Dining Out in San Diego

Posted: March 10th, 2017 | Dining Out, Featured, Food & Drink | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

The Mission Valley location of Grater Grilled Cheese has introduced several breakfast sandwiches served on buttered brioche buns.

The Ham breakfast sandie (Courtesy of Alt Strategies)

Each features scrambled eggs (or egg whites) tucked inside with either, turkey and Muenster cheese; ham and Swiss cheese; bacon and sharp cheddar; or tomatoes, arugula and goat cheese.

Served with tater tots, they’re priced at $6.50 each ($1 extra for egg whites only).

5618 Mission Center Road, Suite 1002, 619-458-9611,

Baja fare at Sabor Latino Food, Beer and Wine Festival (Courtesy of Media Arts Center San Diego)

Chef Martin San Roman of Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant at 956 Broadway Circle is among a list of top chefs taking part in the second annual Sabor Latino Food, Beer and Wine Festival, from 1 to 5 p.m., March 18 at Fashion Valley Mall’s River Plaza.

The event, which ties into the San Diego Latino Film Festival (March 16-26), will afford guests unlimited tastings of Latino foods and beverages from dozens of regional and Baja restaurants, breweries and wineries.

Other participants include Harrah’s Resort Southern CaliforniaMi Casa Supper Club, Mantou Pub, Baja Brew Lab, Adobe Guadalupe Winery and more. Tickets are $50 (for 1 p.m. VIP admission) and $40 (for 2 p.m. general admission). All proceeds will benefit youth education and outreach programs at Media Arts Center San Diego.

7007 Friars Road, 619-230-1938,

Chapulines (Courtesy of Bracero Cocina de Raiz)

Tacos Perla in North Park has them. So does Galaxy Taco in La Jolla.

Now, the southern Mexican delicacy known as chapulines (grasshoppers) are appearing on plates at Bracero Cocina de Raiz in Little Italy as a snack or an addition to guacamole and tacos.

Touted for their crunchy texture and herby flavor, the chapulines are sourced from the central valleys of Oaxaca and dehydrated before leaving the kitchen.

Their recent entry into American food culture has been limited mostly to cities straddling the Mexican border.

1490 Kettner Blvd., 619-756-7864,

Dishes such as salt-n-pepper pig ears, Chinese sausage risotto, and creamy walnut shrimp are in the offing at the long-awaited Whistling Duck Tavern, which opened Feb. 1 in The Hub after a series of delays.

Launched by Convoy District restaurateur Charles Sun of Shanghai Saloon and the Dumpling Inn, the Asian-fusion restaurant also features wine, sake, and two-dozen craft beer choices.

1040 University Ave., 619-255-4046,

A culinary team was recently appointed for the upcoming Curadero, a Mexican-coastal seafood concept slated to open in early April in the space previously occupied by Saltbox.

Brad Kraten will serve as executive chef after maintaining the same title at Saltbox. He plans on introducing recipes containing locally sourced beans and chilies.

(l to r) Brad Kraten and Emiliano Najera at Curadero (Courtesy of The Nth Element)

Second in command is sous chef Emiliano Najera, a native of Mexico City who worked in both small and modern kitchens south of the border.

Their collaborative menu is shaping up with dishes such as sopas in mushroom broth, chili-rubbed hiramasa fish, whole charcoal-grilled fish and a crudo bar.

1047 Fifth Ave., 619-515-3003,

An anniversary veggie burger at Café 222 (Courtesy of Café 222)

In the lead-up to its 25th anniversary in early September, Café 222 will introduce a series of new dishes to its breakfast and lunch menus.

The latest rollout is an ultra-healthy burger made with black beans, quinoa, brown rice, dried chickpeas, carrots, onions and garlic, and topped with Swiss cheese and curry aioli.

The Downtown café, owned by restaurateur Terryl Gavre, is famous for its pumpkin waffles and “green eggs and ham.”

222 Island Ave., 619-236-9902,

A second San Diego location of Mr. Moto Pizza House recently opened in North Park with the same selection of creative pizzas as its original kitchen in Pacific Beach. Owner Gibran Fernandez (aka Mr. Moto), previously ran Pizza on Pearl in La Jolla, where he says “my whole career in pizza making started.”

Mr. Moto owner Gibran Fernandez (Courtesy of Mr. Moto Pizza House)

His menu at Mr. Moto features 15 specialty pies, including the popular “California love” with bacon, chicken, caramelized onions and garlic paste, and the “vodka cream” pizza topped with vodka and raspberry-chipotle sauces and sour cream. Stromboli, calzones and meatball subs are also available.

3773 30th St., 619-642-0788,

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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