By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The newly remodeled Doubletree Hotel Circle and its rebranded restaurant, Seaglass, has brought on Rachel Jacobs as executive chef. The Ocean Beach resident previously held culinary positions at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Anthem in North Park, and the Hard Rock Cafe in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Seaglass revamped a majority of the menu, with many dishes steering clear of gluten. In addition, about 20 percent of the options are vegetarian or vegan.
One of her standout items includes a burger fashioned in the spirit of a California burrito. It’s topped with avocado, pico de gallo and French fries.
The hotel also hired pastry chef Mirsonia Jimenez from Puerto Rico. Her creations include Puerto Rican panna cotta known as coconut tembleque, and cheesecake swans made with cream cheese and caramel flan. 1515 Hotel Circle South, 619-881-6900, doubletreehotelcircle.com.
Panda Express in Mission Valley’s Park Village Center has closed and will make way for an eighth San Diego location of Breakfast Republic at 1570 Camino de la Reina. Owned by the locally-based Rise & Shine Restaurant Group, the transformation is due for completion in May.
In the meantime, the company is introducing walk-up windows to its Breakfast Republic properties in Pacific Beach (4465 Mission Blvd.) and the East Village (707 G St.). Named Eggies, they will operate from shipping containers and sell coffee drinks, English muffin sandwiches, and noshes such as firttatas and French toast served in small Mason jars. Both are slated to open in mid- to late spring. breakfastrepublic.com.
A third location of Farmer’s Table has emerged — this time in Little Italy. Conceived by Sicilian-born restaurateurs Alberto Morreale and his cousin, Vincenzo LoVerso, their latest opening precedes those in La Mesa and Bay Park. All three restaurants offer whimsical farmhouse décor, including red tractors in the dining rooms and American-Mediterranean cuisine constructed largely with locally sourced ingredients. Their menu includes Neapolitan-style pizzas, duck gnocchi, artichoke ravioli and more. Breakfast and lunch are also served daily. 550 W. Date St., 619-255-0958, myfarmerstable.com.
After a six-week shutdown, the Point Loma location of Phil’s BBQ has reopened. The restaurant had temporarily closed for a remodel, which resulted in a fresh paint job, expanded dining and bar areas, and the addition of television screens. A spokesperson for the company said the modernized look is more in line with most of the seven other locations throughout San Diego County, adding that there were no changes to the menu. 3750 Sports Arena Blvd., 619-226-6333, philsbbq.net.
Mission Hills has seen the much-anticipated arrival of Fort Oak, a restaurant specializing in wood-fired cooking by Trust Restaurant Group, which includes executive chef Brad Wise and general manager Steve Schwob.
The 3,400-square-foot venture opened Jan. 16 to a menu featuring seafood towers, rabbit sausage, aged rib-eye, local duck and hearth-grilled branzino.
Anchored in Jonathan Segal’s new mixed-use building, The Fort, customers enter through an old Ford dealership facade and into an inviting bar and four distinct dining areas. The bar opens daily at 3 p.m., followed by dinner service starting at 5 p.m., and brunch is offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. 1011 Fort Stockton Drive, 619-722-3398, fortoaksd.com.
Businesses and event organizers throughout San Diego that have employed Waters Fine Foods & Catering for their special events now have access to many of the recipes that owner Mary Kay Waters has used over the 30 years she’s been in business. Her new 240-page hardcover cookbook, “Waters Fine Foods — Stories and Recipes from our Kitchen,” is hot off the press and available for $28 at various outlets: Specialty Produce (1929 Hancock St.), Warwick’s (7912 Girard Ave.), and Waters Fine Catering Cafe (1125 W. Morena Blvd.)
Replete with color photography, the book features chapters on breakfast, salads, soups, sandwiches, entrees, desserts and more. It is also available on the website at waterscatering.com.
Joining a collective of 30-plus culinary tenants at Liberty Public Market is the upcoming Hold Fast, a fast-casual concept featuring sashimi and hand rolls by Chef Rob Ruiz, who also owns The Land & Water Company in Carlsbad.
Committed to ocean conservation, Ruiz is slated to becoming the first chef/restaurateur in San Diego to be officially certified by the James Beard Foundation for sustainable seafood practices. Hold Fast will use locally sourced seafood, California-grown organic rice, and organic produce from area farmers. The venture is due to open in February. 2820 Historic Decatur Road, 619-487-9346, bluebridgehospitality.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.