By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The North Park Thursday Market debuted March 24 with several new vendors and a tent designated for cooking demos scheduled into the month of May. The weekly farmers market was re-branded through a partnership between North Park Main Street and San Diego Markets. It moved several blocks west from its original location and now occupies nearly three blocks on North Park Way, between 30th and Granada streets.
“This gives us higher visibility and we’re right next to the huge parking garage off 30th, which makes it a perfect location compared to the small lot we were in behind CVS Pharmacy,” operations manager Brijet Myers said.
Among the newcomers is Ashleigh Dinan of Wild Water, whose first day of business coincided with the market’s launch. She sells vacuum-sealed fruit — kiwis, Asian pears, blood oranges and mandarins — and the bottles used for infusing them into water.
J’s Tacos & Ceviche is also new to the neighborhood market, as well as Edible Alchemy, which brings in kimchi and sauerkraut from a nearby kitchen.
There are about 65 vendors in total selling everything from produce and street foods to turkey eggs and crème brulee. Myers says the new blueprint allows for future growth.
The cooking demos are held at 4 and 5:30 p.m. each week by a local chef. The lineup includes: Rich Sweeney of Waypoint Public on April 14; “Chef Norbert” from Tiger! Tiger! on April 21; and Joe Kraft of Wow Wow Waffle on May 5.
For more information and listings, visit northparkmainstreet.com.
The space that formerly housed D Bar in Hillcrest will undergo a major interior design for the mid-summer arrival of H2O Sushi & Izakay, which has locations in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
“We’ve been to their restaurant in Costa Mesa and the food is amazing, and with very reasonable price points,” said Tami Daiber, chief operating officer for Carleton Management, which is handling the lease agreement. “It will be unbelievably hip, almost like a nightclub.”
Daiber is also president of the Hillcrest Business Association.
In addition to numerous specialty rolls and crafty small plates, H2O will feature full entrees, a yakatori bar, sake and cocktails. 3930 Fifth Ave., h2osushiizakaya.com.
A bevy of local chefs and breweries will unite to benefit Feeding America San Diego as they break into duos to create competing pairings of food and beer. The event, titled Pairings with a Purpose, will be held from 1 – 5 p.m. April 16, at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club & Museum in Encinitas. Attendees will get to sample and vote on their favorite matchups along with a panel of celebrity judges that includes former San Diego Charger Billy Ray Smith and radio personality Scott Kaplan.
Nearly two dozen teams are taking part. Among them are: Karen Barnett of Small Bar working with Karl Strauss Brewing Company; Trey Foshee of Galaxy Taco with Benchmark Brewing Co.; Amy DiBiase of Tidal with Modern Times Beer; and more.
General admission is $45, which includes tastings from all teams. For tickets and more information, visit feedingamericasd.org. 875 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas.
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in Hillcrest and Pacific Beach has opened an additional, larger outlet in the East Village, where Toast Enoteca previously operated. The menus are the same at all locations, which specialize in spicy grilled shrimp tacos, yellow fin ceviche, and other preparations of seafood sourced from vendors in San Diego and across the border. 927 J St., 619-564-6007, oscarsmexicanseafood.com.
Free pork tacos are up for grabs on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 1 p.m. April 17, as The Heart & Trotter Whole Animal Butchery in North Park celebrates its one-year anniversary. Lauded for its antibiotic and hormone-free meats, the shop also sells sandwiches on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, although it may soon offer them daily according to manager Ben Zuba. 2855 El Cajon Blvd., 619-564-8976, theheartandtrotter.com.
North Park residents and denizens will soon be able to buy assorted hot pretzels from National City’s San Diego Pretzel Company without ordering online or hunting down retailers that sell them. By mid-April the hand-rolled beauties will be readily available at the upcoming California Tap Room on Ray Street, which will open initially as an eatery until receiving its license to serve craft beers and ciders from more than a dozen taps. 3812 Ray St., californiataproom.com.
Dungeness crabs from San Francisco Bay waters have returned after a temporary ban, arriving this month to King’s Fish House in Mission Valley and Carlsbad, and its sister restaurant, Water Grill in the East Village. The ban began in November, when waters in and around the Bay Area showed high levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring neurotoxin produced by algae that had infiltrated the crustaceans.
The ban, however, was lifted for safe consumption on April 1, and the crabs will be available at both locations of King’s Fish House in several ways: steamed; sautéed in peanut oil, jalapenos and peppercorns; or served chilled. (Water Grill will offer them chilled only on seafood platters.) A company rep says the seasonal crabs should stick around through the end of spring, or while supplies last. 825 Camino De La Reina, 619-574-1230, kingsseafood.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.