By Frank Sabatini JR
What’s in a name?
Apparently a lot of smiling faces, to answer the question.
Early reviews from our trusty first-in-line consumers of the newly-opened Happy Does in the Gaslamp Quarter reveal a spirited neighborhood-type bar atmosphere specializing in hardy cocktails and succulent chicken tenders served in a few different ways.
The project was launched by Good Time Design, the hospitality group that operates other Downtown establishments such as Cerveza Jack’s, The Blind Burro, and Moonshine Flats.
Another draw is the ample outdoor seating, which spans across the patio left behind by Dick’s Last Resort and the Gaslamp Strip Club. The interior accommodates live music and dancing.
Like the establishment itself, the drinks carry some quirky names when you consider the tequila-citrus “Happy Juice” or the “For Funzies,” which mixes together vodka, pineapple and ginger beer. For munchies, we have our sights set on the “Happy Wrap” filled with jumbo chicken tenders, Southern slaw, steak fries, avocado and cheese. 340 Fifth Ave., (858) 867-3931, happydoesbar.com.
Get your intake of fruits and vegetables right here
Business owner Angel Arias has moved his popular Delifruits eatery from Chula Vista to North Park. In addition to a wide spectrum of smoothies, fresh juices, fruit bowls, and agua frescas made fresh daily, the kitchen belts out a noteworthy selection of sandwiches. Fans of tortas will find creations such as The Hawaiian made with ham, beans, pineapple and melted cheese, or The Milanesa layered with breaded chicken and Swiss cheese. Additional offerings include salads, nachos and corn in a cup. 3066 University Ave., (619) 872-1101.
News for vegans
Known for its ambitious vegan menu section, Civico 1845 in Little Italy is rolling out new dishes in that category on May 10. We’re told about 80% of the restaurant’s meatless options will either be reworked or replaced entirely.
Among the newcomers are Cecina e formaggi, a rich vegan omelet made with red lentil flour, eggplant and plant-based cheeses. There’s also an incoming risotto that combines broccoli with roasted almonds, shiitake mushrooms, vegetable demi glace, and Calabrian chili oil. The kitchen has even managed to create a dairy-free, egg-free version of the popular Italian custard dessert known as zabaglione. 1845 India St., (619) 880-3761, civico1845.com.
Dive into San Diego’s bygone culinary scene
Where and what were San Diegans eating decades ago?
Martin S. Lindsey of The Culinary Historians of San Diego will explore those questions in a free presentation titled, “Treasures from the Past: Lost Restaurants of San Diego.” The event takes place from 10:30 a.m. to noon on May 21, at the Neil Morgan Auditorium inside the San Diego Central Library.
Lindsey will use visuals to take attendees down memory lane as he explores the past restaurant scene in multiple areas of our city. 330 Park Blvd., 619-236-5800, sandiego.gov/public-library/.
The brothel that Bonnie built
Look for the arrival of Madam Bonnie’s on Market Street later this month, which will occupy a historic structure that was known as Hotel Lester around the time of San Diego’s 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The building’s operation took an interesting turn, however, in the early 1920s when Bertha “Bonnie” White took it over and turned it into a secret brothel. The address was subject to occasional police raids for about a 10-year period before the city shut it down.
Fast forward to 2022 as the ground level makes way for welcoming the restaurant and 40-foot stylish bar slinging drinks named supposedly after some of the former brothel’s working girls. Look for a menu of rotisserie meats, butter burgers and retro cocktails, plus a hidden VIP booth. 411 Market St., madambonnies.com.
Coffees from Mexico
Flor & Seed has sprung up in Old Town with stimulating coffee drinks using beans sourced from all over Mexico. The owners, two entrepreneurs named Yan Ynez and Leo Nunez, buy directly from south-of-the-border coffee growers before roasting the beans themselves in small batches. House-made syrups are used in some of the coffee drinks for adding rich notes of vanilla or chocolate.
Their quaint cafe, replete with an espresso bar and colorful murals, also sells hot sandwiches as well as classic Mexican-style pastries and breads produced by Pan Del Barrio in Barrio Logan. 3985 Harney St., floralandseed.com.