melt like butter, as well as homemade fettuccine in feisty pork ragú.
IT’S CATCHING: Voted "Best Breakfast" by this magazine’s readers, The Mission was named one of America’s 25 best breakfast houses by the Zagat Survey. Informed of the twin honors, co-owner Deborah Helm rushed to Paras News in North Park. "I made the poor guy at the newsstand look while I showed him the magazine and the paper," she e-mailed an acquaintance. "He did a good job pretending to be interested." We’re interested — and we like The Mission’s blueberry pancakes . . . Jeff Rossman is at it again at Terra in Hillcrest’s Uptown Center. Every Thursday evening through mid-September, his "BBQ and Blues" dinners feature performers like Robin Henkel and Ben Powell, accompanying rotating $17.95 menus that may include meat-falling-off-the-bone St. Louis ribs and bourbon-glazed barbecued chicken . . . Dash over the Coronado Bridge to Sapori (120 Orange Avenue, 619-319-5696) for exceptional pastas and pastries presented by an Italian-English couple who emigrated from Sydney, Australia.
THOSE WHO INSIST that Germans dote on heavy food don’t know Germany. At Sally’s on San Diego Bay, chef Sarah Linkenheil brings contemporary German sensibilities to seafood cookery, piling plump Fanny Bay oysters with a blushing granite of frozen grapefruit and lime juices braced with vodka. By smoking the tomatoes that give a supple, zestful body to the broth, Linkenheil brilliantly updates California’s own cioppino, here lavished with shellfish and sea bass. Of the lemon mousse cake with cream cheese and orange compote, she says, "I had to pry the recipe out of my mom’s hands," proving her mom to be another German enamored of light, lively, lovely fare.