By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The sprawling Town & Country resort in Mission Valley recently underwent a few changes to its food and beverage outlets in the wake of a major makeover that began this month.
Inside the property’s vintage Tiki Pavilion is a newly installed bar contained within a 1964 Shasta trailer named “Trixie.” Open to the public from 4 to 11 p.m., daily, it offers a range of specialty drinks such as Riki Tiki Punch made with two rums. Midcentury lounge furniture was also brought into the pavilion, which will serve as the “lobby bar” during the resort’s renovation.
Just across the courtyard is the full-service Terrace Cafe, which reopened after a kitchen remodel. It serves lunch and dinner and offers a marketplace section for beverages and snacks. It, too, is open to the public.
In the meantime, the long-established restaurant and bar named Charlie’s has closed. It was located at the east end of the property, where demolition is now underway.
The remodel to the 25-acre property is due for completion by the second quarter of 2020. It is owned by Lowe Enterprises and the locally based Brown family. 500 Hotel Circle North, 619-291-7131, towncountry.com.
North Park saw the recent arrival of La Catrina Tapas & Cantina, a modern-casual bistro that replaced Tostadas. The concept, says co-owner Roger Canez, brings to San Diego the flavors of Mexico, including those from the culinary culture of Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe wine region.
A vibrant, festive design sets the stage for a menu spotlighting fresh seafood, grilled meats and unique specialty dishes such as rib-eye on a Himalayan salt block, and surf-and-turf featuring octopus and carnitas with wild mushrooms. Mexican wines and local craft beers are also in the offing. 3139 University Ave., 619-436-0060.
The most unique cocktail vessel we’ve seen in a while are the functioning lamps used for a new Jagermeister and vodka drink at Sycamore Den in Normal Heights. Named “den after dark,” the concoction is served in the bellies of kitschy lamps that jive to the bar’s “dad-inspired” theme. Priced at $40, other ingredients that go into it include orange curacao, tangerine juice and clove syrup. 3391 Adams Ave., 619-563-9019, sycamoreden.com.
On Nov. 13 there was a grand opening of Tahona, a mezcal bar and tasting room perched alongside Old Town’s historic Cemetery of El Campo Santo. The official launch, which coincides with Tahona’s first taco Tuesday, will feature specials on drinks and south-of-the-border fare from 5 p.m. to midnight. In addition, the establishment will donate $1 from every taco sold to Corazon de Vida, a nonprofit that supports orphanages throughout Baja. (The San Diego chapter was founded by Tahona’s owner, Amar Harrag.) 2414 San Diego Ave., tahonabar.com.
The new Deja Brew Lounge in North Park has opened to the tune of soft-serve ice cream contained in churro cones, plus specialty desserts, gourmet lemonades and crafty coffee drinks. The latter includes flavors like strawberries and cream, cookie butter and “slutty chai.” Matcha drinks and loose-leaf teas are also available. 2528 University Ave., 858-230-5224, dejabrewlounge.com.
Our city’s largest epicurean event returns with the 15th annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, to be held Nov. 11–18 at more than 40 venues citywide. The festival offers a packed schedule of cooking classes, chef dinners and wine events throughout town during the period.
Most of them culminate with the Grand Tasting, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., Nov. 17, on the spacious lawns of Embarcadero Marina Park North. (400 Kettner Blvd.) Visitors can sample foods from more than 60 restaurants and companies while sipping beer, wine and spirits from nearly 100 purveyors. General admission to the tasting is $135. VIP tickets, which includes 1 a.m. admission, are $225. For a complete schedule of festival events, visit sandiegowineclassic.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.