FOODfare: In Transit
Tired of toiling away in a space with low foot traffic and zero visibility (even GPS and Google can’t locate it), Terra chef/owner Jeff Rossman has decided to shut the doors of his Hillcrest eatery and head someplace where he can more easily spread his farm-to-table love. Among the plusses he lists is the fact that his new restaurant, which will be located in La Mesa, features its own hanging wall garden and goes by the handle of Terra American Bistro. It will be easier to get to, much simpler to find parking for and easier for Rossman, as a sustainability-minded chef, to go about the responsible sourcing of ingredients from around the county. Though he is happy about entering into this next chapter of his career, 13 years of fond memories in Hillcrest make the move bittersweet for Rossman, who will miss the community—its liveliness and diversity, the large number of regulars he’s enjoyed serving and the fact there are four Starbucks locations in the area. Finding a cup of Joe in La Mesa should be easy enough. Whether or not Rossman finds the customer base he’s looking for in a community less geared for his whimsical seasonal fare is a little more iffy. For as much as he does for local farmers and ranchers, here’s to hoping this driven toque gets all he deserves from the region he’s put so much into.
Taste of the Town
Visitors looking to take a bite out of downtown San Diego can now do so in a most literal sense thanks to the establishment of Bite San Diego, a company offering walking tours of the area that feed the mind and the stomach. Guides provide mental stimulation in the form of tidbits about San Diego’s early days and historically-significant features, while restaurants along the route take care of fueling up participants with their signature dishes. Tours begin at Karl Strauss Brewing Co.’s Little Italy location, the first place in San Diego to offer craft beer post-prohibition a whopping 22 years ago. From there, it’s off on a one-and-a-half mile journey that includes stops at Royal India, Currant American Brasserie, Indigo Grill, Café Zucchero and The Glass Door at the Porto Vista Hotel. The latter offers a great balcony on which to take in an expansive view of San Diego’s bay front. Tours last three hours and $39 per person tickets must be purchased in advance online or by calling (619) 634-8476. For now, the Downtown/Little Italy track is the only route offered by Bite, but communities like La Jolla and Hillcrest are being targeted for future expansion.
There is one stretch of road that is famous among hop-heads, malto-mules, Belgo-philes and sour-pusses (i.e.—craft beer fans) across the country (and even across the Atlantic). It’s State Route 78 and, thanks to talented brewers who call Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido home, that highway is more than just one of the least appealing places to be during rush hour. Escondido’s Stone Brewing Co. decided to pay homage to the west/east artery by teaming up with two of its foremost fermentation specialists, brewers Jeff Bagby from Pizza Port Carlsbad and Chuck Silva of Green Flash Brewing Co., to create Highway 78 Scotch Ale. While Bagby, Silva and Stone brewer Mitch Steele are best known for their ultra-hoppy beers, for this effort, they set out to create the antithesis; a barely-hopped, malt-driven brew with a residual sweetness as impenitent as their bitter imperialized IPAs. It’s a big departure, but one that pays off. There’s just enough crispness to keep the beer from delving into the realm of chewiness and enough alcohol at 8.8% ABV to give it the level of brawn a hearty highlander would be proud of. This limited edition collaboration beer hit stores on February 14 and is one any local yokel will want to be sure to get their hands on.
To the Moon
Kabobery Luna Grill must believe in the good luck associated with the number seven. In the midst of their seventh year of business, they’ve decided to open a third location. The spot opened in Carlsbad’s Bressi Village Center on February 13 and offers the same mix of Near East and Mediterranean cuisine as the original. Hummus, gyros, wraps and a variety of salads with Greek and Persian influence round out a menu that’s as extensive (just about every kind of protein from chicken and lamb to tiger shrimp and mahi-mahi can be found skewered for your enjoyment) as it is affordable.