By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The much-anticipated spinoff of South Park’s beloved Buona Forchetta has opened in Liberty Station under the name Officine Buona Forchetta. Chef-owner Matteo Cattaneo launched the venture with Mario Cassineri, executive chef at BICE in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Their menu includes several entrees not available in South Park, such as crab gnocchi, five-mushroom ravioli and veal osso buco. They also offer an expanded menu of Neapolitan pizzas, featuring more vegan choices as well as a giant family-size pie.
The 2,600-square-foot space greets with bright-red seating positioned around the pizza station and main kitchen, and it also has two outdoor patios.
2865 Sims Road, 619-548-5770, officinebuonaforchetta.com.
True North in North Park will host a smoke-friendly dinner that includes mezcal cocktails paired to each of the four courses, plus a pack of four hand-selected cigars selected by David Mogilner of Racine & Laramie Tobacconists. The event, to be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5, will feature live Latin-acoustic music. The cost is $65 per person. Reservations are recommended.
3815 30th St., 619-291-3815, truenorthtavern.com.
Taking the place of Adams Avenue Grill in University Heights is Grains, a new vegan/vegetarian restaurant that operates from noon–9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Amid an extensive beer selection are dishes such as tempura-battered king oyster mushrooms, house-made quinoa (or egg) pasta, fried cauliflower with Buffalo sauce and Asian curries with tofu.
2201 Adams Ave., 619-269-5999.
A beer and wine license is in the pipeline at the new Maduro’s Cigar Lounge in Old Town. The business was launched by Dennis Bartelmo of Bartelmo Limoncello and Herman Puentes, a cigar retailer.
Set back from the street, the space previously served as a satellite facility for Rose’s Tasting Room, which remains in operation inside the Fiesta de Reyes. Cigar smoking is permitted on Maduro’s large semi-covered patio.
In the absence of a kitchen, customers can tote in their own food or receive deliveries from The Alamo Mexican Café or Pizza Bella. The cigar selection extends to about 40 different brands, and Bartelmo said an indoor bar will soon be built in preparation for drink sales. Check their Facebook page for updates.
2609 Congress St., 619-543-0619.
After swinging onto Park Boulevard five years ago with crafty deli sandwiches, the Big Front Door has extended its brand to Bottlecraft’s new Solana Beach tasting room and retail shop (437 Highway 101, Suite 107).
The sandwich shop also plans on opening a restaurant with ample seating in Bankers Hill this fall.
In the meantime, for every “LGBT” sandwich (lettuce, gouda cheese, bacon and tomato on toasted sourdough) purchased at the Hillcrest location throughout the remainder of the year, the company will donate $1 to the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest.
4135 Park Blvd., 619-255-4100, bfdsandiego.com.
More than 80 craft brews and nearly 60 international specialty dishes are in store at SeaWorld San Diego’s Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival, which will be held every weekend inside the park during regular hours through April 30.
With 14 culinary hubs positioned on the grounds, foodies will encounter everything from escargot and Tuscan-style wild boar pasta to Peruvian ceviche, Caribbean jerk chicken, Polynesian-style grilled oysters and more.
The weekly feasts will be prepared under the expertise of SeaWorld San Diego’s executive chef, Axel Dirolf, who has cooked for a former U.S. president as well as British and Saudi royaltyThree breweries will take part each weekend. They include North Park Beer Co., Mike Hess Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, Stone Brewing and more.
Live music from different stages will augment the festival, which is included with park admission. Food, beer and various wines will be sold al a carte or through sampler packages priced at $25 and $45.
500 Sea World Drive, 619-222-4732, seaworldsandiego.com.
More than 20 chefs from San Diego and Baja will team up with a brewer or wine maker for the second annual Pairings with a Purpose from noon-4 p.m. April 15 at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club & Museum (875 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas). The event is presented by Feeding San Diego, a hunger-relief organization that feeds children, families and seniors throughout San Diego County.Each duo at the event will dole out an optimal food and drink pairing as attendees vote on a favorite.
Among the chefs taking part are Karen Barnett of Small Bar, Shihomi Borillo of Azuki Sushi, Jamie Lozano of Tiger! Tiger! and Sharon Wilson of Panama 66. Three former contestants/guests of Bravo’s Top Chef television series will also take part — Chad White, Jeremy Ford and Javier Plascencia.Beverage participants will include The California Fruit Wine Co., Belching Beaver Brewery, Bitter Brothers Brewing, Green Flash Brewing Co., Baja Wine Food and more.
Admission is $75, or $150 for VIP entry. All proceeds will benefit Feeding San Diego’s meal sourcing and distribution efforts. Tickets must be purchased via the web site at feedingsandiego.org. For more information, call 858-452-3663.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.