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Restaurant Reviews

Candlelight supper in Kensington

Posted: December 1st, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Even though it’s the most clichéd dish in North American French restaurants, I’ve had a long, unbreakable love affair with onion soup au gratin.

From my initial infatuation when first encountering it as a teenager in Montreal to embracing its flaws whenever they arise in the present-day, the “Soupe à l’Oignon Grantinèe” at Bleu Boheme is my new benchmark from which I’ll judge all others.

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Croques and crepes under cozy conditions

Posted: November 3rd, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Restaurant Review

Until a few months ago, there was only one window of opportunity each day to savor a meal at La Bonne Table, the small and beloved French restaurant that has teased its followers with dinner-only service since opening in 2014.

Now, if you’re looking to spend some intimate mealtime with friends, lovers or family members on your day of rest, and before sundown, La Bonne accommodates with a noteworthy under-the-radar Sunday brunch.

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‘Fiesta hour’ in North Park

Posted: November 3rd, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments

By Dr. Ink Kudos to San Diego-based Moose Restaurant Group for the eye-grabbing remodel it gave to Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge before opening Tamarindo Latin Kitchen & Bar in its place. The historical structure, built in 1929, now flaunts a multi-colored exterior comprising light-greens, sky-blues and dusty reds, thus cheerfully disrupting the neutral paintjobs that still dominate commercial North Park.

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Wheels of goodness

Posted: October 20th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

We came for the sandwiches made with Montreal-style bagels and ended up shoveling down four crazy-good doughnuts first. It wasn’t supposed to go that way, but when queuing up to place your order at the new location of Nomad Donuts, the colorful and imaginative array of sweets takes first dibs on your appetite.

At least 20 different types of doughnuts fill the display case on any given day, most of which you’ll never see in the leading chains: dragonfruit-acai, green apple sage, strawberry-lavender, and a host of others conceived by Nomad’s partner and executive chef, Kristianna Zabala.

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Super size me

Posted: October 6th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

The menu is as dizzying as the voluminous food portions at Hash House a Go Go in Hillcrest, where customers over the past 18 years have consistently exclaimed, “Oh, my God!” when their meals are served.

As a less-is-better kind of guy, I’m an infrequent patron of the place. Although I love bringing out-of-town guests here, if only to see their eyeballs obtrude over what co-founder Johnny Rivera describes as “twisted farm food” deployed on jumbo plateware and garnished with tall-standing sprigs of fresh rosemary.

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A bright spot for superior tacos and creative cocktails

Posted: September 22nd, 2017 | Feature, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

If you haven’t been to La Vecindad in the heart of Hillcrest, you’re missing exceptional preparations of pork and pozole from a Mexico City family, not to mention cheerful cocktails that taste as pretty as they look.

As for the tacos constructed with house-made corn tortillas, which practically melt in your mouth, they’ll likely send you into a cartwheel as well.

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Multi-national dining in Mission Hills

Posted: September 8th, 2017 | Feature, Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Don’t assume the song “Fools and Kings” by reggae rockers Fighting Gravity was the inspiration for the namesake restaurant that opened two months ago in Mission Hills. The new globally-inspired kitchen borrows instead from a line in the 1948 tune recorded by Nat King Cole called “Nature Boy.”

The poetic lyrics are posted at the restaurant’s iron-gated entrance as an inspirational prelude to the welcoming and diverse meal experience you’ll discover inside. Be sure to read them before settling in.

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Fine-tuned vegan fare

Posted: August 25th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Another vegan restaurant that raises the bar on vegan food has sprouted in Uptown, joining a list of others such as Donna Jean, Kindred and the long-established Plumeria a quarter-mile away.

Grains, which launched five months ago, is still in its soft-opening as the kitchen develops new small plates to further complement 20 taps of craft beer.

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Mouths aflame

Posted: August 11th, 2017 | Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Incorporate the name of a chili pepper into the name of a restaurant, and I’m there.

Countywide, we have places like Habaneros Mexican Food, Tacos El Poblano, Jalapeno Grill & Cantina, and Thai Pepper Cuisine. Their menus promise tongue-burning dishes while invariably interspersed by choices tailored for touchy palates.   

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