By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Point Loma’s “upper Voltaire” neighborhood has seen the arrival of Cesarina, which replaces The Point Cafe. The new venture is named after the wife of one of the native-Italian owners, Niccolo Angius. It’s billed as a restaurant that honors matriarchal women of Italian heritage.
The indoor-outdoor space offers all-day dining, an exhibition kitchen and tableside presentations. The menu includes American-Italian breakfast fare, eggless pastas made in house, and a variety of southern-Italian classics. 4161 Voltaire St., 619-226-6222, cesarinarestaurant.com.
After operating for nearly 20 years in a drive-through structure in Hillcrest, Los Panchos Taco Shop recently closed but will reopen next door by late spring in the space where Brazen BBQ operated. It will feature a full bar plus additional seafood options in addition to its established menu of tacos and burritos. The owners are also gearing up to open an outpost in the west Fashion Valley area, at 6110 Friars Road, Suite 101. That location is set within a small strip plaza shared by Round Table Pizza and Mr. Peabody’s Burgers & Ale.
The space Los Panchos occupied in Hillcrest at 409 Washington St. will give way to a drive-though/walk-up Dunkin’ Donuts this spring. Its arrival will present competition to two independently owned vendors just down the street: Copper Top Coffee & Donuts, and Donut Star.
One of our city’s most cosmopolitan culinary events is at SeaWorld, where its annual Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival has grown to include 127 beer options from 25 breweries, and more than 50 dishes representing eight world regions.
Now in its fifth year, the festival will run every Saturday and Sunday for eight consecutive weekends, from March 9 through April 28. The park’s executive chef, Dave McHugh, is presenting 33 new food items to the lineup. They include French-inspired escargot pistolet rolls; sumac-rubbed Angus kebabs from the Mediterranean station; crab causa salad of South American origin; and exotically spiced dishes in a debut section named “flavors of India.” Scattered throughout the park, each global food area will spotlight four different dishes served in appetizer portions.
“The event utilizes all the tools in my tool box,” said McHugh, who took over the executive chef position at SeaWorld San Diego in July after working in the same capacity for seven years at San Diego State University. He is also a culinary instructor at Grossmont College.
“I want to make sure that every dish is accurate and authentic and made with handmade techniques. We have more than 100 production staff helping to execute the event.”
Admission to the festival is included with park admission. Once inside, guests can purchase dishes a la carte, which range from $5 to $6.50 each. Or they can buy “taster sampler” cards that feature 10 items for $50 or 15 items for $65. The cards also apply to beer and wine samples. 500 SeaWorld Drive, 619-222-4732, seaworldsandiego.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.