Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais brings his culinary smarts to San Diego with Juniper & Ivy. Set in a 100-year-od renovated warehouse on the edge of Little Italy, Juniper & Ivy is Blais’ latest project which he calls a “left coast cookery.” This greatly anticipated modernist restaurant with its giant exposition kitchen serves up California seasonal cuisine with curated products and radical techniques. Blais, who trained at The French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse and elBulli, works closely with chef de cuisine Jon Sloan, formerly the executive chef/partner at Roy’s San Diego Waterfront. Juniper & Ivy, 2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-269-9036.
Sea180 Coastal Tavern lives up to its name, with expansive 180-degree views of the Pacific and outlying Los Coronados Islands. The Cohn Group is behind the new ground-level, 10,000-square-foot restaurant in the nearly completed $28-million boutique hotel called Pier South. Set in the laid back community of Imperial Beach, this beachfront eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features Baja Med cuisine --- Pacific Rim flavors along with French, Italian and Mediterranean influences. Think stone crab potstickers with burnt orange sauce, seared sea scallops with bacon jam, charred octopus, oysters, fish tacos and more. Having spent more than 15 years as a commercial tuna fisherman prior to joining the hospitality industry, chef and restaurateur Ken Irvine will head up the culinary program at Sea180 as executive chef and partner. Look for seafood and crafty cocktails like the "Diablo Peach," a combination of house-made sage and peach-infused tequila, agave nectar and light ginger beer. Sea180 Coastal Tavern, Pier South, 800 Seacoast Dr., Imperial Beach, CA 91932, 619-631-4949.
The Gaslamp’s latest hot spot celebrates bubbles with chef Ryan Studebaker helming Encore Champagne Bar & Dining Room. This Champagne-centric restaurant and lounge features “fizz-friendly” foods like oysters and caviar, along with rare and vintage sparkling wines and fine Champagnes. Encore showcases more than 100 bottles of champagne and sparkling wine, ranging from extra-brut to demi-sec, with sparkling wines from around the world, including labels from California, Oregon, Spain, South Africa, Italy and more. Prices range from $8 per glass to $2,975 for a Jeroboam of Encore Gaslamp’s finest bottle by advance request. The restaurant offers lunch Monday through Friday, dinner nightly, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Encore Champagne Bar & Dining Room, 531 F St., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-255-5152.
Chef Colin MacLaggan, the former owner of Avenue 5, has joined the Ballast Point Brewing Company team and now helms their third outpost in Little Italy called Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen. The stunning modern-style tasting room offers approximately 25 of their award-winning beers, and MacLaggan's kitchen produces an innovative menu that nicely complements the craft brews. Dishes include duck confit salad, braised short rib lettuce wraps, juicy burgers, charcuterie plates, artisanal cheese, herbed gnocchi, and sausage rolls in puffed pastry. Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen, 2215 India St., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-255-7213.
Herringbone Heads to LA
Chef Brian Malarkey, who operates Herringbone and Searsucker in the San Diego area, has opened Herringbone at the Mondrian Los Angeles. Herringbone, Mondrian, 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-848-6000.
US Grant Cocktails Meet Culinary Cupcakes
For its 100th anniversary, the US Grant Hotel's sommelier Jeff Josenhans created a marvelous barrel-aged centennial Manhattan cocktail. This Manhattan wins fans with its smooth blend of American High West rye whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Now guests can experience another decadent treat featuring this blend, as the culinary team behind Yummy Cupcakes has partnered with the US Grant to created a caramel cupcake with hints of spice and warm vanilla undertones, blended with dark cherries, and completed by a custom crafted US GRANT centennial Manhattan buttercream for the center filling and icing. Head to Yummy Cupcakes in Encintas for a sweet treat or try the centinnel Manhattan cocktail at The Grant Grill. Centennial Manhatan cupcakes can be ordered for special events or weddings at the hotel. The Grant Grill, The US Grant, 326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, 619-744-2077.
Maitre D' Rachel Saunders Lands at Addison
Addison adds another stellar member to its staff with Maitre D' Rachel Saunders joining the team. Saunders brings eight years of hospitality experience in both California and New York City, working at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, The Napa Valley Reserve in St. Helena and at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in Manhattan. “I very much look forward to working with her, as we continue to strive to deliver the finest dining experiences to our guests,” declares executive chef/director William Bradley. Addison, The Grand Del Mar, 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA 92130, 858-314-1900.
Executive chef Eric Bauer has left Rancho Valencia to move on to a position at a catering company. The search is on for a new executive chef. Matt Borbon will remain chef de cuisine at Veladora. Veladora, Rancho Valencia, 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067, 858-759-6216.
At Loews Coronado Bay Resort, chef Adam Cho now commands the signature restaurant, Mistral, and has created a global fusion-inspired menu that features tapas-style small plates, seafood and Mediterranean flavors. A graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Cho also worked under Todd English at Olives in New York City, and expanded his Japanese cooking and sushi knowledge while working at Katsuya by Starck San Diego. Dishes include lobster pot pie, Korean short ribs, scallop and yellowtail ceviche and miso black cod. Mistral, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, 4000 Coronado Bay Rd., Coronado, CA 92118, 619-424-4000.
Chef Brian Malarkey’s Point Loma eatery Gabardine has shuttered. His remaining fabric-themed restaurants in San Diego are Herringbone and two locations of Searsucker. Gabardine, 1005 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA 92106, no phone.
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