By Frank Sabatini
Beer-centric North Park is also becoming a hub for coffee drinkers with the May 4 opening of Holsem Coffee, a small-batch roaster showing off a 2,200-square-foot “coffee parlour” designed in Calcutta marble and oxidized maple wood. Co-owner Salpi Sleiman, who also founded Roast Coach Coffee Bar, teamed up with Shane Brennan of Suja Juice and Comun Kitchen & Tavern for the new Uptown venture, which includes a 15-tap beer system as well.
Look for about 18 different coffee drinks using sustainable beans sourced from around the world. Their recipes incorporate components such as house-made nut milks, fruit purees and syrups made from evaporated cane sugar. The menu also features espresso shakes, tea drinks and homemade sodas. 2911 University Ave., 619-546-8542.
A franchised gourmet store specializing in oils, vinegars and spirits pulled from casks opens May 3 in the HUB Hillcrest Market. Vom Fass originally launched in Germany and spread across Europe before fanning out to 25 locations in the U.S. The San Diego shop, headed by franchisees Colleen and Jay Cavalieri of Coronado, will also carry pasta, syrups, pestos and spreads. Its spirits selection extends to brandy, whiskey, absinthe and more made by small-batch distillers from around the world. 1050 University Ave., Suite E-103, 619-534-5034.
Take a gustatory trip around the globe at SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival, which features 10 different food and drink stations around the park representing flavors from France, Baja, Asia, South American and more. The festival runs on weekends through May 23-24. The dishes, which highlight sustainable, local ingredients, are created by SeaWorld’s Executive Chef, Axel Dirolf, who teaches culinary classes at the Art Institute of California, San Diego. Small-plates range from $4 to $5.50; although park guests can opt for the $40 “sampler package” good for five food items and five drinks. Several craft breweries are also taking part in the month-long event. 500 SeaWorld Drive, 800-257-4268.
Leave it to the French kitchens for snagging some of the first seasonal bounties when devising their spring menus. Chef Ken Irvine of Bleu Boheme in Kensington has just introduced a new list of dishes that unite early asparagus and English peas in farro salad; fresh heirloom cauliflower and haricots vert for steak au poivre; and pistachios and local strawberries in apricot-mascarpone tarts. In addition, mussels cooked in a variety of different sauces and herbs are now available in 1- or 2-pound pots. 4090 Adams Ave., 619-255-4167.
Attention taco and burrito lovers on the hunt for something a little different but not over the top. The new Amorcito Corazon Mexican Bistro in North Park is up and running with a few menu standouts you don’t often find amid the competition. Vegetarians, for example, can opt for tortillas filled with cactus or huitlacoche (corn fungus) while carnivores can opt for red snapper, calamari or chili verde in theirs. And for those who can’t live without their kale salads, this one receives a worthy kick from jalapeno-Caesar dressing. The modestly decorated eatery recently replaced Veg-N-Out. 3442 30th St., 619-293-3569.
—Write to Frank Sabatini Jr. at email@example.com.