The two-aisle Stehly Farms Market in Linda Vista is an inconspicuous gem for buying organic produce and groceries, not to mention fresh juices made from a juicing station in the back of the store. Many of the fruits and vegetables are brought in daily from the company’s 300-acre namesake farm in North County as well as from others in the region. 1231 Morena Blvd., 619-276-4985, stehlyfarmsmarket.com.
A new culinary journey awaits chef Rich Sweeney as he prepares for his role as executive chef for the San Diego debut of North Italia, due to open this fall in Fashion Valley Mall by Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts.
Sweeney became known for his creative takes on American comfort food while running the former R Gang Eatery in Hillcrest for five years. He most recently served as executive chef at Waypoint Public in North Park and helped open its second location in Del Sur.
Sweeney says that cooking Italian — and for the projected high volumes expected at North Italia — will present the career challenges he has been seeking.
“I’ll be making my own pasta dough, which I haven’t done in years,” he added.
North Italia will be located at the northeast section of the mall, near Bloomingdale’s and True Food Kitchen. With more than a dozen locations spanning from Southern California to Kansas, the menu will offer scratch-made fare ranging from meatballs and fresh-pasta dishes to assorted pizzas and meat and seafood entrees. 7055 Friars Road, northitaliarestaurant.com
Odds and Ends: Who would’ve thought that a single slice of cheese pizza from the Costco food court packs a whopping 760 calories? Strangely, the count is higher than the pepperoni slice, which is listed at 710 calories. “I think it’s because there is a little less cheese on the pepperoni slices,” an employee at the Mission Valley location told us. 2345 Fenton Parkway, 619-358-4000, costco.com.
San Diego’s first omakase-only sushi bar is due to open in Kearny Mesa by mid-summer. Named Hidden Fish, the 1,000-square-foot space will feature only 13 seats and offer dining sessions lasting either 30 or 90 minutes.
The Japanese term “omakase” means that customers leave the selection of what they eat up to the chef. Here, the menu will be void of pedestrian fare such as miso soup and California rolls and instead feature artistic constructs using ingredients like local sea urchin, sea bream, caviar and truffles.
The restaurant is headed by chef John Hong (known also as Chef Kappa). He was previously the lead chef at Bang Bang in the Gaslamp Quarter. 4764 Convoy St., Suite A, hiddenfishsushi.com.
Urban MO’s has joined the growing bandwagon of establishments serving the Impossible Burger. The vegan patty is made with wheat, soy and potato proteins, and it’s engineered to bleed like beef. Some carnivores are fooled by its meaty texture and umami flavor, and others not so much — although general consensus points to a faux-beef burger that is more convincing than most competitive brands.
Other kitchens around town serving it are Jayne’s Gastropub, Anthem Vegan, Ruby’s Diner, Slater’s 50/50, and Swami’s Cafe, which is opening its newest San Diego location by late April at 3707 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest.
A number of restaurants throughout San Diego are donating proceeds from certain dishes throughout May to Promises2Kids, a non-profit that provides foster-care children and youth in San Diego County with various support programs to help them succeed in life.
Restaurants taking part in the charity drive include Bunz in Mission Valley, which is donating 100 percent of proceeds from sales of its “limone” pancakes as well as 50 percent of proceeds from purchases of mimosa flights. Also in Mission Valley, Cupcakes a la Yola is giving 80 percent of its profits from sales of mini cupcakes.
Encrontro in North Park is kicking in 100 percent of proceeds from sales of mini corn dogs while The Crack Shack in Little Italy and Encinitas has committed to the same amount with its popular bird’s nest sandwich.
Other establishments taking part include The Duck Dive in Pacific Beach; Cafe 222 downtown; Terra American Bistro in The College Area, and others. For further details visit, promises2kids.org.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.